Rather they will look humanoid - and want our women - or look crazy/weird but still want our women!  I'm writing this to SPIT in the faces of the "Zombie" article attacking tropes of classic science fiction that keeps appearing...
-Disclaimer - no direct disrespect intended to who I'm obviously joking about - but that is the article I've seen in so many places - and it is my impression reading from said magazine.  One man's opinion, fair use and parody cited. I grew up with that - the late “new wave” and deconstructionist era of sci-fi.   At the time it made sense and yes some kooky tropes that evovled from science fiction seemd a bit wonky.  Worlds with one biome, culture, religion, race…unlikely when you thought about it.  My fav - though it was from a parody sci-fi - had a world where the main species had to talk its predators out of eating them, looked much like snakes and so the whole planet were lawyers… However, while it is good when a genre matures to take a look at itself, even some shake-up/break- downs for experimentation the “new wave” in science fiction never really ended.  Ancient publishers shot themselves in the foot trying to ram diversity, going “Woke” in more modern terms, spitting on the core audience, ignoring or mocking the new audience that Star Wars sent to them.  And now we have dumb, nihilistic and ‘realistic’ sci-fi domininat.  Aren’t we a bit sick of “Alien” like stuff with bored corporate worker slaves waiting for some alien (or other outside, unstoppable force like a disease or war) to whack ‘em standing around bored?  Kind a too much like real life and depressing. The original movie was brilliant, and a byproduct of the failing of Jodorowsky’s “Dune”, but it should have been the exception, not the rule. This article is about the “Humanoid ET’s” one of sci-fi’s most Zombie attacked tropes.  This is what I will focus on and argue is not the case nor will be the case if or I think WHEN man goes to the stars.
First, yes it can be a ‘cheap’ shot for a humanoid ET.  Especially in decades before modern computer graphics.  Much easier to put makeup, elf ears, antennae, paint on an actor make up a quick backstory.  "The Zen-Gotians are reknowened for their Zen Gardens and Brush painting..."  Easy to accuse a tv show with a shoestring budget and reluctant network executives looking for ANY excuse to pull the plug.  By all means, shame on them to in the 60s with a shoestring not break the budget first issue for something that would have failed to impress some snark who’ll find fault regardless in the 1990s…  And said show DID a few times, thank you, let's add even the minimally appearing 'humanoid ETs' had huge backstories that fit well into the larger plot. Then, the “one culture, one planet” - Planet Zorbil-9 where the people are farmers..  Planet Gorkor-10 where the species are scientists…  Yeah - usually in cartoon, comic, comedy much more than more serious science fiction.  Works brilliantly in "Ambassador of the Shadows" a Valerian comic.  But I think that when the space-travel era comes there still could be stereotypes even if not 100% true.  Imagine say some “crystal” that is a catalyst to make anti-matter, needed for high energy space travel engines and the now actually possible “Warp drive”?  If there is an asteroid belt or Cthonic world with high concentrations of this odd substance, YES the natives would mostly be miners.  Not all of them, but a 'mining culture' they'd have association.  Even if a lady that works in the “Massage Parlor” didn’t choose that as her vocation, she probably could operate a laser drill and robo-assist digger like most Americans could use a lawn mower or car due to association.  Same with the
Doctor she goes to get spraying to avoid “Space Crabs” and keep her contraceptive implants stable, if he’s not brand new on the mining station he probably knows a lot about the profession and will learn rapidly if an immigrant just to not walk out the airlock or venture into a cavern an automated mining machine might crush him. So while “Everyone on planet … is a ….” is ridiculous, a science fiction world of rapid space travel we’ll have worlds that do specialize and many travellers/other worlds do think this and say this and the stereotypes become true.  I'm from a rural area and though I'm a "City" person by most local standards when I've travelled or had visitors from urban areas they are amazed at my wilderness skills and I've gone "Uh...thanks...!?"  Can't ride a horse, the one time I tried...  But most will come up to be petted/fed by me. But the real issue is non-humanoid ETs…  Uh, did the “Journalists” who keep writing this “Zombie attack” article have a space ship and travel around, seeing  a few dozen other worlds and encountering few if any humanoid ET’s?  While it doesn’t assure it that the dominant species is Human on this world it does argue it. First to move around - once things get onto land, bilateral symmetry is the norm.  It’s not impossible for a creature to have multiple axis - like a sea anenome which manages to hold its water and get more mobile to escape fish that grow immune to its stinger and might want to eat birds or bird chicks.  Why don’t we have those?  They DO eat them (carrion) if in the water, why not start ambling around and attacking things on beaches?  Because what works in the water doesn’t on land.  Water you have bouyancy to make movement easier - why shipping is still the cheapest way to move things around.  On land you need more energy and less weight but more muscles - an additional ‘axis’ would not help movement but increase the cost in food/bodymass needed.  Nearly everything on land and air, from insect to avian is bilateral.  Much of the ocean also.  Only things that don’t move that much, plants, stationary ocean animals like Anenome, sponges tend to have multilateral symmetry.  With plants it's the "Golden Ratio" - if you check how their leaves grow up their stems it matches Phi... Then, why two hands and legs, not six or seven?  Again surface area, cost in food/energy/mass.  Insects often have multiple limbs but square/cube - it is more helpful at that level.  Above that the bilateral symmetry is everywhere.  It is nearly the same skeleton/body type just morphed to wild differences… BUT - what about ‘Another World’...? Surely stuff would be different there?  And if some other type of animal grew dominant, then the evolution would be based on it, right?  Uh, look up "Convergent Evolution" where creatures absolutely unrelated to each other look so much alike it almost takes genetic testing to tell them apart.  If there's a "niche" - like herbivore, predator that feeds on herbivore, scavanger that takes carrion from predator and herbivore's deaths...something will find it and quick in the scheme of things.  Even if we have squids that evolve to walk on land, from a distance they'll look much like animals we know.  Not exactly and much respect to the wonderful world of "Speculative Zoology" but I
