Alien computers from SF movies are a hot commodity. They are built to last, store any transgalactic mad scientist’s dream quantities of data, solve any problems they are approached with, and, unlike troublesome, albeit at times more colorful, supercomputers on Earth, they won’t turn on you when you know what hits the fan.
The only drawback is their size. As often as not, these computers are ginormous, so much so they occasionally make up a sizable chunk of a planet, which makes it a tad difficult to bring them home and place them on the living room table. However, if you manage to do it, I guarantee you’ll become a celebrity overnight as a bonus.
So before you embark on a great journey of exploration, knowledge gathering, and learning, you would have to travel a great distance, a light-year or two – after you’ve packed your family, dog and furniture, quit your job and, sigh, kissed your hobbies and pleasures goodbye.
But, this itsy-bitsy inconvenience would never discourage a serious user of such advanced and powerful technology, right?
After this brief introduction of alien computers’ enormous advantages, as well as tiny disadvantages, let’s take a peek at what kinds of alien computers there are in the science fiction movies…
In Santa Claus’s neighborhood, there is Superman’s Fortress of Solitude with its cool and unique supercomputer, which comes with mind-blowing extra features. These include interactive AI holograms and a coffin-like chamber that rises from the floor and uses the Red Sun’s radiation, in case the super guy decides to shed his superpowers and become a regular Joe.
You can depend on this piece of alien technology that came into being in a fashion that was nothing short of astounding.
One of the crystal shards, the green one, his father Jol-el sends along with Superman on the voyage to the Earth, guides our teenage hero to the perfect place on the North Pole. After the young man of steel throws it across the ice and it reaches the icy water, the glowing shard unzips itself into a beautiful example of the Kryptonian architecture – Fortress of Solitude which, among other things, boasts a bedroom with a king-size bed and, quite conveniently, the alien computer on hand.
The rest of the shards, the memory crystals, from the collection contain all the knowledge of the galaxy and interactive holographic recordings of Superman’s parents. These messages appear, with no need for keyboards or mouse, any time some of the memory crystals are placed in transparent tubes that emerge from the frozen crystalline structure. Extra cool thing is that Superman can talk with them, ask for advice, or seek an answer to a difficult question.
Honestly, I very much doubt they will ever put this icy gem on the computer market, but better well-informed than sorry.
One look at the whopping alien computer the Krell left behind and you can tell those guys thought big. These aliens had mysteriously disappeared long before the first settlers arrived on planet Altair 4, as we learn in Forbidden Planet.
The alien computer we see in the movie is a tip of “the cube of 20 miles on each side” which stretches 7100 levels below ground. This advanced technology is powered with thermonuclear reactors and its self-maintaining system keeps it in trim shape.
Besides library which contains all the knowledge the Krell possessed, which, by the way, Dr. Morbius, one of the settlers, uses to create Robby the robot, there is a plastic educator which can project a 3D image of person’s thoughts. Although Krell children used to play with it all the time to improve their mental abilities, this device can easily knock unconscious or even kill a human brave, or foolhardy, enough to try fiddling with it.
Sentient Alpha 60 is the proverbial black sheep (isn’t there one in every family?) among alien computers and it would fit in perfectly with the supercomputers on Earth. He has total control of the city of Alphaville and the people in it. Free thinking, poems, and words that provoke emotions are illegal in this dystopian society.
People who show emotions, which are declared illogical, are interrogated and executed. Rather a harsh penalty for a smile or a drop of tear.
Fortunately, this computer has weak spots. A few lines of poetry or a good riddle can bring Alpha 60 to its knees. Poetic justice, one may say.
Who can forget the ultimate computer, *the size of a little town*, from the movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
Deep Thought is built by the pan-dimensional, highly-intelligent beings to seek the answer to the question, which, apparently, makes every creature in the universe tick:
“The Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything”.
Deciphering the answer, which took over 7 and a half million years to work out, would drive a member of any species nuts. So the computer’s creators build an even bigger, more powerful computer. Guess what they named it!
Interocitor from the movie This Island Earth is something more than a simple computer. It has 2486 components and assembling this alien machine is an IQ test in itself. Aliens from planet Metalunan recruit well-known scientists for their research projects sending them all the necessary parts along with a blueprint. If they manage to construct this alien machine they pass the test.
Interocitor can be used for all sorts of tasks: as a telecommunications and surveillance device or to pilot aircraft. It can be upgraded with voltarator, astroscope, and electron sorter (it sounds great, but I wish if someone could explain what these upgrades are supposed to do).
Dr. Cal Meacham in the movie This Island Earth gives another example of the computer’s tremendous potential: “Laying a four-lane highway at the rate of a mile a minute would be a cinch.”