10 February 2016

Our Enemies: Reptilians (Space Lizards)

Millions of years ago, our planet was once their planet, and if it had not been for an asteroid, we humans may never have become the dominate species of Terra. Even today, reptiles (especially snakes) are mistrusted and feared by most humans, and that fear has been projected onto science fiction with reptilian-like aggressive aliens that are one of the most common types of hostile humanoid alien species seen in all of fiction. In this installment of the ongoing serial Our Enemies, FWS will explaining and exploring the Reptilians of science fiction and UFO mythology.

What Are The Science Fiction Reptilians?
Being one of the most popular hostile aliens specie archetypes that often play the enemy to humanity as allowed the science fiction Reptilian aliens to have some commonalities and a great deal of variations. In this section, I will attempting explain some of those common characteristics of Reptilians seen in science fiction. Nearly all Reptilians are imperialistic and vicious carnivorous. This was expressed upon us with nightmarish visuals with the both interpretations of V with these space lizards packing humans for later snacking and eating small furry animals whole.
Most space lizards seen in the genre are some shade of either grey or green, which immediately separates them from us Terrans. Further setting the Reptilians apart is their speech, which often includes hissing as seen with the Sleestak from Land of the Lost and COBRA Commander (especially in the Robot Chicken videos). Then there is their reptile eyes and at times: the forked tongues. These super-creepy biological elements of Terran reptile species are added to the fictional alien space lizards to drive home the point that these creatures are far from you and I (unless you are an reptilian shapeshifter!). These features play up the hostile appearance of the space lizards.
The vast majority of alien lizards from outer space are bipedal and often embody the darker impulses of human nature. Fewer science fiction works show Reptilians with other means of locomotion like the Snakemen from X-COM. When it comes to leadership, often Reptilian species are under the rule of a some sort of queen-mother, who either creates the nobles that rule over the wider Reptilian society or rule directly. Most of these science fiction Reptilians are born from eggs and this, yet again, is another separator between us and them. They are often divided into factions and this can be a source of internal tension and even reasons for war. When it comes to technological level of these space lizards is often on par with Terra or far superior, fueling their imperialistic desire.

Why are Reptilians Popular Foes in Science Fiction?
Humans use their own fears of things to base threats from outer space on; serving as a cathartic experience for both the reader and the creator.This was the basis for the Martians in War of the Worlds and even the xenomorphs in the ALIENS universe. The same is partly true for the overwhelming amount of Reptilians seen in science fiction and even mythology. Frankly speaking, reptiles freak alot of people out and their predatory habits and methods of eating all add to the common dislike of reptiles.Humans are deeply afraid of creatures that can eat us or our favorite pets.
This inhuman nature of Terran reptiles all add to a perfect basis for imperialistic asshole species from beyond the stars. Also helping with the inclusion of space lizards is humanity's continued fascination with dinosaurs and horror/monster centered around reptile species. Just look at how many films are about dinosaurs and even massive South American Anacondas. There is also a great deal of maneuvering room with Reptilian species given the vast array of reptiles on our own world. Creators can dive into the deep waters of reptile species on Earth, and forge a new more underwear-filling space monster with dark desires of eating you. Lastly, if it works, keep doing it. For centuries, humans have included reptilians in their myths, religions, and horror tales, and that led to space lizards in science fiction. This enduring foundation allows generates new Reptilian species by new creators, furthering the seternotype of space lizards being hostile to us humans.

Will We Fight Hostile Alien Lizards from Outer Space?
There are millions of worlds out there in the blackness of our own galaxy, and countless worlds in the known universe...so it is likely that there are plotting alien space lizards out there waiting to invade us and make us into fajitas? If we consider that the dominant form of life before us on Terra millions of years ago was the Dinosaur, who were basically reptiles. Does that mean that if there are Earthlike worlds out there that they would first develop dinosaur-like creatures if conditions were similar to Earth hundreds of millions ago? We humans won the species lottery when that pieces of space rock hit near Mexico...but what if it didn't happen on other world? Could we see alien lizards-like species as we push out? Have we already?
After all, people have been adding lizards/reptiles in their mythological deities since the concept of complex religion arose. Does this mean that alien reptilians are out there? All of these questions greatly depends on unanswered questions of astrobiology, the foundation of ancient belief systems, and if UFO lore can be taken as proof-positive. With all of those worlds out there, it is possible that dinosaur-like creatures arose and were never wiped out, leading to several species evolving into truly intelligent species like us. Of course, there is no proof and no reason to think that these Reptilians evolved in our own galaxy. There could be a race of conquering dickhead Reptilians in the NGC-4414 spiral galaxy and we are completely ignorant of them. If we listen to UFO conspiracy theorists, they are already here and we already lost. If we are also to listen to the theories about Reptilians, than we can fully expect to wage interstellar conflicts with them due to their glouish desires and imperialist mindset.

