There are few entities that dominate our society more than aliens and demons. Whether you’re talking about science fiction, SETI, or religion, either the search for extraterrestrial beings or ghouls from Hell will be present somewhere. Both so close and so far, humanity as a whole can’t quite figure out where these entities live or what their purpose is, though it’s usually assumed to be nefarious.
Enter Arthur C. Clarke’s seminal novel Childhood’s End and you get a fascinating thought experiment. What if aliens showed up and looked like demons, traditional demons straight out of Hell–horns, tail, red skin, etc.? The collective vision of demons humanity has had throughout the centuries has actually been us gleaning info from a far away race, a far away planet of demons.
This is a gross simplification of the novel, but our recent interest in exoplanets reopened this vault of thought. Some of the newer exoplanets we’re detecting are almost literal versions of Hell. Planets with molten surfaces and boiling temperatures. Planets like 51 Pegasus b, which rains molten iron, or Gliese 436 b, the surface of which is covered in ice that is on fire (yes, fire ice), or Gliese 581 c that has a hot red surface with BLACK vegetation.
Perhaps on one of these planets live the Demons we’ve dreamt about and feared. Except in Childhood’s End, they protect us and act as our Overlords. What a Christian gesture…
Childhood’s End artwork by Neal Ulen at InfiniSpace