The Perfect Organism: The Intruder of the Alien films as a Bio-fictional Construct

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This chapter explores the relationship between scientific discussions in evolutionary biology and the (re-)construction of fictional settings based upon evolutionary knowledge claims that are surrounded with controversy. Exploring Jean-Jacques Annaud’s problems with evolutionary reconstruction in his film Quest for Fire (1981), as well as the fictional biology of the intruder in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) and some of its sequels, it introduces the notion of bio-fictional constructs as a term used to denote fictive and quasi-fictive organisms whose life cycle is either fully or partially constructed or reconstructed. It also argues that any novelist or director who attempts to base a fictional narrative on factual research is faced with numerous difficulties that are rooted in the state of evolutionary biology because this is an academic area that is driven by major theoretical controversies as well as the fluctuating nature of evolutionary knowledge claims. Any narrative that includes bio-fictional constructs needs to take this into account, if it seeks to base itself on some kind of biological credibility. This makes the validity of the classical distinction between hard science fiction (stories founded upon credible scientific facts) and soft science fiction (stories that take a more liberal approach to such matters) questionable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScience Fiction, Ethics and the Human Condition
EditorsChristian Baron, Peter Nicolai Halvorsen, Christine Cornea
Number of pages11
Publication date14 Jul 2017
Commissioning bodyJohn Templeton Foundatio
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-56575-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-56577-4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2017



  • 1 Conference organisation or participation

Science Fiction, Ethics and the Human Condition

Christian Baron (Organizer)

24 Jan 201325 Jan 2013

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

Cite this

Baron, C. (2017). The Perfect Organism: The Intruder of the Alien films as a Bio-fictional Construct. In C. Baron, P. N. Halvorsen, & C. Cornea (Eds.), Science Fiction, Ethics and the Human Condition (pp. 9-20). Springer.