THE HUNDRED CLASSIC EPISODES

 

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The Fate of the World
First published: November, 2001. Posted Online: May 04, 2006.
Iizak smokes cigarettes made from red raspberry leaves.
 
 
By the way, Chris wants you to know that in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, which came out eight months after this strip saw print, the aliens melt in water.
 
He has no problem giving up spoilers when they are rank stupid. Consider this a service.
 
As many (including Chris' girlfriend at the time) have warned: Don't think you can work in a genre if you don't know all its details, history, and parameters; serious SF is the most demanding genre of all. Aliens melting in water is one of the worst tropes imaginable– H. G. Wells set the bar higher in 1898 with the bacteriological twist in The War of the Worlds– so an interstellar invasion force defeated by one of the most common molecules in the universe is just a joke.
 
Seriously, was everyone involved completely clueless? Perhaps Shyamalan's sure grip on the ghost story and superhero comics of his preceding films made everyone assume he could do no wrong. But apparently, this time, he decided his star empire was run by creatures who share DNA with the evil witches of Oz. His upcoming film, Lady In The Water, has him taking his damp theme back into fantasy, where it belongs.
 
There's no way disbelief can survive the tumble down the well: Signs' aliens run around naked in cornfields at night, presumably making their spooky space art. A staunch Trekspeaker could devise a tortured explanation as to why they just had to invade naked. But not only are Earth plants chock full of water, they attract it out of the atmosphere, in an amazing unexpected twist of science called dew. Shyamalan's IMDb bio notes he grew up in a "posh suburb" of Philadelphia– but did he never spend a single late night, or early morning out on a lawn, and feel the wet on his hands, messing his clothes? Did he never take a moment to simply consider how dangerous our planet would seem to his vulnerable antagonists?
 
Was there no other possible course for this thing to take, than to write something so blatantly, stone-numb terrible as this?
 
Yeah, yeah, it was four years ago, but the blind awfulness of it all always comes back. And it always burns like the abundant water Mother Earth has waiting for M. Night Shyamalan's stupid stupid aliens. WHICH YOU CAN SEE.  FROM.  SPACE.
 
 
. . .
 
 
So this is our episode responding to September 11, 2001. As opposed to the clairvoyant one.
 
There's a lot going on in our heads here, but it really boils down to conversation being the bane of ignorance... and vice versa.
 
After all, if you assume you know the aliens have a stupid weakness, but never ask about them, or try to speak with them, you might act on your assumption without considering what the aliens think about their own lives, and about you. You might take a potshot at a seemingly easy, welcome target.
 
When you toss your glass of Evian on your naked foe, he might not melt. He might just wipe off his face with his hand, continue to approach, and use his unique and subtle knowledge to crush you with your own arrogant blind folly.
 
If there was only some way you could have known.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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