Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Hober Mallow, Dec 13, 2008.
District 9 was set in present day SA.
Still Alien Nation was set in an America which had just assimilated a similar number of refugees from Southeast Asia and then from Cuba. Along with that the Newcomers were humanoid enough for some members of the races to have actual physical attraction and develop emotional relationships beyond seeing the other race's hooker for the kick of being with something different.
Alien Nation The Series was set 5 years after The Newcomers' arrival. I forget, was District Nine taking place years after their arrival?
Alien Nation, it seems, treated The newcomers no differently in the beginning then District Nine did, it's just that we joined the story 5 years later in Alien Nation and saw The Newcomers struggle with their freedom and their quest for Equal Rights
An alternate present-day South Africa, a generation after the aliens had arrived in 1982. That's the point. When the aliens arrived, apartheid was still fully in force, and the consequences of their arrival caused South Africa's history in the D9 universe to unfold differently than it did in our universe. In our reality, apartheid was overthrown (though much discrimination remains), while in the D9 universe, a new form of apartheid was imposed on the aliens and remained in force up to the present.
Like I said, it's about initial conditions. The D9 aliens arrived in 1982 South Africa, a place and time where racial segregation was normalized and institutionalized, and their arrival only reinforced those patterns. The Tenctonese arrived in 1990s California, a place and time where the society and its laws and institutions were attempting to eliminate and overcome the racial segregation of the past and cope with a society that was already a rich mixture of different ethnicities and cultures coexisting in the same community. Thus, the conditions upon the aliens' arrival made it harder for a policy of isolation and internment of immigrants to take permanent hold.
Of course, both works were social allegories. AN was an allegory for the immigrant experience in America and the turbulent racial politics of 1990s Southern California (remember, this was only a few years before the 1992 LA race riots). D9 was an allegory for the decades-long history of apartheid, and the legacy thereof that South Africa was still dealing with even decades after it had officially ended. So the treatment of the aliens in the respective works differs in the same way that the racial history of the two countries differs. It's not about one being more "believable" as if there's only one possible way for human beings to behave. They're both believable in the context of the different countries, eras, and cultures in which they take place, because they were both created to be reflections of the real-life racial issues in those cultures.
I don't think people are that different wherever they are. I think there would be very strong resistance to integration of an alien species unless there was a clear benefit for humanity and even then it would be a big ask for most people. A more likely scenario would be to put them in concentration camps and hope that someone else will deal with it. Either that or put them in self-governing reservations in the back end of nowhere.
However Alien Nation took place in a liberal democracy and while some may have decided to push them into the seas, maybe a reason why they were settled on the coast was to make a final solution easier if it came to that, others would push for full freedom. And a judge, not a policeman/soldier would have the ultimate decision making power over freedom or concentration camp.
Would have it been worth a full civil war? In the show no, however the former white supremacist linked up with other to form a purist group which is stronger then the present day or 1990s Aryan Nation and KKK alliance.
I think if you'd lived in South Africa in the '80s and Los Angeles in the '90s, you might have a greater appreciation for the differences in human behavior. I'll never understand people who believe human nature is some single, fixed thing. Human nature encompasses everything from Gandhi to Hitler.
And again, if you remembered Alien Nation at all, you would remember that there was very strong resistance from many quarters of the populace. The government had belatedly allowed the Newcomers to integrate, but a large part of the human population resisted it fiercely -- just as many white Americans resisted it (and, alas, still do in some quarters) when the government passed laws ending discrimination and segregation toward black Americans. Seriously, the whole series was about those racial tensions and the Newcomers' struggle against them.
Which is what was done initially. According to the original movie, the Newcomers were quarantined for three years before finally being allowed out into society.
Hmm. I see that the series is also available on DVD, at a pretty decent price. And between the comments on this thread, and my own general preference for an "In the Heat of the Interstellar Night" premise, rather than a "Buddy Cop from Another Planet Helps Kill off Drug Lord from Another Planet" premise, I might just buy it. After all, I've got lots of far more obscure stuff in my DVD library, like A Christmas Without Snow (made-for-TV movie, probably intended mainly as a "chick-flick," staring John Houseman, Michael Learned, Ed Bogas, and a young James Cromwell, in a story about a church choir), and Footprints on the Moon: Apollo 11 (Barry Coe's documentary).
And I think you're over-complicating the way that humans behave. Humans are tribal at their most basic mode. Levels of sophistication are layered on top of this in modern civilizations. But the core default position of humans is family, social circle, tribal, tolerant of others all things being equal and if all things are not equal, defensive. Since human immigrants are resisted in most post-industrial western nations, the idea that aliens would be accepted into society (unless as I said there was a clear advantage in doing this) would just not happen.
