If aliens want to bypass governments and reach all humans at once, they would be well-advised to land a craft in the United States. Why? Our mass media system guarantees swift coverage and worldwide reach.
The scenario is this: an alien civilization decides it wants to say hello to humans. They don’t want to deal with any one particular government, to avoid political entanglements. So, they decide to leverage the news media to make First Contact. The process would be quite simple, at least on the surface. They could simply land their alien-looking craft (the more alien-looking the better) near a medium to larger city in the United States. The size of the city is important for only one reason: the size of the television market. The bigger the television market the more resources and better technology available to TV news stations. News operations in small markets don’t have helicopters, satellite trucks and dedicated fiber lines to the network. Larger television markets do. All of those tools are critical for fast response. Why does fast response by the media matter? It’s a question of who would drive the event- the media or the authorities. If the TV media has access to live pictures immediately, television stations would stay with the story. If that craft was to land the media would be there quickly and that would establish a transparent nature of the event immediately. Needless to say, if authorities drive the response they may want to keep the media at bay, thus losing the leverage such coverage could provide. It’s important to attract media attention quickly and help them to arrive at the scene before law enforcement can take over.
What happens then? Well, that would be up to the aliens. Perhaps a news conference? The local media coverage would go national within an hour if the event is dramatic enough (probably much quicker if the pictures are good). A short time later the international media would pick up on the story. Within just an hour or two of landing a craft near a large city in the United States aliens could have access to a large section of humanity via the news media. If they moved quickly enough they could perhaps even make their first welcome without government agencies taking control.
This scenario is featured in my new science fiction novel “The Ashland City Landing”. Alex Morrison has made a new friend on the Internet. It’s a relationship that could drive his wife and friends half-crazy and that’s if federal agents and newspaper reporters don’t blow it wide open before the big moment. Can Alex hold it all together before The Ashland City Landing?
The Ashland City Landing is a sometimes-funny, sometimes-serious, science fiction novel about the practicalities of meeting space aliens and having to save the world from itself and also perhaps those very same aliens. Alex fights to keep his sanity, while concocting an introduction that will change the course of human civilization. He’s being pursued by a journalist desperate for a cover story. Alex’s best friend is a real ass and sometimes his psychologist. Alex’s wife does her best to be the Southern belle, but that’s not going too well. And yet he needs them both to pull it off. Along the way Alex enlists help from a burned-out astrophysicist and meets federal agents who are definitely not amused.
The Ashland City Landing is available in printed and Kindle electronic format through Amazon USA, Amazon Europe affiliates and through Nook at Barnes and Noble.