Paul Matthews

Published On


Page Range

pp. 45–64


  • English

Print Length

20 pages

4. The Alien, the Artificial, and the Extended

  • Paul Matthews (author)
Authors have portrayed alien beings along a spectrum of psychological distance from the barely recognisable to the more relatable. We start here with the famously weird and incomprehensible, such as Lem’s sentient sea in Solaris and the beings in Vandermeer’s Area X. We see that an alien lifeworld can be imagined through a radically different sensory presence and extended language and physical communication skills. And a large number of interesting examples come from the extension of the body, either for AI minds to interact with the world, or for superhuman minds to inhabit entire spacecraft.


Paul Matthews

Senior Lecturer, Information Science; Programme Leader, MSc Data Science at University of the West of England

Paul Matthews is a senior lecturer in computer science at the University of the West of England where his research interests include human-computer interaction and human-centred AI. Paul has a long term interest in the connections between science fiction, technology and human psychology.