The ‘70s marked an experimental time in popular art. The hippie era was dying out right around the same time that the old studio bosses were retiring. Concept rock albums and high-concept popular movies both took over their charts and kept the sight and soundscape sharp and surprising.
George Lucas’ 1977 re-creation of the swashbuckling sci-fi serials of the ‘30s took the name of Star Wars and was an instant hit that remains unprecedented in its popularity to this day.
Star Wars employed a realistic, scratched and dusty “used future”.
Ridley Scott was influenced by Star Wars to create his own “used future” for his “Space Truckers” to inhabit.
The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950)
book A. E. van Vogt’s space opera anthology
Chapters in Space Beagle include depictions of an inhuman extraterrestrial infiltrating the Beagle and hunting the crew as well as another alien implanting parasitic eggs within the bodies of the Beagle‘s crew that, upon hatching, eat their way out of their human hosts.
The book can be roughly divided into four sections corresponding to the four short stories on which it was based.
In the third section, the ship comes across the Ixtl, a scarlet being floating in deep space. It is the vicious sole-survivor of a race that ruled the universe before the Big Bang that signaled the creation of our own universe. Ixtl boards the ship, kidnapping several crew members in order to implant parasitic eggs. It is eventually outsmarted and defeated, at the cost of great casualties among the crew, both in lives and morale lost.
Van Vogt filed a plagiarism lawsuit against 20th Century Fox. The suit had enough warrant for Fox to reach a financial settlement with van Vogt out of court. Meanwhile, O’Bannon denied any Beagle influence.
Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials is a 1979 science fiction book by artist Wayne Barlowe, with Ian Summers and Beth Meacham
It contains his visualizations of different extraterrestrial life forms from various works of science fiction, with information on their planetary location or range, biology, and behaviors, in the style of a real field guide for animals.
It describes Ixtl - A. E. van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle.
O'Bannon drafted an opening in which the crew of a mining ship are sent to investigate a mysterious message on an alien planet. He eventually settled on the threat being an alien creature; however, he could not conceive of an interesting way for it to get onto the ship.
O'Bannon (who died in 2009) went on to write the script for Alien, but what wasn't widely known is that he suffered from Crohn's disease, a debilitating digestive disorder. "The digestion process felt like something bubbling inside of struggling to get out."- Dan O'Bannon
- Dan O’Bannon (describing the imagery in Alien)"One thing that people are all disturbed about is sex... I said 'That's how I'm going to attack the audience; I'm going to attack them sexually. And I'm not going to go after the women in the audience, I'm going to attack the men. I am going to put in every image I can think of to make the men in the audience cross their legs. Homosexual oral rape, birth. The thing lays its eggs down your throat, the whole number.’”