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Alien-encounter Science Fiction involves the introduction of sentient alien beings into the actantial system of the fictional universe; one or more of the actants are nonhuman or superhuman or subhuman. By staging a confrontation between an alien actant and a terran representative, alien-encounter Science Fiction broaches the question of Self and the Other. The reader recuperates this fiction by comparing human and alien entities, measuring the Self by examining the Other. Alien encounters can be discriminated according to the extent to which the alien actant adheres to or departs from anthropocentric norms; in simple terms, we can distinguish between "human aliens" and "alien aliens." This article examines the nature of human aliens by analyzing Orson Scott Card's Ender trilogy, a work which theorizes and surveys possible sets of relations between terran and alien actants. It explores the problematics of alien aliens by looking at appropriate texts by Lem, Benford and Clarke.

Journal Name

Science Fiction Studies


Copyright Depauw University (publisher of Science Fiction Studies)