Alien Profile: The Monoliths

They go by many names, but usually given by other races with whom they’ve come in contact, and usually either related to their appearance or the impact they’ve had on the life forms there. On Earth, they became known as the Monoliths.

2001monodesertThe Monoliths, in their present state, came into being a mere 0.0000000000012 seconds after the most recent Brane Convergence (known locally as the Big Bang). Some suspect their present state is due to the actions of some beings in one of the former branes that converged to create this universe, who specifically engineered some aspect of the universal convergence to create them as soon as universally possible. Even the Monoliths can only theorize on their origin, or in how many former universi they may have existed in some form.

The Monoliths are a substrate of temporo-organic quantum foam that extend their presences physically through at least seven dimensions, and psychically, temporially or pseudo-hypothetically through the rest, and derive their nourishment from the bleeds between the boundary layers of each dimension. In the three dimensions of reality that humans can perceive, their shape is a uniform solid with the dimensions of 1x4x9, a coincidental mathematical progression (12x22x32) that has kept Mankind debating its significance for decades. Their status as a “life-form” is debatable by some, since they seem not to be 100% organic; but scientists also admit that they don’t know enough about their dimension-spanning structure to be able to make an absolute determination.

Nothing is known about the motivations or beliefs of the Monoliths; all that is known is derived from their actions, which have been dedicated to the development of Life in all its forms. Monoliths will often protrude into a location where life has been detected, and begin to edit the life form or its environment to prompt significant development. Thanks to their existence in all dimensions, they are able to manipulate reality itself, down to a quantum level. Many life forms, upon examining their past history, have discovered that a Monolith may have been responsible (by assumption of being present) during a significant period of their development. Other planets where life has died off have been examined, and in many cases, signs of the protrusion of a Monolith have been detected, suggesting they may have had something to do with that life’s demise.


Cosmologists can only guess if the Monoliths are consciously trying to engineer improvements to life forms, if they are choosing which life forms should live or die, or if there is a specific goal in mind. They may be what philosopher Hazult T’Chen calls “blind chaos” machines, which exist solely to change things and witness the results. It’s possible that the Monoliths already know the outcome of their actions, or are manipulating life in order to create changes in their future reality, in an effort to create a future utopia (or future chaos). Perhaps they are trying to prepare some life form(s) for the next brane convergence, in order to guarantee the creation of their own next iteration.

It has also been suggested by the theorist Huraby Din Deo that the Monoliths may in fact be the agents of another life form… possibly being manipulated to do their bidding, much as humans use dogs to assist in the hunt. But as no human who’s approached a Monolith has ever given the impression of having received any communication from it, its motives or methods are impossible to determine.

Article written by Steven Lyle Jordan.

Steven is the author of the successful “The Kestral Voyages” series, “Verdant Skies“, and many other popular works of fiction. He regularly blogs both here at SciFi Ideas and on his own blog.

  • That one truly and fundamentally impressed me at so many levels you could call it “multi-dimensional” so to speak.

    Steven obviously took A.C.Clark’s vague and never defined concept and put his own spin to it. Married it with the latest concepts of theoretical physics (many not even theories — but recently postulated concepts) and turned it in an Alien concept Stephen Hawkins or “Sheldon Cooper” could have mailed to Alien August.

    It is also very commendable (IMHO) to go beyond the standard Big Bang theory and mention the evolution of that theory as the Brane Convergence.

    Steve and I might be at the opposite on the political spectrum as previous exchanges seemed to highlight, but that does take an Iota away from my opinion that he is a brilliant writer and conversationalist.

  • John Hawkins

    “Monoliths will often protrude into a location where life has been
    detected, and begin to edit the life form or its environment to prompt
    significant development” I like to think these Monoliths are like the Preservers in Star Trek in that they seem to be trying to spread life throughout the universe. It could be interesting for a short story to revolve around discovering that these monoliths caused the first symbiogenesis (the event in which bacteria obtained mitochondria, allowing them to divide and spread much more rapidly, paving the way for multi cellular evolution.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    Strange.. I always thought that the Monoliths were some form of machine. It’s weird to see them be portrait in an article of SciFi Ideas as a interdimensional artificial (?) lifeform. 0.o’

  • Because to paraphrase a Star Trek Line :”Life as we know it.” Steven described life as we “don’t know it” but still stayed very much within the boundaries of …well that is the wrong word..within speculative physics, in particular theoretical physics and Planck ..or more commonly called Quantum physics.
    Please understand that Quantum physics is a Theory (a very likely one with lots of evidence) but it is a Theory never the less.
    Of course there is a difference between a scientific theory and Grandma Betty’s theory about why it always rains when grandpa Joe feels his nose itch. And even a postulated hypothesis (as in Quantum foam) is still based on equations that do one thing rather well (they equate)
    Steven’s entry has some parallels with one of my core species “The Narth” but really elegantly waved the above mentioned hypothesis and several concepts of theoretical physics into a truly Alien concept using the never explained or defined monoliths of 2001 and 2010,
    Of all the Aliens presented his is truly the most alien as it can’t use our understanding of life at all

  • this one should win the competition, full stop.

    • even though it isn’t an entry, It’s just too good to ignore as at least an honourable mention.

      • I’ll definitely be mentioning it in the upcoming podcast, but it’s not eligible for the competition because it’s technically not an original idea. It’s certainly an original take on the monoliths, but the monoliths aren’t Steven’s creation.
        (OK, so he doesn’t specifically mention the events of the movie, but it’s pretty obvious.)