Horrors: Ice 9:
Freeze the Bastards and make them die
Kinkajou: I looked up on Google about “Ice 9”. There actually is such a thing.
Erasmus: True, but the real” Ice 9” only exists in temperature and pressure conditions which don’t match conditions on planet Earth. It’s not a danger or likely to be a reality. The stuff in Google also has different properties to our horror monstrosity “ice 9”.
Erasmus: Ice 9 was the invention of a science fiction writer, Kurt Vonnegut. It was initially invented as a battlefield weapon. It was designed to be used in a conflict situation to freeze the water available, thereby stopping the enemy from being able to conduct logistics operations (since everything is frozen). In the book, it is described as forming a super stable crystal lattice. This lattice is so stable that the melting point of the ice is much higher than normal. Normal water melts at 0 deg Celsius (32 deg Fahrenheit), while Ice 9 melts at 45.8 °C (114.4 °F).
In the story,” it” escapes when a plane carrying the dictator who committed suicide by exposing himself to Ice 9 crashes into the sea. When a crystal of ice-nine contacts liquid water, it acts like a “seed crystal” and makes the molecules of liquid water arrange themselves into the solid form, ice-nine.
Once this weapon (Ice 9) is deployed, it escapes from the battlefield and proceeds to freeze the planet, ending life on earth. I still remember the final picture in my head of one last lonely rugged-up human sitting in a bleak wintry wasteland, sole survivor of the big freeze, as planet earth enters its final ice age. Facing the reality that if he lay down to sleep, he may freeze as well.
The entire earth proceeds to freeze in matter of days, destroying life on the planet earth as everything becomes frozen.
Kinkajou: “That’s awful scary stuff”.
Erasmus: I hope we never get clever enough to make a super weapon like this one.
Reality does challenge science fiction though. There are in fact different crystal lattice structures of ice and water possible at different temperatures and pressures. They are nowhere near as dangerous as Ice 9 though. Ordinary water ice is known as ice Ih in the Bridgman nomenclature .Ice IX is a form of solid water stable at temperatures below 140 Kelvin and pressures between 200 and 400 MPA. It has a tetragonal crystal lattice.
Kinkajou: These big ugly mean monsters are the ultimate enemy. They can’t be reasoned with or suborned. Their only goal is to capture, kill or infest you.
Erasmus: Aliens is a great franchise. “Aliens”, as in the original Alan Dean Foster Novel and now in multiple spin-off versions.
These big ugly mean monsters are the ultimate enemy. The evil monsters were described as gestating inside a living host, being intelligent community minded organisms like ants, incredibly strong, being immune to the damaging effects of heat and vacuum. In short, they are the perfect “monster” weed species to infect a galactic civilisation.
In one of the spin off books, an alien parasite lands on the earth, which rapidly becomes a war ground, almost destroying civilisation on the planet as the Aliens build nests and hives in their infestation growth phase. Humanity gains the upper hand, but at a terrible cost, and the planet can never be safe again for people to live on. Civilisation is destroyed and pockets of human survivors are locked into an unending fight to the death with these implacable creatures
Kinkajou: Another skill the Alien have is the ability to borrow genes from host organisms, in effect adapting genetic advantages from their host species. This essentially creates a super evolution along with a super growth.
And somewhere looking on, are the progenitors, those who made them. Laughing at the human race in their death match struggle.
“If there were such a thing as an Alien” says Erasmus, “all life on this planet would essentially be destroyed. Life as we know it would cease” “ I have seen a number of other" Sci Fi" Monsters with the same sorts of powers, though the “Alien “concept is probably the scariest due to the” in your face” toothy monster aspect.”
Similar monsters in many Sci Fi books or movies include:
- The Blob
- The Thing
- The Vom (A Flinx Novel: Alan Dean Foster)
Some of these monsters are less in your face, less violent but just as deadly. A number of movies have monsters that transmit to people via bites either altering people’s behaviour as the parasite takes over or gestating in the human until the human dies releasing mature forms of the parasite ready to infest others.
Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!
Erasmus: I must confess to thinking that these things were pathetic in their debut. Mobile trolleys trundling about on polished vinyl covered corridors, really doesn’t convey any sense of dread when there is a big wide world out there, generally lacking polished rubble free roadways suitable for Dalek travel, especially in conflict situations.
The latest Dalek resurrection with antigravity engines gives them the mobility of a mobile fortress, (reminiscent of an aerial infantryman, I suppose.).
