To boldly go…
Aliens. Are they naked?

Or: why those strange new civilisations are dressed.

I’m a science fiction fan. I dare say that some of my books are witness to that. Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Logan’s Run (for those who are old enough to remember that), Avatar, they appeal to me.

Star Trek

Long running series, beloved by many. Lots of alien species, some wearing the bare minimum of clothes or coverings, but none of them have ever been truly nude, unless they were from a species that shows nothing. On the contrary, even. The more alien the species, the more elaborate their wardrobe appears to be.

Ferengie, Star Trek.

Star Wars

Princess Leia Cosplay

The Star Wars universe dares to take things a bit further, by being more revealing. (Image on the right.)

Alas, this is not the kind of nudity I am referring to. This is just another way to attract more viewers, by giving them “more to view”.

On the other hand, like here on the left, there is the absolute opposite: even creatures where any ‘indecent nudity’ is entirely impossible to see, can wear some kind of clothing.


Neytiri, Na’vi

Even in Avatar, which deals with a species that is so connected to nature as the Na’vi, there are ‘decorations’ in place to keep the ‘delicate parts’ from being seen.

Yes, of course, all for the peace of mind and the gentle, unspoilt souls of the cinema-goers.

To me this is so unreal. If ‘we’ ever make it out of this solar system, through whatever technological breakthrough, I doubt we’re going to encounter a lot of species that wear clothes for their ‘modesty’.

Civilised people are mad, I tell you. I’m glad my stories can be less so.

7 thoughts on “To boldly go…”

  1. Paul, I’m sure I speak for many when I affirm that I, too, am glad your stories can eschew those wacky alien “modesty” conventions / adaptations. I suppose it does beg the question, though – clothing has always been a part of what we call “culture” even if only to protect from the elements or identify tribe and status. Potentially, alien cultures might have the same need for clothing… BUT your clever solutions to providing for those necessities (temperature, status or identity) are great for showing that they can almost always be accommodated without clothing!

    1. Thanks, Will.
      In the Mirror Earth stories there are references to clothing as well, for the places that are too cold. I think that is one of the best reasons to put something on. Not feeling well/warm is stupid if you can fix that. 🙂

  2. Heinlein had casual nudity in quite a few of his stories. He also co-founded a nudist camp in Colorado ( which is still in existence). A 1960’s article in a nudist magazine written by Forrest J Ackerman was entitled
    “Brave New World” and addressed science fiction and nudism. Ackerman also was a nudist. Many sf writers are closet or public nudists.

  3. John Hoyt, who played the Enterprise doctor in the first Star Trek pilot, was a very public nudist.

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