In the world of science fiction movies and television, it seems as if aliens are constantly dropping in from all parts of the universe. Sometimes they come in peace. More often, the reason for the visit is more sinister.
Then there are all the people for whom jumping back and forth through time seems to be more of a local trip.
Fortunately, there are a couple of fun resources to help keep track of all that traffic.
For the aliens, there is a wonderful 2019 article in the Strange Maps section of the Big Think website. It features two graphics created by a Redditor named Dylan_Mq. They show the sites where aliens have landed on Earth. Or at least where screenwriters set them.
Of course, the distribution of visitors is not uniform across the globe.
A few other locales seem to attract more than their average share of UFO landings: The Bay Area, certain parts of the Southwest (Arizona and New Mexico), the Midwest (Chicagoland and Ohio), and the South (particularly Alabama and Florida). Unsurprisingly, California is the most ET-friendly state (14 landings), followed by New York (7) and Illinois (5).
Some parts of the U.S. remain curiously alien-free. The Pacific Northwest, for example. Well, who ever heard of an alien craft landing in rain? If it weren’t for two sightings in Montana and Wyoming each, that no-UFO zone would extend all the way to Minnesota. New England is also virtually extra-terrestrial-less, as is that row of states just west of the Mississippi.
They also seem to miss large parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.
Next, dealing with the topic of time travel in sci-fi movies, two writers at Ars Technica recently analyzed twenty movies with plots using that topic, rating them on “scientific logic and entertainment value”.
But not all time-travel movies are created equal. Some make for fantastic entertainment but the time travel makes no scientific or logical sense, while others might err in the opposite direction, sacrificing good storytelling in the interests of technical accuracy. What we really need is a handy guide to help us navigate this increasingly crowded field to ensure we get the best of both worlds, so to speak. The Ars Guide to Time Travel in the Movies is here to help us all make better, more informed decisions when it comes to choosing our time travel movie fare.
I’m really not sure there is much scientifically accurate or logical about anything dealing with time travel. But the concept is certainly fun to think about and can make for a good film.
When you get into the few television series that involve time travel, like Quantum Leap or Seven Days, the logic and science get even more muddled as writers try to keep track of everything they’ve already put the protagonists through in earlier (later?) episodes.
Anyway, if you’re also a sci-fi media fan, both articles offer lots of great ideas for a movie night. Maybe an alien/time-travel double feature.
The alien landing map of the US at the top was created by Dylan_Mq who describes himself as a “DataViz, Map and Pop Culture enthusiast”. He creates and posts maps and other visualizations on topics that interest him on Reddit and other social media platforms. The article in which it is embedded also includes his world map of alien landings.