They're Made Out of Meat

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"They're Made Out of Meat"
Author Terry Bisson
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in OMNI
Publication type Magazine
Publication date April 1991
They’re Made Out of Meat (2009) by Alexander S. Peak, inspired by the Terry Bisson story.

"They're Made Out of Meat" is a short story by Terry Bisson. It was originally published in OMNI.[1] It consists entirely of dialogue between two characters. Bisson's website hosts a theatrical adaptation.[2] A film adaptation won the Grand Prize at the Seattle Science Fiction Museum's 2006 film festival.[3]

The two characters are intelligent beings capable of traveling faster than light, on a mission to "contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe." Bisson's stage directions represent them as "two lights moving like fireflies among the stars" on a projection screen. They converse briefly on their bizarre discovery of carbon-based life, which they refer to incredulously as "thinking meat". They agree to "erase the records and forget the whole thing", marking the Solar System "unoccupied".[4]

The story was collected in the 1993 anthology Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories,[5] and has circulated widely on the Internet, which Bisson finds "flattering".[4] It has been quoted in cognitive, cosmological, and philosophical scholarship.[6][7][8]

Film adaptations[edit]

They're Made out of Meat (2005)[edit]

In 2005, Stephen O'Regan wrote and directed a live film adaptation starring Tom Noonan and Ben Bailey. The film was made as a final project for the New York Film Academy. The main action takes place inside of a diner full of teenagers. The music for the film was scored by Bob Reynolds.[9]


In 2015, musical producer Jose Hoffman created a song based on the story.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bisson, Terry (April 1991). "They're Made Out of Meat". OMNI. 
  2. ^ Bisson, Terry. "They're Made out of Meat (play)". Terry Bisson SF Story Showcase. Archived from the original on 2008-07-02. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  3. ^ "Science Fiction Short Film Festival Winners Announced". Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. 2006-02-09. 
  4. ^ a b Bisson, Terry. "They're Made out of Meat". Terry Bisson SF Story Showcase. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  5. ^ Bisson, Terry (November 1993). Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories (1st (Hardcover) ed.). New York, NY: Tor. ISBN 978-0-312-85411-9. 
  6. ^ Boden, Margaret A. (2006). "16.v.d". Mind As Machine: A History of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press. p. 1386. ISBN 0-19-929238-8. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  7. ^ Wolff, Milo (2003). "55: Cosmology, the Quantum Universe, and Electron Spin". In Richard L. Amoroso et al. (eds.). Gravitation and Cosmology: From the Hubble Radius to the Planck Scale. Fundamental Theories of Physics, Vol. 126. Netherlands: Springer. pp. 517–524. doi:10.1007/0-306-48052-2_55. ISBN 978-1-4020-0885-6. 
  8. ^ McGinn, Colin (May 1999). Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World. New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-01422-4. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]