The Whole Reptilians Conspiracy Thing...
The mistrust of reptiles by humans is a long-held value, and it appears in ancient lore and even holy texts, as represented by the story in Genesis. It is also reflected in UFO lore with the long-held believe that an alien reptilian species is strongly present on Earth and directly involved in manipulating human history. This conspiracy theory states that many of world leaders, like President Obama, the Pope, and even the Queen of England are all Reptilians that shapeshift.
The reasons given for these space lizards being involved with Terran affairs vary; some say that they are using Terrans for food, or slave labor, or for purposes beyond our understanding. This theory was popularized in modern times by David Icke, who says that the Reptilians are from the star system Alpha Draconis (AKA: Thuban) which is 303 lightyears away from Sol. David Icke points to the importance of the star in ancient civilians as proof of their involvement in our affairs along with mythological serpent peoples. In recent times, the theory has picked up, and when a picture of an odd-looking security guard during one of President Obama's speeches, it was treated as proof positive of Reptilians being real and involved in our affairs and the internet exploded. This conspiracy theory of Reptilians has trickled down and made our space lizards popular foes in science fiction of all forms and media types, like V.

Science Fiction and the Reptilians
Some terrestrial animal species make better hostile alien species archetypes. True, there have been some creators that have attempted to use cute furry species like bunnies to be the basis for an aggressive alien race. However, killer zombie vampire rabbits from outer space are very rare (I need to copyright that name!) and mostly stupid. At times, super aggressive predatory species of Earth don't work either, like basing an alien race on Great White sharks...which is just fucking stupid as well.
Some species just work and continue to work well. Aliens based on insects and reptiles are some of the most celebrated, feared, and copied in all science fiction. This organic nature of how well Reptilians fit into science fiction as allowed them to be recycled again and again. For example, the Reptilian Visitors from V were the fearsome introduction to space lizards for my generation, and the concept was reimagined in 2009 by ABC for a new generation, allowing the space lizard trope to live on.
As V was an influence to future creators, the foundation of the Visitors harken back to other space lizards from pulp era works, who take their Reptilians from even older sci-fi works like HP Lovecraft; and even those are taken from ancient mythological sources. Running alongside the science fiction Reptilian has been Reptilian races from fantasy works like D&D and of course, Reptilian conspiracy from the UFO community. This allows deep rooted foundation in Reptilians to be low-hanging fruit for sci-fi creators, who can easily insert their own vision of space lizards into their own work, playing into the long-held fear and interest of these type of alien species. Of course, this also is a prime target for other creators to reinvent the sci-fi space lizard to into something new.


The Gorn from the Star Trek Universe
During the first years of TOS, the show was attempting to find another enemy that was different than the other human-like aliens like the Romulans and the Klingons. That enemy was the Gorn, and the episode was the classic "The Arena.". The original Gorn thick rubber suit was developed by Wah Chang and made Gorn captain seen on the small screen slow, but powerful. While this space lizard monster is nearly comical today, it was typical of monsters on TV and cinema of the time. While the episode is a fan favorite and one of the best of TOS, the Gorn were rarely seen in Trek and even when seen, it was briefly. Gorn were seen in Star Trek: The Animated Series in the pages of several Trek books, and the 4th and final season of Star Trek: Enterprise as an CGI monster that reimagined the Gorn from the original 60's rubber suit monster. This was last appearance of the Gorn in Trek.
The FASA Trek RPG universe featured the Gorn and even developed some details of the Gorn race via the FASA RPG module Demand of Honor. Their warships were seen in their starship combat game. Rumors say that if the FASA Trek licence had continued, the Gorn would have gotten their own sourcebook and ship recognition manual. Since Enterprise, the Gorn have mostly been seen in video games and comics, they were going to be featured in the alternative universe 2009 film, but were cut from the final film. The Gorn were the enemy in the 2013 3rd person Star Trek video game for PC and home consoles that was set between the 2009 film and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
The Gorn themselves are little developed in canonized sources. The Gorn Hegemony had first contact with the Federation in 2267, when the Federation colony of Cestus III was attacked by the Reptilian during a border dispute. However, there were Gorn goods that made into human hands via the Orion prior to the 2267 encounter. Throughout the 23th and 24th centuries, the Gorn were little involved in interstellar affairs. During the Dominion War, the Enterprise-E was sent to secure the Gorn Hegemony assistance with the invaders. Some sources say that the Gorn sided with the Dominion, while others say that Gorn joined the Federation Alliance, and were there at the major battles. Of course, we have no idea and most likely will not. It is really too bad that the Gorn were not more developed or ever given their due in canonized Trek sources.

