Space Invaders

By | September 20, 2010

Invasion by aliens from outer space has been a long-term and poplar theme for Hollywood, TV programmes, science fiction and the popular press. No problem with that, apart from the popular press, but it’s interesting to see that in the majority of cases, there’s usually a sinister, hostile or universe-domination theme to the invasion. None of this, “hi there, we’re your new neighbours and we wondered if we could borrow a cup of sugar”. So if indeed we were confronted by visitors from outer space, what social, or anti-social form would it take? – a question we may have all pondered upon at some impressionable or inebriated stage of our lives.
But what if I was to say that the aliens have already landed? Whilst we were all distracted by, and innocently speculating on the wonders of crop circles, the first invasion from elsewhere in the universe actually took place in Scandinavia. An advance party from the previously unknown planet Ikea managed to land a huge, box-like, blue and yellow (uggh!) spacecraft in a sparsely populated region of Sweden and quietly set about a process of world domination. The construction of the spacecraft is unlike anything seen previously, with a maze-like series of interconnecting spaces filled with strangely shaped objects that appear to be made from a variety of non-terrestrial substances. Some observers believe the material to have similar properties to wood, although this is far from universally accepted. Close examination of the method of construction reveals that the objects are formed from flat panels of the material, which are held together by intricate, obscurely shaped, metallic-like fixings.
A number of research institutes have been examining these objects following the recent discovery of a set of diagrammatic instructions that illustrates the method of construction. However, the discovery raises a number of anthropological questions about the planet Ikea and its inhabitants. Firstly, the Ikean language; there are no known recordings of Ikean conversations, and the few examples of Ikean literature that have been examined seem to imply a heavy dependence on visual communication. Instructions for assembling Ikean objects are generally conveyed as a sequence of diagrams with no narrative. Linguists argue that this implies a progressive move away from the spoken word, and leads to speculation that the Ikean language either contains a number of incompatible dialects that presents a challenge to communication on Ikea, or that the Ikean invasion strategy takes into account the need to avoid translating Ikean into multiple different languages, thus simplifying the task of integration in different regions of the planet Earth.
Despite the heavy dependence on visual communication, the Ikeans do seem to favour the identification of their objects by means of specific words. For most inhabitants of the planet Earth, these words are almost unpronounceable. Although the work is far from complete, the early indications are that the Ikean language consists of an abbreviated alphabet of 14 letters: SvKkTaRsGoFIBV. Words may be formed by combining of a subset of any number of these letters, and unusually, the order in which they are combined does not seem to have any particular relevance. Indeed, there is some speculation that the word in itself is largely meaningless, and that it is the symbolic nature of the individual characters that is representative of meaning.
Another area of Ikean life that is proving of great interest is gastronomy. It would appear that the staple diet of Ikeans is a fatty, protein-based material formed into pellet-like shapes. The source of the material in unknown. Food scientists and nutritionists have so far been unable to explain how such a restricted diet can sustain health, and some have even gone so far as to speculate that the Ikean mission has a nutritional objective. Reports that Ikean food pellets are being served with potatoes in some of the spacecraft may lend credence to this hypothesis. So could it be that there is a nutritional crisis on the planet Ikea, and the purpose of the mission is to find alternative food sources?
Since the initial landing in Scandinavia, there are increasing reports of further landings of Ikean spacecraft all around the world. In the UK, the first landing was made at the strategically important location of Neasden, where crowds now flock in their thousands to explore the inner cavities of the spacecraft. To all intents and purposes, these invaders seem to have come in peace. But doubts remain in some quarters. The progressive influx of Ikean objects into our homes has caused some doubters to speculate whether there is a sinister master plan in which, at a predetermined time, a signal from the planet Ikea may trigger an instantaneous decomposition of these mysterious Ikean objects, either through some cellular transformation of the strange wood-like material, or possibly by means of an ultra-low frequency signal that causes the metallic-like fitting to vibrate and loosen. The simultaneous collapse of billions of Ikean objects could only be measured on an Uber-Richter scale and would undoubtedly lead to a total collapse of western civilisation.
So. peaceful invasion?; world domination?; the destruction of western civilisation as we know it? Their objective may be unknown, but there can be no doubt that they have landed.

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