This piece Shaun Mullen wrote about what alien life would actually be like if we found it or it found us has been on my mind for a while, not least because I think it gets at something I would like to see more in the movies: depictions of societies where multiple kinds of sentient life forms have figured out how to live together. It’s not that I dislike first contact movies, it’s just that they tend to follow fairly typical, conflict-driven arcs (with Contact being a notable and fascinating exception). Most of those contacts occur because either humans or aliens are rapacious and violent: they try to kill us in Independence Day, our avarice and fear lead us to kill them in District 9, which I devoutly hope will get a sequel that might push the narrative further. Men in Black was a humorous nod in the direction of coexistence, but that coexistence is maintained via a conspiracy that prevents humanity from actually having to grapple with the fact of intelligent alien life. Star Trek, of course, has alien life, but most of it is hominid in appearance, and the conflicts between races emerge out of differing value structures, rather than a true inability to comprehend each other. What I’m looking for is a world like Star Wars, where humans and aliens alike have essentially settled on a shared set of compromises that rule their interactions, where the society as a whole is far beyond the point of first contact, but where there are more genuinely alien main characters. Any good recommendations? It’s possible that what I’m looking for is out there and I’ve just missed it. But the craving is strong, and I can’t think of something I know out there that will satisfy it.