Fiction: 'The Girl on the Liar's Throne' (Extract) by Den Patrick
Weirdness Rodeo: Print/Bookstores/Reviewing/Blogging/Everything is Dead

Radio Drama: "First Contact" (1958)


"First Contact" first aired January 15, 1958, from the series Exploring Tomorrow. It is based on a novelette by Murray Leinster, first published in 1945.

Thoughts Before Listening

Aliens probably? It would cool if this weren't about aliens. It’s probably about aliens though.

Thoughts While Listening

There’s something so great about a sixties dude saying 'Now step into the incredible amazing future!'

But I also feel like saying 'dear Sixties dude! I speak to you from the future! It’s just ok!'

And we apparently have a guide to these adventures of the mind and his name is John Campbell Jr and he just said ‘earth ship’ instead of spaceship which is so adorable I can’t even tell you.

I think it’s starting now. Is that a dinner bell?

Something intense is happening so that was probably an alarm of some sort and not a dinner bell at all.

If I was on that ship right now, everyone would be doing appropriately alarming things and I would be having a sandwich.

A very emotionally-charged captain is asking for maximum magnification of something and this other guy is saying ‘Sorry sir max is max’ so the captain said ‘water it’ and I have no idea why he would have said this.

Maybe he said ‘quarter it’. That doesn’t make sense either though.

Maybe it made sense in 1958.

Now they are using their scanner which sounds like one of those ECG scanners they use in the movies when people are going to die.

Something is out there! Maybe it’s an enlarged spleen.

Why is the captain yelling so much? BE COOL CAPTAIN

So apparently something that is a monster in size is making lunatic dashes towards them at collision speeds.

‘Lunatic dashes’ sometimes makes me think of hyphens that have gone bananas. Not always though.

The captain has, for reasons best known to himself, chosen this moment to make a moving speech about space and life basically.

How do we know that’s an alien ship anyway? What if it’s just something floating around in space like Matthew McConaughey?

Or Matt Damon?

Or Gary Sinise?

Or George Clooney?

Hollywood has basically littered outer space with white dudes.

The captain is yelling again. He seems to be harbouring so much anger actually.

The captain just said, and I quote “Do you know Mr. Dort? With your sentimental, Pollyanna, slushpile that calls itself your brain?”


And it looks so much worse when it’s written down.

His name might not be Mr. Dort also.

So if I understand this correctly, this monster-sized alien ship is making the aforementioned lunatic dashes back and forth, back and forth thus creating a very entertaining visual image, if nothing else.

The captain has taken a breather from losing his marbles to expound upon import/export policies and cultural aesthetic models because why not.

Ok he just said the aliens may be nice on the surface and “underneath the tojo type”?

What is a tojo? Riddle me that google!

I’m scared to find out what tojo might mean, given that this was made in 1958. GOOGLE GIVE ME STRENGTH

Google did not give me any strength but it did tell me that tojo might refer to Hideki Tojo, tojo mushrooms or the tojo harlem wizards. It’s probably the first one but let’s pretend it’s the last one because that’s more fun.

Now they can finally see the alien ship and it appears to be bulbous and shaped like a pear.

When describing alien ships, the words ‘bulbous’ and ‘shaped like a pear’ are usually not the first words that spring to mind.

Though in Spaceballs the ship turned into a giant maid with a vacuum cleaner so what do I know.

And now they fired something that sounded uncannily like a firecracker and they have also referred to the bulbous pear-shaped alien ship as ‘he’ because idk.

OMG SO CUTE THERE IS AN AD maybe it’s for mayonnaise. Or cigarettes.

Freedom! America! This is definitely for cigarettes.

Oh it’s for voting. Make America great again you guys!

And now a very Rod Serling-like summary of the story so far which is helpful if you’ve not really been paying attention like me and I’m sorry.

The alien ship is sending modulated short wave signals. In the future, thanks to advancements in science and technology, we send out internets which allow us to look back on radio shows like this and say ‘lol short wave signals’.

So apparently the captain by law of space command can’t leave the ship which works out great for him. As a result, the extremely ill-used and sad-fated Mr. Dort now has to go out and meet the emissary of the bulbous pear shaped spaceship all by his lonesome.

I think the narrator just referred to the alien ship as a space orange, which is pretty great.

The emissary ship has a plate? With a light on it?

Literally picturing a dinner plate with the light of heaven glowing gently on it like a holy yam.

MEANWHILE! They have been standing off for weeks and weeks because I guess it takes a long time to figure out what it means when someone gives you a plate with a light on it.

And now they are thinking about communicating with this delicious yet nutritious alien ship and the captain wonders “How do we establish friendship without threat of treachery?” which I think was the exact same thing someone once posted on Facebook many moons ago, which just goes to show what a truly timeless question that is.

The aliens seem to be deaf and communicate via telepathy so Mr. Dort has created a mechanical translator because he is a smart cookie.

The captain is wondering what to say to them - SAY HAI!!! And don’t go bananas on them as is your wont.

These alien life forms apparently have irony which probs explains the bulbous pear-shaped spaceship I guess.

There has been talk of “friendly intercourse” BE SAFE YOU GUYS AND MAKE GOOD CHOICES

It is neat how advice about sex can also be advice about interacting with aliens.

“Look here out there whoever you are” and there it is. The best line from this show.

I have no idea what either of them is saying anymore.

They are swapping spaceships and crew and if anybody doesn’t like the idea the captain is going to break a blood vessel by golly.

They head for home once they can figure out how to work this alien ship! That doesn’t sound even remotely heartening but yay!

Some romantic music is playing, did they fall in love? Aw :)

Omg its over!!

What the actual fuck.

Thoughts After Listening

I feel really bad for Mr. Dort.