The Biggest Threat to Humanity? Black Goo

Of course you are I shouldn’t know that. You’re not supposed to know that you’re being mind-controlled, right now, by a self-replicating mutagenic xenosubstance that was initially sold to us as a key to the future. So the proof of its existence is hidden in the only place it can be hidden. It hides in science fiction.

This year alone, black goo, the sci-fi name for the scientific graphene oxide, has made its way into not one but two sci-fi shows. Dismissal i Westworld. Three if you count Strange things, where he was seen in previous seasons. These intertextual sightings and leaks—obviously sublimation of real-world torments—are too consistent to be coincidental. These are signs that cannot be ignored.

To begin with Westworld, the final season of which finds the robots in complete control of humanity. They accomplished this, the robot-in-chief indicates, using a combination of flies, parasites, and, yes, black nip. We see tubs of the stuff in a hidden lair, looking sickly. It appears to be the medium in which the parasites are grown, a throwback to the first major appearance of black goo in canon, the OG, the original Goo itself: the Purity Virus in The X files.

In the middle of season 3, you remember. French rescuers discover an alien ship deep in the ocean and mysteriously die, but a diving suit belonging to one of them is covered, Mulder discovers, with “some kind of oil.” (Black goo is variously known as black oil, black cancer, black bile, black blood, etc. All the same things.) It’s possible that the oil is, as he later puts it, “a medium used by creatures aliens for the body?-jump”? So far Westworld‘s callback takes it: black-goo-as-medium. But X files he knows the whole truth. Thanks to science-minded Scully, we learn in Season 5 that the Body Thief is some kind of “worm-like organism” that “attaches itself to the pineal gland.” Translation: Black goo isn’t just medium. He’s also a monster.

Sometimes the victims of black engooment X files survive, as long as things self-eject from the eyes and mouth safely, if violently. Not so much the victims alien franchise, which constitutes the most well-known modern manifestation of goo. As one of the franchise’s tie-in video games says, “Any living thing that comes into direct contact with the black pinch” — technically known, in this universe, as Chemical A0-3959X.91-15 — will either die horribly. , give birth to monsters, or become a monster themselves.” You see a lot of this loose, unrecoverable infection promise. Also in Raqqaa little-known short film by Neill Blomkamp, ​​where Sigourney Weaver leads the last storm in 2020 Texas against alien colonizers equipped with black weapons that can somehow control minds and obliterate buildings.

Obviously, the sci-fi disc isn’t perfectly clear about how black goo works; it is, by its very nature, impossible to understand. In Miyazaki’s films, it’s usually eco-horror; in Luc Besson lucy, is some sort of brilliant transhumanist supercomputing… thing. (Perhaps not so coincidentally, Scarlet Johansson, lucyLucy, also stars under the skinlike a drowning and man-eating alien in a sea of ​​black pinch.) In Dismissal, is more metaphorical, a visual symbol of the ways in which separate realities flow in and out of each other. The same goes for Strange things, where he is some kind of interdimensional intruder. The details, however, are a bit beside the point. The medium is the metaphor, the monster is the message, and the message is this: whatever the black pinch is, it’s alien, everywhere, and “the source of all evil on the planet.”

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