Alien Contact

Micheal Crichton

The extract ” Alien Contact ” from Micheal Crichton’s novel ” Sphere ” deals with the psychologist Norman Johnson, having a conference with the US government in order to conscript a report¬† about how to handle a possible contact with extraterrestrial life.

1. Describe the attitude of members of the US government towards the possibility of alien contact.

3. a) According to the text, what role would the media play in the event of alien contact ?

b) Explain the importance of ” media moments ” ( ll. 15-16 ) for politicians in democratic countries.

1. The attitude of the members of the US government towards the possibility of alien contact is gloomy and serious.¬† The quote ” Norman was continually surprised at the level of the officials he was told to meet with. One Senior Undersecretary of State… ” ( ll. 1-2 ) shows the seriousness of that topic of alien contact. They attempt to calm themselves with speculations about a ” multimeg nuclear device ” which would kill the aliens. Those assumptions are based on ” Law of physics” but it still leaves space for sceptism. The questions, Norman is asked cannot be answered surely, what means there is a certain degree of not only insecurity but also doubt. At least, the members of the US government worry about the reactions of the public. As seen in Orson Welles’ ” War of the Worlds ” in 1938, “People had been terrified. ” (l.45) and it is unreasonable to expose the public to that mass panic. That is the reason why one is supposed to relieve them when it is said that ” We don’t want to start a panic ” (l.33). though that proposition cannot be absolutely confirmed.

3. a) In the event of the alien contact, the media plays a role of importance. The media represents the device of conveying information to a wide audience. Much power and responsibility is awarded to it. Therefore, it needs much time and consideration which allows the people to seek for a proper amount and kind of information for the target group and which causes neither trouble nor panic. In order to achieve this purpose, this is done in the present extract.

3. b ) The ” media moments ” are of enormous significance for politicians in democratic countries. As said before, information can be spread fast, in the political fraction reforms, proposals or advertisements for parties are likely. This makes a transparent policy in democratic countries possible. Apart from that the citizen has the right to vote and due to this, even more significance is distributed to media and its role for politicians in democratic countries.