Is there a link between a scene in “Alien: Sea of Sorrows” and a scene in part 2 of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy? I think so, or perhaps I hope so.
I’m listening to and rather enjoying the Audible Original “Alien: Sea Of Sorrows”. Beyond being a good story (along with its related titles such as “Out Of The Shadows” and “River Of Pain”), the audio genre is new to me - rather than just being a narration, it’s a full-on audio action experience. Definitely recommended.
Anyway, in Chapter 2, Rawlins, Morris and someone else is inspecting the Deep Space Mining Orbital spaceship “Marion”, destroyed in unusual circumstances (in “Out Of The Shadows”, actually).
Closely examining a fragment of the ship, the dialogue between the characters goes something like this:
… “OK, looks like a section from a docking arm.”
Morris: “Bay three docking arm from the DSMO Marion, to be exact.”
Rawlins: “You can tell which docking bay this came from? Is it that obvious?!”
Morris: “No, there’s a serial number on the end plate.”
There’s a lovely contrast between how impressed Rawlins is, and how Morris’s response is honest and matter-of-fact, and how it conveys an almost but not quite imperceptible playfulness on the part of the author, Dirk Maggs. Because it reminded me of another passage, from my favourite series of all time, Douglas Adams’s Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, in particular the original radio series from the late 1970s. In Part 2, or rather “Fit the Second”, there’s this exchange between Arthur and Ford, who have just been picked up from open space and found themselves inside the Heart of Gold spaceship:
Ford: “I think this ship is brand new, Arthur.”
Arthur: “How can you tell? Have you got some exotic device for measuring the age of metal?”
Ford: “No, I just found this sales brochure lying on the floor.”
Again, there’s the banality of the answer which wonderfully contrasts with alternative and potentially amazing explanations.
I can’t help but think that the conversation on DSMO Marion is somewhat of a small homage to this classic exchange.