Chapter 8

The Media

Up until today I had always assumed that what the media didn't know, they made up. If that really was the case, then today every television, radio and newspaper company must have had access to every last known fact about the alien arrival. There wasn't a single paper that hadn't printed dozens of pictures of the aliens and their ship by Sunday afternoon. Every television station continued to devote much of their programming to covering the unexpected arrival. Today all our questions were answered. For once no-one seemed to be hiding anything. The eyes of the world were focussed on Thatcham.

I'd expected to hear stories about three-eyed monsters, about the aliens eating cats or people or each other, or that the pilot of their ship had turned out to be Elvis. But there was nothing. In the hundreds of articles to be read, web-sites to be hit, sound-bites to be heard and television reports to be watched there didn't seem to be anything that didn't sound like the complete, direct, unbiased and unequivocal truth. From the broadsheets to the tabloids, the cheap talk-shows to Prime Minister's question time, everyone dealt with the subject of the alien's arrival in a cool, calm and collected manner. Sensationalism was put to one side and replaced, to my complete and utter amazement, with honesty, acceptance and understanding.

It became harder not to learn facts about the aliens than to learn. There didn't seem to be any barriers to our knowledge - no hurdles to overcome before the truth was obtained. For once all reporting was undertaken without bias or unnecessary emotion. Silently, and without anyone noticing, the fantasy of science-fiction had become the reality of science-fact.

The streets of Thatcham were heaving with reporters, journalists, anchormen and women and correspondents. Every day the village was crammed with thousands upon thousands of unfamiliar but good-natured people, each of them clamouring to get closer to the centre of it all - to get closer to the aliens.

A month ago all of this would have seemed laughably implausible and unbelievable. Today, though, it's accepted. There's no debate and no question. The aliens are here and things are never going to be the same again.

Everyone tells me that's a good thing.


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