don't think things have to be always so wild as to be near unrecognizable. I certainly think there are creatures out there that are not humanoid and truly “Alien”. Perhaps you’ve seen paintings of jellyfish inspired floater creatures?  Such as in the endless atmosphere of planets like Jupiter and Saturn?  Or completely oceanic creatures that might exist under the ice in Europa, akin to things that really do exist in deep ocean trenches and probably would have if Earth was a frozen over planet around such a world or floating Steppenwolf through the void. I’ll go a step further…. --old pic I did a long time ago, when I first got Zbrush…
And, please forgive - I’m more a storyteller than an artist… Imagine the first seconds of the universe…  A period of the first second. What could happen there, besides everything?  But a bit too slow for life to evolve, develop civilization and then video games, right?  Nope.  In that time period the ‘clock’ was set on the Femtosecond - a period so quick that if it were a real second not a quarter of the time has gone by to make one of our seconds.  Imagine some form of life, from high energy concentrations that forms in the hyper-dense subatomic soup - that "Second" before matter erupts being again an eternity much longer than our universe as we know it from that first second to ten times after the last constructed generation of perfect red dwarf stars fade out and the larger black holes start to begin evaporating...  Imagine all that universe, in less than the size of a baseball, all the countless civilizations, types of life, reiligions, dramas, civilizations - perhaps an ascension? I had that in a dream, near two decades ago.  Just an impression of this universe, hot baking energy far denser than billions of suns, so dense life had to 'flow' from one place to another...  And knowledge of their inevitable end as their universe grew colder and larger.  So perhaps this universe was 'tweaked' by intelligent life in the first second?  So they'd have places to go - time was an open book then, easy to 'flow' forwards - and they'd go into places like the liquid metallic hydrogen of Jupiter like worlds, which along with red dwarf stars and plenty of brown dwarf stars ready to be combined (in the far future) by other life for suns into 'perfect' red dwarf planets.
To them this universe is vast as the air in space and as cold, even the liquid metallic hydrogen at the core of Jupiter which is hotter than the surface of the sun.  But life at least exists in what would seem to them a near-eternity where time is the only  thing in abundance. I've heard - from the eastern literature side- that in the world of the Gods, the greater universe upon which this one is akin to a bubble of froth at the edge of a giant ocean that they measure time in the form of the "Kalpa"  That is a unit of measurement so vast that the best analogy is to take a 1 mile wide block of granite and have it rubbed once with a silk cloth every century.  It would be worn down to a pebble long before a Kalpa has passed. Just a dream - but I'm sure there are creatures totally non-human, non-organic, nothing like us even in our own universe.  And we might meet them as much as
Liquid Metallic Hydrogen in the super-conductive, super-fluid cores of Gas Giant planets and Brown Dwarfs.  Perhaps these hold truly alien intelligences that are inheritors from the first instant?
possible and communicate with them to a point, though they'd be truly "Alien" and us to them. HOWEVER - this late post, post new wave garbage?  When it comes down to it, what WILL you be sitting next to at the "Space Cantina"?  Will it be a crab like thing in a tank that keeps 30 atmospheres and ice cold, or will it be a kooky Reptillian bounty hunter looking for this space maverick that's got the Emperor's left hand kind of PO'd because of a loose association with his lost son?   Will it be an Ansiable (instant FTL communication) connected robot showing something like a firey jellyfish from the local star, or will it be a fat slug-like creature that has arms and a face with "underworld" connections giving you cards for his slavery business - hot humanoid women with sexy tail growths on their heads in different degrees of training, skin tone and attractiveness? Joking at sci-fi I love, what I am saying is it doesn't matter if 99.99% of extraterrestrial life turns out to be non-humanoid.  We will associate with, fight with, ally with, play cards with and drink with - even have SEX with - those that are mostly "Humanoid" in appearance.  Maybe Turtles evolved this world, Lions into "BearCats" - or rather strange twists for older races though Humans do look close enough to monkeys to see a resemblance.  We will want the same worlds to inhabit.  We will likely eat similar foodstuffs and even if our tastes/metabolism are different (vegetarian, carnivore, omnivore, specialized...) we'll use the same enviornments to live in or terraform to be like our homeworlds.  We will have a culture that came from creatures trying to survive as part of a larger ecosystem then transcending our "Animal" roots and evolving, ascending to technology and space-travel.  We will have many of the same interests, music, art, philosiphy - perhaps some will be more artistic, others will hate music, others be great gourmads while their neighbors eat bland paste - but we will be similar enough to understand each other.
