If You Like ‘The Thing’ You’ll Love “The Things”


Science fiction creator Peter Watts is a giant fan of John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Factor, about an Antarctic analysis station haunted by a shapeshifting alien.

“It was just so refreshing to see a movie in which the people didn’t act like idiots,” Watts says in Episode 315 of the Geek’s Information to the Galaxy podcast. “And the alien was smart as hell. Chess is a motif that goes through this whole movie, and there’s a reason for that.”

Watts loves The Factor a lot that he even wrote his personal tackle it, known as “The Things,” which is instructed from the alien’s standpoint. In it Watts questions many features of the unique movie, similar to a TRS-80 that appears to return pre-loaded with software program to mannequin the inhabitants progress of an alien monster.

“It started off as a love letter to one of my favorite movies,” Watts says, “in which I took the opportunity to retcon some of the stuff that was dumb about one of my favorite movies.”

Within the fingers of most authors, “The Things” could be only a good-natured lark, however Watts’ model is way more than that. The story is just not solely a startlingly efficient portrayal of alien psychology, but in addition a considerate exploration of faith and the missionary impulse.

“The idea of this thing that makes everything else over in its own image, and honestly believes that what it’s doing is good for the other guy, that’s what missionaries do,” Watts says.

“The Things” even has followers among the many forged and crew of the unique movie. “Simon Pegg despatched me an electronic mail telling me that he knew all these guys,” Watts says, “and everybody thought it was awesome.”

Take heed to the whole interview with Peter Watts in Episode 315 of Geek’s Information to the Galaxy (above). And take a look at some highlights from the dialogue under.

Peter Watts on science:

“As a result of my formal background is in science, and since I got here up from that era that mainly regards anyone who reads this science fiction stuff as like one step up from baby molesters, I attempt to retain some shred of empirical credibility by backloading all of my novels with precise lists of technical citations from the peer-reviewed literature. … In Maelstrom I mainly stopped the plot useless and nearly killed the e-book with a two-page synopsis on how this alien microorganism may get by the plasma membrane by utilizing receptor-mediated endocytosis with out triggering immune responses on the a part of the cell—once more as a pure act of self-defense in opposition to scientists who would in all probability by no means be caught useless studying my stuff anyway.”

Peter Watts on the mind:

“[Sony] has this kind of blue sky patent that they’ve been renewing that is for a proprietary technology that allows you to implant sensory input directly into the sensory cortex. … They’ve been selling it as, ‘Think of the things we can do with medicine! Think of the things we can do with gaming!’ And I’m thinking, yeah, but a neuron firing is a neuron firing, whether it’s firing to convey a sensory impression or whether it’s firing to convey a political belief. So you’re talking about something you aim at the occipital cortex to induce a sense of seeing something, but you turn that beam just a little bit to the right, and you could also induce an irresistable craving for a certain type of beer—or a certain religious belief. The mechanism, as far as I can see, is the same.”

Peter Watts on The Physics of Immortality by Frank Tipler:

“He spends like three pages talking about how incredibly beautiful women would be in the afterlife. And he came up with this formula to explain the maximum amount of sexiness a woman could have without short-circuiting a male’s central nervous system through sheer jizzmatic overload, and that computationally you would be able to sustain a woman who was ten times that attractive in this afterlife. It gradually started to dawn on me that the reason that Tipler was going on so much about the afterlife was because he was obviously not getting out at all in this one. I have to admit it kind of soured me on the credibility of the man, and his theory has not stood the test of time very well.”

Peter Watts on his trial:

“My lawyer and I have been in a resort room, and we have been on a voice convention with anyone from the Jury Undertaking, and so they began speaking about how they have been going to deal with the truth that I used to be a health care provider. It took me about 5 minutes to clue in, as a result of they have been treating this as if it have been a foul factor. And unexpectedly I spotted that it was a foul factor. They have been anxious as a result of the prosecution was going to exit of their strategy to name me ‘Dr. Watts.’ … Having an schooling makes you hateable, at the least in Michigan, and on condition that this particular person from the Jury Undertaking was speaking to us from California, I’m guessing that all through huge swaths of the US, being educated is, within the eyes of your common juror, a criminal offense in and of itself.”

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