The Drac from the Enemy Mine Universe
One of the most explored Reptilian races in sci-fi cinema is the Drac from the 1985 forgotten classic Enemy Mine. The Drac race were developed by author Berry B. Longyear for his stories set in the Enemy Mine universe. Later, the central story was developed into the film of the same name.  In the film, the Drac were an expanding Reptilian-humanoid species that fought a war with the Terran BTA government in deep space over interstellar real estate. Unlike the humans, the Drac are asexual, practice one religion based on the teaches of Shismar, and have a more unified society than Terra. One of the most important elements of the Drac society despite, the lack of sexual pairing, there their deep sense of family linage and how ingrained into their society. An Drac cannot be a full member of society without reciting the names of their family line at the council.
One of the elements that has helped the Drac become of the better sci-fi cinema aliens is the excellent performance by Louis Gossett Jr., who fleshed out "Jerry" and the Drac as a whole and the story itself. While Enemy Mine is a military sci-fi war film in one way, it is also a survival film of two foes having to work together to overcome their hostile surroundings. This allows the Terran character played by Dennis Quaid and the audience to learn about the Drac, making them less the evil aliens as many Reptilians are projected in fiction. It is a shame that the film was not an success and we never got to see the Drac in other projects, but they have lived on as one of the best Reptilian races in fiction.

The Flesh-and-Blood Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica
In the original 1978 BSG series, the Cylon toasters were not a creation of man and her colonies, but of an unseen Reptilian race. According to mentions made in the original series, these reptilian Cylons were the creators of the robotic Cylons and their warmachines, and that their own technology killed them. Originally, the robotic Cylons were servants and when the 12 Colonies were discovered, it is believed that the robotic Cylons were militarized to counter the threat. However, the robotic Cylons killed their biological creators after the Reptilian Cylons created a overall cybernetic commander, the Imperious Leader seen hiding in the shadows of the series. The robotic Cylons viewed biological life as imperfect and this began their war against the fleshy ones living in the 12 Colonies.

The Fatu-Krey from the Galaxy Quest Universe
One of the finest sci-fi comedies of all time is 1999's Galaxy Quest, and it depicts an imperialistic, territorial, green-skinned Reptilian species: the Fatu-Krey. The Fatu-Krey are under the leadership of Serris, which is also the name of their authoritarian government, the Serris Domination.  In the film, this race is on single-minded quest to dominate the galaxy, and we see this in their treatment of the space octopus Thermian species. One of the eve of being completely destroyed, the down-and-out Thermian construct the Terran heavy cruiser Protector and journey to Terra to recover her crew to battle the Fatu-Frey and save the remaining Thermians. While this is a comedy, and these conquering space lizards assholes are projected to be just that, it is interesting that the film mines the common sci-fi stereotype of Reptilian for the film's big bad enemy species. The film does a great job of really selling the aggressiveness of Serris and his policies, reinforcing the Reptilian racial profiling in sci-fi.

The Draconians from the Classic Dr. Who Universe
One of the best Reptilian species in the Classic Doctor Who universe is the Draconians seen in 1973's "Frontier of Space". This proud and imperialistic Reptilian species was based around the Tokugawa Period of Feudal Japan and unlike other sci-fi Reptilians, they were more of real government and society. In the episode, the Draconians are from the 26th century, and are one of the major empires in the Milky Way, competing with Terra and her imperialistic desires. Draconians operate in a extremely sexist society with high respect to authority and their ancestors. At the top of their governmental structure is their emperor. It was mentioned in the episode that while relations between Draconia and Terra were tense, there had only been one brief war between them. At the time the 3rd Doctor arrived, tensions were at an all time high due to the Master attempting to start a war between the two empires.
While the Draconians were a memorable alien faction in the classic Doctor Who universe, these reptilians have not made another live-action appearance in the show. That has not prevented the Draconians from being a fan favorite in radio plays, books, comics, and video game. How I got to know the Draconians was due to the 1980's Marvel Comics reprint of British Dr. Who comics. In the back of the comics, they ran a secondary storyline, and one of my favorites was about Dalek Killer Abslom Daak. During his misadventures in the 26th century, he was taken by the Draconian Empire, and later took an experimental Draconian assault ship. This was one of the coolest Dr. Who in-universe storylines and it is a pity that it was not made into a live-action production. Today, the Draconians are one of the few original Who alien races not to be reinvented for the new series

