The First Alien Adventure Story Is 2,000 Years Old
According to many sources, the first ever story about humans meeting aliens was 1992's movie Alien 3. That's an understandable error but an error all the same. Alien stories are much older that, and include such predecessors as Aliens from 1986, Alien from 1979, and ... A True Story, from the second century.
That's around 2,000 years ago, the time of ancient Rome. A True Story, by Syrian writer Lucian of Samosata, is the oldest alien story we've been able to track down (excluding religious texts, which may or may not count). You might also say it's the oldest sci-fi story of any kind, or even the oldest novel—other contenders come from around the same time, and we're not totally sure when each of them were written.
"This is not a true story," says the opening of A True Story. As you can see, people back then were still figuring out exactly how novels worked. In fact, the bizarre tale that followed aimed to make fun of other stories from the period that were sold as nonfictional travelogues, but which were outlandish and false.
The story starts with the characters traveling into space, landing on an island with a river made of wine, and meeting plant women who want to have sex with them. Two of the crew give in to temptation and are then permanently bound to the plants at the crotch. Their friends have to abandon them.
We next shift to known space landmarks, with the characters landing on the Moon. The Moon and the Sun are at war, each trying to conquer Venus. The story details various alien races (Cenchrobolians, Scorodomachians, Psyllotoxotans, Anemodromians) and enough space combat to make your eyes glaze over. The Moon has Moon Spiders on its side, naturally, but the Sun people build a wall of clouds to permanently leave the Moon in shadow. This forces the Moon to surrender, and the Moon King is fine with the outcome and gives his son to the narrator in marriage. The narrator isn’t into that, but it's all the King can offer, since the Moon has no women.
The space section is just one part of the novel. The characters land back on Earth and have more adventures, including getting eaten by a giant whale (which contains its own multiple civilizations at war in its belly) and visiting an island made of cheese. Then, with the characters still adrift and now meeting even more half-women who want to have sex with them, the book suddenly ends. "To find out what happens next," it says, "you have to read the next books in the series."
No sequels have come out yet, but we loyal readers remain hopeful.
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