If they come first, how will they come? What will be their reasons?
When we go to them, what will we take to them?
How much will we get to talk before we meet?
The Robert Charles Wilson novel Blind Lake posited a situation in which humankind’s astronomers have stumbled upon an extra terrestrial civilization of sentient beings that people mistakenly liken to a lobster.
The entities are observed via quantum-telescope, allowing amazing, unprecedented access to the lives of these beings, but with limitations similar to a conventional telescope. For instance, the quantum-telescope cannot overcome the speed of light, and all imagery the astronomers receive has traveled the vastness of space at the clunky speed of light, meaning that all observed behaviors occurred hundreds of years ago.
The story falls in the “contact” genre, portraying the first genuine encounter with an intelligence from another system. But in this story, the contact gets stuck in this sick, one-way time mirror, with us meeting them, but them never getting to meet us. They are bound to remain an object of study, acted upon, and never a subject, or true actor.
What is your favorite First Contact story? Answer in the comments section below, share, and infect.