The Snakemen from the X-COM Universe

In the X-COM universe, Earth is under attack from several alien races, and one of the most terrifying and fearsome is the Snakemen. Appearing close in foam to Terran snakes, this Reptilian race is blessed with extremely tolerance heat resistance and they can survive in more extreme environments that other races. In keeping with the name, the Snakemen form of locomotion is similar to a real snake. Unlike other hostile races, the Snakemen are genetic unmodified by the Sectoids or the Ethereals.
Interrogations revealed that the Snakemen coming to Terra are under the direction of other alien factions as mercenaries. Even the Snakemen themselves are not united. Their race has founded several colonies that are all protected by self-funded mercenary armies and independent of the homeworld.  While a favorite of fan in the original games, the 2012 X-COM: Enemy Unknown, the Snakemen were missing, but have confirmed for X-COM 2.  I have to admit this, if I saw an Snakeman coming after me, I would shit and piss myself as I ran away. This are pure sheet ruining nightmare fuel.

The Kig-Yar from the HALO Universe
One of the great elements of the HALO games was the vast array of enemy alien species to shoot and kill, and one of the more annoying was the energy shield carrying Jackals. In the Covenant alien legions of ground forces, the Kig-Yar or "Jackal" are slightly above the Grunts, and along carrying their energy shield, they are also armed with a plasma pistol. Since the first HALO game in 2001, the Jackals have been in the mix of alien combatants attempting to kill you, and while you unload magazines of 7.62mm, they shield themselves from your hail of incoming fire with those damned energy shields. Starting at around the second game, the Jackals also became snipers and sharpshooters wielding several types of precision weapon systems. The Jackals were also one of the races that played both sides of the Covenant civil wars, and have also been one of the races graphically redesigned from game-to-game more radically that other Covenant races. One of the odd things about the Jackals is they were the first Covenant race encountered by humanity at the colony of Harvest. Another odd thing about the Jackals is that unlike other Covenant aliens, the Jackal suffer from only a few main characters in the HALO books and none in the video games.

The Jem'Hadar from the Star Trek Universe(?!)
They are the genetically engineered slave soldiers of the Dominion, the key imperial power in the Gamma Quadrant...and they are the Jem'Hadar and they are Reptilians?! Sort of. According to several sources, the look of the fearsome Jem'Hadar is partly inspired by reptiles and even dinosaurs. This yet another example of Reptilian archetypes being used to increase the "alienness" of an sci-fi species. Besides the makeup, the Jem'Hadar seen in Deep Space Nine bore no real connection to classic sci-fi Reptilians and even real-world Reptiles. I decided to include this example, despite it being a weak connection to most science fiction Reptilians on this list, because it speaks to the popularity of the space lizard and how just a few elements of Reptilian can be used to generate a fearsome science fiction hostile alien species. More on the Jem'Hadar when FWS covers "Warrior Aliens" for Our Enemies.

The Ithklur from the Traveller Universe
From 1977 through today, Traveller was one of the key space RPGs of the 1980's RPG crazy, and found in the dense universe presented by publisher Game Designers' Workshop. One of the most feared and most skilled alien races in the Traveller universe is the Reptilian Ithklur. These massive creatures are fitted with two hearts, sharp teeth, and it takes 17 month for their young to gestation. They serve the hivers need for ground forces, and while they are not evil, they are a race of warriors and clients to the Hivers. The worst the fight, the more the Ithklur like it, and this allows this Reptilian race to be used as shocktroopers and frontline warriors. Of course, if they were not fighting other aliens on the behalf of the Hivers, they would be killing each other.