If explorers in space encounter a "Boltzman Brain" or some kind of interstellar energy creature - well hopefully they'll be OK with each other, no harm, talk a bit - but then they'll move on.  The space-energy brain will run through the universe, perhaps looking for another like it to truly understand it.  The humanoid ET's will go to the "Space Bar" on the
"Space Station" and watch the green skinned dancing lady (or squid lady who appears pretty to everyone somehow...?) and drink similar drinks, play some kind of space game, etc. Oh, yeah - and Aliens WILL "Want our Women" so watch out... Toss them the misnadrist, militant "SJW"s...  Uh, though that might be toxic and start an interstellar war when some Space Emperor gets sick and dies when his "Mate# 1,000,001 - Earth" makes him sick... No, let me elaborate on that and while I spit on "Political Correctness" I try to keep my stories and stuff R rated at worst though IMO most would be PG-13 if movies... (assuming no bias/corruption by ratings board)  I am all for wild speculation on if a critter has Zero (parthongenises) genders, Hermaphroditic or more than two...  And I think, given a wide universe and very large amount of time from our perspective till heat death era we'll see
all of it.  However, I think the "Two Gender" option will work out the most.  Why?  Because it's a way to ensure rapid evolution in creatures that take a long time to reproduce.  Usually more males, males need to prove themselves somehow as more adapted or better able to survive and then are able to mate more often.  I said "More often" won't give a lecture on biology here.  Females need to be able to bear children and otherwise do their part.  Now we can have variants on this, women like bees with one producing, men kept for seed, or other gender roles - lots already done in sci-fi and room for more.  But two genders greatly increases vulnerability (the need for another) in reproduction and also has something to force it - that repeated "Incest" breeding in a direct parent/child line or sibling line creates genetic damage (by doubling negative traits) thus requiring a spread. Again this is to increase the speed of genetic adaptability.  A type of Moth can stand to have 5% of its population be born ready to die (dark versus light so stick out and are eaten) - but if a volcano, asteroid, fires, or soot from industrieal chimneys covers the landscape the smaller percentage becomes dominant briefly...  Crocodiles can have a good number of infants being albino so they are ripped apart when too small to defend themselves and the others grow large enough to do the same to those that killed their siblings.  Humans (and most other placentals) can't.  Too much time, effort, energy is invested in slow growing creatures that need a high survivability rate and a death is a severe loss.  A population that needs several tribes constantly roaming around...  We almost went extinct, down to 10,000 people or less after a volcano 100K back I think...  Likewise Cheetas will likely go extinct because of hunting and a bottleneck - they are too speedy versus strong and their prey is adapting along with their parasites (hyenas) to take advantage of them being able to kill easily but be too tired to defend themselves. Now, why not THREE sexes or TEN? Why is that needed?  Two already is a huge sacrifice needed to keep constant evolution despite slow reproductive rate.  A third would compound it like two or three sets of extra arms, an extra third 'side' to the body...but what extra would it give in terms of genetic variance to things with long lifespans and high cost/time raising a spawn to vitality?  Now, don't let me be a "Captain Bring-down" to any budding sci-fi writers who might read this...by all means if you want three sided critters with five sexes - DO IT...  Just try to think of ways/reasons for it...  Rip that pilot's seat and throw it out the window if the cheapskate interplanetary league doesn't allow enough fuel and you have unexpected extra cargo...find a way! But, while unlike the energy patterns that live in the liquid metallic hydrogen in gas giant planets we might see a "Tripod" at the "Space Bar" - I think by far we'll have creatures with two sexes and close to the male/female issues we do have. Furthermore, I won't get into the mechanics and make this beyond R-rated but yes I think the "Plumbing" will be similar enough even if we can't reproduce we'll have plenty of cross species ....fun... which will make religious and moralist parasites on either side scream with rage...  And, well F--- them, peace and love, baby! Again "Aliens will want our women" and hopefully we'll want theirs... I mean, referring to one of the most popular Sci-Fi (more fantasy in sci-fi background) series - (pre-Disney) - wouldn’t it be nice to get one of those ladies with tails on their heads?  ‘Course if I brought one back with a leash on in RL some close relatives/friends/family would probably go nuke on me and take her aside and turn her into a militant feminist to show me for behaving that way - and rightly so.  But if the big slug guy lusts after the space princess then fair’s fair. So, enough with the modern "Nihilism" and the same "Zombie Article" that only throws fecal matter at true classics of science fiction and storytelling without real thought.  As always I am loyal to a good story, not treacly “Politically Correct” garbage thrown by “journalists” who likely never read a single sci-fi/fantasy novel or ‘fashionably radical’ college students looking for a ‘popular cause’ to pretend to champion and maybe make money pretending to fight.
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