The Daleks are also implacably evil but much more technically adept than the “Aliens”. I think that their technical prowess earns them a place in the hall of horror. Having played a number of computer war games, I have always found though, that the most rapid growth is achieved by those who conquer and subsume, not conquer and replace. Often, winning was about being able to out produce your enemies, not to out-tech them or to just defeat them a few times on the battlefield.
Kinkajou: These guys would be at home in any Gulag work camp, pushing the workers to extinction. Maybe SkyNet would like an introduction.
Probably best described as poisonous predatory mobile semi- intelligent plants. In the book by John Wyndham, the Triffids get their chance at world domination provided by human stupidity.
Erasmus: Triffids are a foe designed purportedly by humans and farmed for their “oil”. They unfortunately have stings which they use to kill prey and thereby acquire nutrients for growth from the rotting corpses. Humans also need protection against these stings, not a problem while we are in charge of the world and protective clothing on Triffid farms is readily available.
Triffids can’t be killed like normal animals. If they are cut down, they simply grow back. (They are plants) To be killed, they need to be incinerated to be destroyed. This creates a difficult control issue, for low- tech humans.
Unfortunately, humans become their own worst enemies, releasing bioplagues and vision destroying radiations upon each other. This “war” deprives humans of vision and of planetary dominance, leaving isolated pockets of survivors to battle with this self-replicating mobile vegetable hunter.
Once the fabric of civilisation unfolds, the Triffids are able to seed the planet and then have the advantage of numbers. Their ability to form spores or seed is a major weapon in their ability to dominate and control the landscape. They basically “outgrow” their human competitors, rapidly achieving numerical superiority.
Humanity, limited by its visual loss is unable to effectively compete. Intelligence is not enough to compensate for loss of vision, loss of technology and loss of numbers.
John Wyndham describes the picture of isolated pockets of human survivors living behind electrified fences, using flame throwers to destroy the encircling hordes of Triffids. The pockets were visible from the air as islands of green surrounded by black circles of destruction. These are the remnants of burnt killed Triffids where each pocket of surviving humans fought their last and lonely battle against the predatory plants
I still remember one of the final scenes in the story tells of the Triffids laying siege to residual pockets of humanity. As their technology fails, the Triffids overwhelm each remaining pocket of humanity, one by one. Then, they disperse going elsewhere to seek other human survivors. Left behind are enclosures or isolated fortified farms.
Would humanity ever again dominate the planet?
Kinkajou: Losing vision is perhaps the most fearsome aspect of the conflict. Undoubtedly, of all our senses it is vision that gives us the most power in controlling our environment. Your battlefield situational analysis is excellent. “Intelligence is not enough to compensate for loss of vision, loss of technology and loss of numbers.”
Erasmus: Now what would be really scary and creepy is if the triffids released two sorts of spore. The reproductive spore and another which is released in simultaneous clouds and which disintegrates releasing a form of radiation or chemical toxic to retinal rod and cones.
Fast Forward to a D Day scenario. A human tech manning a monitoring station looks at his screen. In minutes they sky is covered with large Quantities of orbital ordnance, warships and troopers preparing to land or bombard you. There is literally no warning. One minute you are sitting there in the universe snug safe and secure. Sixty seconds later you realise you are sitting on the beach waiting for D Day to happen. And they’re heading right at you.
Kinkajou: True! Imagine being a German soldier on a beach in Normandy on D Day. Suddenly, the entire horizon is filled with ships, coming straight at you. Disaster is minutes away.
Erasmus: I agree. The Stargate crates a situation where we are all living “all the time”, on the morning of D Day waiting to see what will appear on our horizon in the next few minutes. War, death and conflict could be minutes away, having festered and been cultivated in some rare corner of the galaxy for years without our knowledge. The first we would know of it, would be when the missiles first appeared. The Stargate has the capacity to be a truly dangerous piece of technology, capable of changing our future, likely for the worse.
Kinkajou: This concept sounds great till you realise the implications and how damn dangerous the technology is. The Stargate’s down side is” accessibility”. Enemies and disease arrive quickly, rapidly swamping coping capacity.
Erasmus: I would say it is a really cool tech if you face inept enemies like the Goa’uld on TV.
Kinkajou: I think the only reason the Stargate story seemed to work, is that the Goa’uld were just pathetically militarily inept. Yes they had great technology, but they showed no great promise or speed in developing more technology, or in the production or war materials or soldiers. In fact all they seemed to have to show for their conquests were a few small villages of humans trained as soldiers. Even their weapons were to slow, too specific and too ungainly.