^Again, you're arguing against a completely false premise. The aliens in AN were not completely accepted into society, not by a long shot. They'd just recently been let out of internment and were beginning a long, turbulent process of integration, meeting violent and genocidal opposition. The whole series was an allegory for racism. So I don't even know what it is you imagine you're criticizing, but it sure as hell isn't Alien Nation.
I get what Deckerd is saying. He doesn't believe realistically that the Newcomers would ever have been released from quarantine in the first place. Maybe, maybe not. The series never really explored the circumstances which led to the Newcomers' release. We got the occasion flashback to quarantine (including an episode in which we learn the U.S. government had plans to turn the aliens into assassins), but aside from offhand purist comments about the ACLU, we never found out how the Newcomers came to be released. The crux of the show, though, was in the tension the release of aliens -- who are stronger, smarter, and breed fast than humans -- caused the population of Los Angeles.
The United States is still living down the shame of centuries of slavery and of the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII. So there's plenty of historical reason why many American citizens and politicians would object to the idea of the permanent internment of any population. Maybe today it's easier to believe that we'd tolerate such a violation of civil rights because we've allowed our regard for civil rights to become so badly eroded in the years after 9/11. But we're talking about the 1990s, when those principles had not yet been undermined to the same extent.
Besides, there may have been pressure from groups other than civil libertarians. Business leaders might've wanted the Newcomers freed from quarantine so that they could be exploited as cheap labor. Also, the government would surely have been interested in their technology. Those Newcomers (mostly Overseers) who had some insight into the technology or advanced knowledge of their enslavers may have offered that knowledge in exchange for being freed from quarantine, or the government and corporations may have needed them to be out of quarantine so they could be brought to labs and so forth to teach what they knew.
Plus there's the security concern. Someone else, some more powerful alien race, enslaved the Tenctonese. How do we know they won't find and enslave us? It would've been in our own best interest to get on the Newcomers' good side and gain their cooperation in telling us all they knew about their enslavers.
I'm criticizing the idea that human civilizations would carry out any comparable integration. It would be mayhem beyond what any sci fi show could depict. If it were a small group who were definitely not at a physical advantage to humans, (intellectual advantage is neither here nor there in the short term and can only be beneficial to the human race in the long term) then I think there may be a glimmer of hope. I can't recall whether the aliens in AN were spread across the planet or all concentrated in one city but either way it's an unrealistic prospect on just about any level you care to consider. As we've all been saying; the way we treat any big influx of our own kind to an established area is appalling enough.
As far as we saw, the newcomers were mostly in the Los Angeles area. Given that there were about 250,000 of them at contact, and that quarantine ended shortly before the beginning of the series, it seems like they mostly lived in LA.
That's right. One of the Pocket tie-in novels, Extreme Prejudice by L.A. Graf, had Matt and George travel to Pittsburgh and have to deal with the different kind of prejudices and problems a Newcomer would face in a city where most people had never met one before.
Always liked the show.
Haven't seen it in years.
I always wondered what Tv/movies would have developed in the AN world...talk about a reboot of Trek....would they have had an episode of TNG or maybe ST5 would have involved a displaced tenctonese starfleet officer who seeks help restoring the proper timelines where the Tenctonese landed on Earth in 1988 after purists changed it..no one would know him or have heard of the tenctonese..maybe a Spock mind Meld convinces them....of course tng may have been cancelled if aliens landed in 1988...
this could even move the eugenics wars to 2020's in human response to the superiorphysical and mental nature of tenctonese.......Babylon 5 would.be different too...tenctonese as a vorlon experiment to crossbreed Narns and centauri?
Upon further review the series picks up one month after the events of the movie with Detective Sikes/Sykes visiting the grave of his partner
So a modified version of the AN film's events still happened in the series continuity? Like the Stargate film, which (again, modified) also happened in the SG-1 version of that universe?
^Yes. Matt and George go on to find out that Matt's that old partner (from the film) was actually/also murdered by a cop. (It's a pretty stupid add-on to the film's narrative in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there. ) The film events "mostly" happened.
That's what most TV series based on movies do. They continue on from the basic storyline of the film, but tweak the details as needed. The '80s Starman TV series followed up on the events of the movie, but retconned those events to have happened in the '70s rather than the '80s so that the title character could have a teenage son in the present day. Men in Black: The Series followed up on continuity and character threads from the movie, but ignored K's retirement at the end, and presented L as a more experienced agent (though not a field agent) than J. And so on.
Separate names with a comma.