The Posleen from the Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo
John Ringo is one of the key military science fiction authors and in his Legacy of the Aldenata series, he features an extremely aggressive Reptilian species called the Posleen, whom are the destroyers of worlds in Ringo's fictional universe. These space crocodiles were artificially engineered long ago to the be ulitmate warrior races, and motivating the Posleen to conquer other worlds is their ravenous hungry. Seriously, they must eat all the time or starve to die. This means that the Posleen fucking eat everything, and this even includes their own young hatchiles. The society of the Posleen is made up of two classes: the God-Kings and the normals. Both of their young have to survive the hatching pits, and embrace that life has a Posleen is all about violence and plundered treasure. The God-Kings lead the group into battle and glory, eating their way through the stars, and leaving dead worlds behind. Sensing a theme here? Good, because the Posleen are an extreme example of the murderous conquering dickhead Reptilian race...hell, one of the God-King leaders wears a cloak of women!  

"The Race" from the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove
On the surface, especially the cover-art for the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove, the Reptilians, called "The Race", seem stupid and lazy design. However, Mr. Turtledove has done quite alot of work making The Race into one of the more developed and unique of all Reptilian alien species. The Race are from a water-poor world in the Tau Ceti star system, lay eggs, and get high off of ginger. While they do reproduce sexually, it is only during breeding seasons, there is nothing approaching the emotion of human love. While human seperate themselves into country and clan groups, The Race are more divided along generational line due to seasonal breeding. For 50,000 years, The Race's homeworld has been ruled by an imperial dynasty and when technology allowed, The Race conquered two other nearby alien civilizations. But their process and progress is slow. The Race doesn't seem to do anything fast, and even new concepts are slowly folded into their civilization over centuries. Why does The Race conquer? According to the books, these Reptilians believe that by conquering, they civilizing other species and uplifting them into proper society; they firmly believe that their way of life is the best. Probes scanned Earth during the 12th century, and it took The Race over 800 years(!) to mount an invasion of Terra. When their invasion fleet arrived at our homeworld, they are shocked to see the amount of progress and the challenge of subjugating the humans is far, far more difficult. The massive amount of casualties that the space lizards incur from their stillborn invasion leads to the first social and political crisis in 50,000 years.

The Sleestak from Land of the Lost
One of the iconic children's television series of 1970's was goofy The Land of the Lost that become a cultural touchstone of an generation. The original concept, characters, and creatures have been redone several times, but nothing is close to the 1974-1976 original. In the pocket dimension of the Land of the Lost, one of the key species is the Reptilian Sleestak. At one time, the Sleestak, then known as the Altrusians, were a great civilization, but emotion took their toll, and they lost everything. The result was the more savage and primitive Sleestak. Throughout the series, the Sleestak were a major source of tension and action, and they quickly became one of the most memorable elements of the show, garnering their own 1970's Ben Cooper action figures. In the 1991 reboot of The Land of the Lost, the Sleestak were washed out of originality, and became more dinosaur-like and stupid. They were similar to their original selves in the 2009 big-screen abortion. I grew up watching this series, and for this blogpost, I rewatched several key Sleestak episodes. Some things should remain memories I guess.    

The Terrons from planet Terron from the G.I. Joe Universe
This must be the ugly cousin to the Visitors from the V universe, but alas, it actually comes from the 70's...The Terron Reptilians were found in an odd place: the GI Joe universe. In the mid-1970's, GI Joe was attempted to expand their appeal to the new generation, and a new line of sci-fi Joes called the "adventure team" was created along with this unholy alien action figure. The figure's name was Gor, and he was the Terron leader and the green-skinned foe to the Joes. Described as an "evil beast from outer space", this Reptilian alien figure had an "Destructo Ray" mounted in his chest to engage their enemies. This was a red light in reality. These Adventure Team figures could electronic interact with each other, and they were the first GI Joes to do so. This is yet another example of how common evil space lizards are and how easily they fit within that stereotype of hostile alien. Fortunately for all of us, the Adventure Team concept was jettisoned for the 1982 GI Joe: Real American Hero toyline that became one of the most successful toylines of all time.

The Drell from the Mass Effect Unvierse
The Drell are a sad, but interesting race from the excellent Mass Effect universe. According to the unused Codex entry, 11 billion Drell had died when the environmental collapse of their homeworld, but 375,000 Drell were allowed to immigrate to the Hanar homeworld. This act of kindness has forged an undying loyalty being the Drell and the Hanar via "the compact". During the Reaper War, the Hanar homeworld was protected by Drell warriors, speaking to the loyalty of their Drell to their saviors. Players of Mass Effect 2 are introduced to the Drell via the master-assassin Thane Krios.The Drell are from an arid world, and the Hanar homeworld is deadly to them and it seems that the Drell are living on borrowed time. Personally, Thane Krios is one of my favorite elements of Mass Effect II, and it is a real pity that Thane Krios does not show up more in the 3rd game. Maybe the Drell will be in Mass Effect: Andromeda? While the Drell are not enemies to Terrans in the game, they are a deadly foe in the wider Mass Effect universe and easily one of the better Reptilian characters in science fiction. 