Erasmus: Imagine a “Genghis Khan Goa’uld”. The galaxy would be his plaything in a very short space of time.
Kinkajou: Yes, there is obviously a downside to instantaneous galactic travel. The only way to combat this scenario is to have significant deployment of mobile forces constantly on instant action alert. The world and the human race with it, could go from GO to WO in minutes.
A monster that subsumes everything that it touches.
Erasmus: As a child, my sister took me to see a double feature at the drive in: “The Blob” and “The Son of the Blob”. I was quite young at the time. I had trouble walking into a bathroom or empty part of the house for years without looking around to check it out.
Kinkajou: As a technical sophonts though, you can almost laugh at the inherent assumptions in this horror monster. A rolling undifferentiated mass of fleshy jelly capable of subsuming (eating and converting) other flesh, having intelligence, yet no brain or central nervous system to direct it. It just doesn’t happen.
I was lying in bed the other morning watching a mosquito trying to get out of my room. Basically, it was just flying around in a particular direction. If it had intelligence, it would lie low in some dark nook near the door so it would not get noticed, sneak out the door when it was opened, and later fly through the front door of the house. I killed this mosquito with a bit of fly spray, once I saw him.
Erasmus: And yet , for basically a mindless creature running on simple genetic programming, the mosquito still manages to deliver disease, death and suffering to the human race in goodly proportions.
Kinkajou: The deadliest enemies are those directed by intelligence, those too insidious to be noticed and where the bad side effects are not immediately obvious. The human race is particularly adept at solving “in your face” conflicts. The mosquito was only recognised as a danger for its’ disease carrying capacity only relatively recently. History has been changed many times over by these creatures. For example, Miami in Florida, USA was depopulated at the turn of the century by mosquito epidemic carrying malaria.
The Blob is an interesting concept, but in the real world the Blob would lack intelligence and its effects (eating people) are too immediate and obvious for it to be a really scary monster. If I saw one coming, I would just walk the other way, get a can of “blob spray” and knock it off.
Erasmus: Spoken like a true technical sophisticate.
Erasmus: There was a book I read called “Startide Rising” by David Brin. In this book, a species of intelligent but peaceful mobile vegetable is transformed into an aggressive warrior species, the “Jophur”. The transition is facilitated by a foster parent species, who gene crafts a new strain of the plants that have a “commanding” nervous system able to integrate with and control the other components of this plant species.
The result is something completely new, completely different and deadly. The new strain subsumes and transforms the old species, transforming the very nature of the organism. The Jophur were now deadly because they had purpose and intelligence.
Kinkajou: Intelligence is critical to any Horror monster. And the reality is that the Blob, in its current resurrections just doesn’t have it. The Jophur evolution from the Traeki, I could well be afraid of.
The world is changing and there is nothing you can do to save yourself from being converted, into a foot soldier for the enemy.
Erasmus: The thought that a virus can be capable of initiating this deadly transformation seems to be a common theme in current horror films and stories. On a basic level, it seems credible, that some virus would be capable of this sort of a deadly transformation.
Kinkajou: True. But there are always a few buts. The human being is a big animal. It cannot function unless chemical fuel is distributed to each cell to enable specific functions to occur. Muscles need to contract. These muscles require specific and processed fuels e.g. Glucose, amino acids. They require protection if they are to do their job (i.e. an immune system), and they need to get rid of wastes: i.e. via the kidney. Intelligent programming or direction requires a functioning brain, which is a very fuel hungry organ indeed.
Erasmus: Yes, the approximate 1kg of human brain (About 1.5% of the body), uses about 20% of the heart’s output. This translates into huge fuel and oxygen requirements.
Kinkajou: A Zombie has none of these things, so it would appear that their mere existence violates some law of nature
Erasmus: Yes, the law of thermodynamics.
Kinkajou: So we are not going to see them anytime soon. In addition, the characteristics of these creatures that scare us the most, namely their ability to infect quickly and transform new hosts is their Achilles heel.
If everyone sits at home for a few days, the epidemic is over. They are not too bright because their brains can’t work, so they will probably wander around next to you for a few days till they run out of fuel and cease functioning (assuming they do not die).
The Zombie’s imputed maximum intelligence is probably equivalent to a mosquito’s brain. This just isn’t really a true threat, due to the ability of prepared humans to improvise methods for mass destruction of stupid zombies. Conceivably, humans could vaccinate themselves against the zombie virus and then safely keep their ex somewhere nearby, for sentiment’s sake.
