The First Aliens | A Brief History of Aliens in Science Fiction


Once, mankind looked up at the night sky, at the stars shining in the black abyss and they called them gods. Eventually, we realized that in actuality our own sun was just like each of those billions of stars out there in the darkness. It only took one leap of thought for someone to ask the question, If each of those stars is suns just like ours, do they have planets just like ours as well? And if they have planets, then could there be life, like us on other worlds?

In my last video, A Brief History of Space Travel in Science Fiction, we discussed Lucians, second-century work, True History, which depicts Lucian’s journey through outer space where he encounters alien lifeforms. We also mention Voltaire’s 1752 story, MicroMegas, which centers around a giant alien who goes on a journey throughout the universe. The fact that we have a work dating back to the year 300 AD depicting aliens shows that the idea that humans are not alone in the universe is just as ancient as the idea of traveling through space. Cosmic Pluralism is the specific term for what I’m describing here, it is the idea that there are many inhabited worlds beyond ours. Galileo didn’t develop the Heliocentric model of our solar system until the early 17th century, which means humans had been thinking about life in other worlds even before it became clear that the earth revolved around the sun.

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