The Xindi-Reptilian from the 3rd Season of Star Trek: Enterprise
During the 3rd season of Star Trek: Enterprise, the NX-01 was forced after an attack on Earth to go into an unexplored region of space to prevent the alien race known as the Xindi from finishing their Earth-killing super-weapon. It was during their military expedition that the Enterprise learned that the Xindi were not a single race, but six separate sentinel races that evolved on the same planet. One of the most warlike and vicious was the Reptilian-Xindi. During this critical moment of Xindi history, the Reptilians led the charge for the superweapon and for the destruction of Terra. It was also heavily hinted in the 3rd season that the Reptilians would attempt to take over the rest of the Xindi after the destruction of Terra, with the backing of the Sphere-builders.
After the destruction of the super-weapon and the Reptilian council member, it is unknown the fate of the Reptilian-Xindi or the Xindi race as a whole. Some sources say that there was an Xindi Civil War or that the Reptilian-Xindi were stripped of their power and seat on the interspecies council. As with all of the Xindi races, the Reptilian had their own uniforms, ship designs, and weaponry. The primary weapon of the Reptilian shock-troopers seen in the 3rd season used an DE rifle powered by an eel-like creature. This organic technology was extended into their ships. All of this design work made the Reptilian-Xindi stand out along, make the Reptilian-Xindi were a favorite of actor Scott Bakula and makeup artist Michael Westmore. Overall, the Reptilian-Xindi embodied some of the most common tropes of the sci-fi Reptilian, but the handling of the Reptilian-Xindi by the Enterprise production added fresh layers to the much seen warlike Reptilian

The Visitors from the V Universe (1983 and 2009)

Here is the one of the nastiest space lizard race ever seen in sci-fi and one that that introduced me and some of my generation to the concept (and horror) of Reptilians. The original NBC miniseries from 1983, my seven year old self was exposed to space lizard plot to invade the Earth and rob it of its resources and serve man on the dinner table. The "Visitors" were from a world needing resources and viewed Earth in the same way that the conquistadors did Mesoamerica.
They hid their true selves in an artificial skin that made the Visitors appear more like us than something from the reptile section of the Zoo. It was discovered that the Visitors were not ambassadors of interstellar peace and brotherhood, but their real motivation was to steal our resources and us for food, slave labor, and foot soldiers in wars against other alien races that were unseen in the series. Their own world, which may have been circling the star Sirius was either captured during the alien wars or was used up. Why were space lizards used as the evil alien species in the original 1980's series? The show was channeling works about societies being taken over by dracion governments bent on conquest and subjection.Classical elements of science fiction were bended to form the world of the NBC miniseries.  Some of the look of V was influenced by the 3rd Reich and 1980's sci-fi fashion. The inclusion of space lizards speaks to the common collective power of this type of hostile alien species that existed even in the 1980's, prior to the Reptilian theory pushed by David Icke in the 1990's.
In the 2009 reboot by ABC, the Visitors were similar, but modified for the time, deleted some of the 1980's cheese, and adding layers of more realism. One of the most important changes was the the new 2009 Visitors were altering their natural posture for the bipedal posture of us. Unlike the 1980's Visitors, the new 2009 versions had much better Terran skin-suits that fully integrated into their sensor system. The 2009 was a slow boil, and it never reached the apex that the original miniseries did, and it was canceled after two seasons just has things were getting interesting. Both interpretations of the central concept of V speak to the underlying fear and fascination with conquering predatory space lizards. It is likely that this is not the last we've seen of the Visitors.

The Voth from Star Trek Voyager
Man, Star Trek is packed with Reptilians! In one of the better episodes of Voyager...and that is saying alot, we met our long-lost cousins: the Voth. Some of the concept of the Voth originality from the classic Dr. Who Silurians. The Voth evolved from the Cretaceous Period dinosaur species Hadrosaur, who escaped the mass extinction and traveled, in time, to the Delta Quadrant. However, the native religion of the Voth prevented the theory from being taught. More technologically advanced the Federation of the 24th century, the Voth seem to live on massive city-ships. Despite the interesting nature of the Voth, ST: Voyager never encounter the Voth again.