Erasmus: Not too close. Remember the smell!
In summary, as I said before, the deadliest enemies are those directed by intelligence, those too insidious to be noticed and where the bad side effects are not immediately obvious. (Censored.) The human race is particularly adept at solving “in your face” conflicts.
The situation where zombie’s become dangerous is when “Intelligence is not enough to compensate for loss of vision, loss of technology and loss of numbers (of humans).”
Zombies seem to get around well at night, unlike humans supposedly. There are lots of them. The humans are always not prepared.
Erasmus: That’s what I like so much about Vampires. They are intelligent, fast and powerful. The equivalent of a super-intelligent “Alien”. They have super powers: the ability to fly and to transform into other creatures or things. They are implacable in having their own agenda.
Kinkajou: Again, I would say that their mere existence violates some law of nature.
Erasmus: True. But they form an awesome addition to the hall of horror. Thankfully, technology is never likely to create them (zombies or vampires), or their abilities. The human body and in fact most animal bodies, are marvels of nano-scale bio-engineering. The internal functioning of the human body and its ability to adapt, to innovate and to deal with physical or immune stresses is simply a miracle of bio-mechanics and engineering.
A few additions to this mountain of genetic based programming dictating the production of hordes of nano-machines: (DNA, Protein, ribosomes, replicators= DNA polymerase) is not likely to transform the basic nature of the animal or the human body.
The most that can be achieved by viruses or other agents is to damage its efficient functioning. I think the most likely horror to be faced is not some fast “in your face” horror, but a slow insidious destroyer. Sort of like a vampire virus that takes decades to do its job and leaves that body a wreck that is unable to function any longer.
Kinkajou: That’s scary man. But there’s no Hollywood drama in just watching stupid people just grow old and die. It’s so gradual that it’s normal. There is no horror.
Erasmus: Ah well. I think the Hollywood version of the vampire is more entertaining than your technical judgment of possible realities. Give me Zombie’s and vampires anytime.
UFO TV Series
Erasmus: My friend, what in your bok would constitute evidence of Aliens?
Kinkajou: Proof1: news conference, TV, pictures, talking to them.
Haven’t seen it yet. Waiting for the new flash though there are some interesting videos on U-tube
Proof2: evidence of their being, eyewitness accounts, evidence of something they have done, a number of witnesses at different sites and times describe the same thing. We already have this type evidence but we humans don’t believe it. It is easier and more acceptable to us, that perhaps these people all have schizophrenia or symptoms of madness or are imitating past stories of others.
Proof3: eyewitness reports that don’t make sense unless you have a certain perspective : which is not the usual one or not common i.e. It becomes obvious that they know something or see something that we can’t, but which subsequently reflects a truth that we are all yet to learn
Kinkajou: Those aliens from somewhere else are always telling us that they want to save the world: from what/ perhaps a nuclear holocaust? Perhaps they have noticed something else?
Still. If perhaps the aliens are worried that have noticed something that we have not, those aliens aren’t the ones to worry about. The ones to worry about are the ones who know why they should be worried and about what because they know that what they are seeing reflects a reality of which we humans ourselves are unaware. A reality the danger of which we are unaware.
Kinkajou: Proof 4: footprints in the sand, evidence of technology
One of the hardest things to hide in archeology is a hole in the ground. One of the hardest things to hide is advanced technology. Advanced technology in one Sci Fi book I read is often described as being incredibly simple to the uninformed gaze. In this book they talked about a species called the Skroderiders. These are a plant species that were given intelligence through the addition of simple memory chips and transport mechanisms.
Their little wheeled chariots were so primitive and basic. Yet they were incredibly robust. With understanding, the creation of the technology that gave the Skroderiders their mobility and intelligence is incredibly sleek, deceptively simple. It’s only once you understand the issues and the design, you realise how simple yet technologically smooth the solution really was.
Assuming that there has indeed been some contact: with UFOs and aliens, a couple of thoughts come to mind.
If contact has been hidden from the public at large, the relevant people and agencies and governments should be tried for treason to the human race. The deliberate withholding of information whereby all people on this planet are unable to consider the issues and consequences, (with the thought that the government knows best), must be an anathema to all intelligent people.
I have seen very little evidence that the government knows best about anything. Governments can solve issues where simple money and straightforward planning can save the day, but I would not give them the latitude to creatively problem solve for us all.
The second issues is if there has been contact, for heaven’s sake close the sky. No good can come of furtive slinking around by an alien power.
Shado Personnel - Gail