Most superheroes at some point deal with aliens. Heck, many of them are aliens. I’m looking at you, Superman. The same holds true for science fiction that goes into space in any way, shape, or form. In fact, space-based sci-fi that completely omits aliens might be more noteworthy than the ones that include them. Aliens have a tendency to be silly at times when they aren’t handled right, and it is way too easy to not handle them right. Glue a forehead ridge on an actor, give him a couple of odd quirks, and then call it a day.
Aliens in fiction offer too much of an opportunity to really stretch a creator’s creativity. It is easy to see why so many would look down on aliens, so let’s consider some of the more successful attempts to create otherworldly races and cultures.