The Zn'rx (Snark) from Power Pack Marvel Comic Series
In one of the only true superhero comics I ever collected in the 1980's was Marvel's Power Pack. In this series about an friendly equine alien that gifts superpowers to four pre-teen children, who used their powers in the larger Marvel Universe. In the primary enemy of the Power Pack and the equine aliens, known as Kymellians, was the lizard-like Zn'rx (AKA Snark). These green-skined, red-eyed aggressive space lizards were unusual in sci-fi due to their more "reptilian" like digitigrade leg structure. In their social structure, the male emperor rules over the various clans via queens. If and when the emperor dies, the clans wage war for the right of succession. The son of the victorious queen is the new emperor. These interspecies wars of succession of the Zn'rx spill over to the Power Pack and the Kymellians. During some of the succession wars, the Power Pack aided one side or the other. These were often the best issues of the original comic series. These storylines involved queen Maraud and her psychopathic son Jakal. At one point during the series, Jakal was able to transfer the Power Pack abilities into himself. To me, the Zn'rx were some of the best space lizards of the 1980's and avoided influence from the more over-the-top Visitors from V.

Lobotomaxx from the Lunatrix Empire from the G.I. Joe Universe
In the very weird 1990's G.I.Joe "Star Brigade" toyline, one of
the hostile alien species was the nightmarish Lobotomaxx alien assassin/bounty hunter from the Lunatrix Empire who hailed from Zog in the Morus Sector Five (right next to the Forbidden Zone). While Lobotomaxx is deadly, he is also less intelligence these days since another Lunatrix Imperial bounty hunter cut out part of his brain during a laser-saber duel. In the misguided Star Brigade toyline, Lobotomaxx was an unique and ugly figure that came with five fucking brightly colored guns and was not as terrifying as the box-art. As per the popularity of space lizards in sci-fi, Hasbro added an murderous Reptilian species to the mix to jazz up the alien enemy types. He was featured in the Star Brigade comics and was repainted for the international markets. When the Star Brigade toyline disappeared in 1994/1995, this ugly space lizards went with it...thankfully.

Lizardmen Empire from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World TV Series
From 1999 to 2002, there was an live-action Australian television series loosely based on the 1912 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel. I never would have known about this series if not for a former friend of mine who loved the series and loaned the boxset of DVDs to me. The series itself was much like the majority of the Taco Bell menu...cheap, cheesey with some good point, but mostly it going to make you sick and filled with regret. The Lost World TV series would end in 2002 on a cliff higher, but before giving us the Lizardmen Empire. Many of the episodes had a "monster/enemy of the week" format, but one of the standouts that merited a return was the Lizardman "Tribute" played by Jerome Ehlers, who was part of an Roman Empire styled government that was a major player in the Lost World. The actor was wonderful in the part and was one of the best elements of the show, along with the Lizardmen concept themselves. While the show was as bad as the old Hercules: The Legendary Journeys television series, the Lizardmen were a nice change from the typical Reptilians we seen in science fiction, even if they are part of the "imperialistic Reptilian" trope.
The Cardassians from the Star Trek Universe
During the early days of ST:TNG, there were few new enemy or hostile alien races that could interact with the crew of the D. While they did have the foolish and comically bad Ferengi and the menacing Borg, there was a simple lack of a new enemy like the Klingons or the Romulans. In 1991, we would get one of the most enduring hostile alien races of the 24th century: the Cardassians. While similar to some common Reptilian alien race tropes, the Cardassians were an imperialistic government with their sights set on being the major player in the Alpha Quadrant, the Cardassians were also amazing complex and varied; a tribute to the writing and acting of TNG.
But are the Cardassians really Reptilians? Yes and no. The best term is quasi-Reptilians and some have concluded that Cardassians evolved from some similar to the Therapsid species. It is true that the makeup and overall look of the this alien race was based around reptile queues, and they do not enjoy the cold, but they are more humanoid than Reptilian. They do shed their body scales, though. To me, the Cardassians are not much of an Reptilian example, but I needed to include them, and they are still one of the best elements of Deep Space 9. Counter to internet rumor, the Cardassians are not named for the painful and whorish Kardashian clan. The name was developed via brainstorming session. Also, the ST: Voyager Delta Quadrant race, the Vaadwaur, resemble the Cardassians. 

Next Time on FWS...
It has become an icon of science fiction, contemporary culture, and the desire of every Star Wars fan: the lightsaber. In the next installement of The Weapons of Sci-Fi, FWS will breakdown the weapon of the Jedi and the Sith.


  1. No Krogans? Definitely reptilian, and definitely warlike! Remind me of various desert-dwelling Agamids...

  2. ...And just like that, one of my favorite alien species that I've designed is suddenly ruined. Well not totally, but have certainly lost some of their appeal, to me at least. I have heard of XCOM, but never of the snakemen, and that's pretty much what one of my species is.

    Of course there are differences, such as mine have a bifurcated tail, and their shoulders are more ape like. Being a creature that is usually low to the ground on their high-gravity home world, it would make more sense for their arms to be suited more towards working overhead most of the time, such as tree-dwelling primates and apes. As such when they stand up straight on more typical low-gee worlds, their positioning with their arms is somewhat awkward and Ape-like as well. Another note, being extremely strong with a long flexible torso, hand to hand fighting with them involves no striking: since they can crush each other to death be constricting like a snake, their arms are utilized less in unarmed combat.

    Kinda went off subject there. Anyways Im still gonna use my species, Im just disappointed that there is already a similar established species in a well-known universe.

  3. It is always tough to decide what species become examples on an FWS blogpost. The Korgen were on the list originally, but because they will be featured in an upcoming OUR ENEMIES blogpost about "Proud Warrior Species", I felt there were other Reptilians needed to be featured.
    It is tough when you design an alien species for your book or game, and it you realize it has been done. Remember, the insect alien has been done to death in science fiction, but I used insect aliens for my book, and took a fresh spin on it. Don't give up! Still use it!

    1. I still plan on using them, along with a couple other reptilian species. It's just a minor coincidence. I have a couple varieties of Insectoid as well. Currently standing at 20 distinct species total, with some playing a more central role than others. The rate of travel in my setting is limited, even with the FTL I have in place, so most common species in my setting occupy territory relatively close to Earth, at least close on a cosmic scale. There are hundreds of races overall, but only a few dozen at most will be relevant to humanities existence, which gives me plenty of fodder for growth and helps come to terms with the old Fermi paradox.

  4. No Bolter for next "weapons of SF"? For shame! For me anyway, a light saber is a poor substitute for a machine-gun that fires rocket propelled internally exploded grenades!
    I really hope to see FWS's Bolter article someday…
    And if the Texas ballot box is still open… can I add an idea to your 'our enemies' list? How about tripods?
    They are the most ancient enemy of SF, from War of the Worlds and on. Both aliens or/and there walkers were tripods. Could an alien evolve naturally with three legs?


    1. I've currently got 2 designs for tripods, only one is particularly well thought out however.
      My more developed tripodal species is an invertebrate, and is radially symmetrical, meaning it's various limbs and appendages are evenly dispersed around a central, vertical axis. It head can articulate in any direction through a rolling motion (difficult to explain without pictures) so it doesn't have a front, at least not in a human sense.

      My other tripod isn't as well thought out, it's actually just more of a concept and I don't count it towards my 20 developed races. Basically it's a biped with a spine that is jointed rather than made up of articulated segments, forming a third, hind leg that protrudes from where it's spine would be.

  5. The Bolter is coming...I tried starting on it and it wasn't there...The next Weapons of Science fiction will be Bolters, I promise!
    Tripods! Love it!
    I am now thinking of doing an OUR ENEMIES on tripods...hmmm

  6. I also fell the Krogan should be on the list I would also add B5's Narn, but I want to take two off your list. The Cardassians and the Jem'hadar.

    yes they had Scaly skin but so do some species of Mammals like Armadillos,Pangolins, Elephants and Rhinoceros.
    In both cases Cardassian and Jem'hadar have humanoid hair.
    Now admittedly that is only one feature, but it's a critical one. Also in the case of the Cardassians we know that there females have mammaries. That it seems to me would be a key feature to indicate that there reproductive cycle includes production of milk for live young, a critical feature to indicate a Mammal.
    Now because of Cloning The Jem'hadar do not need sexes or milk other then white to feed there young. so they are a harder race to justify.
    Both my not be Mammals but rather closer to a Synapsid or proto-mammals or Marsupials creatures that combine multiple features of Reptiles and Mammals.

  7. Snakemen, most often accompanied by the chryssalid. Chryssalids murdered my entire squad more than once.

  8. I heavily debated including on the Krogan, the Narn. I nearly took off the Cardassians and the Jem'Hadar, but I wanted to make a point about them. Both the Narn and Krogan will appear in Proud Warrior Species.