They're Made Out of Meat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"They're Made Out of Meat"
Short story by Terry Bisson
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Science fiction
Published inOMNI
Publication typeMagazine
Publication dateApril 1991

"They're Made Out of Meat" is a short story by American writer 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 story was collected in the 1993 anthology Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories,[4] and has circulated widely on the Internet, which Bisson finds "flattering".[5] It has been quoted in cognitive, cosmological, and philosophical scholarship.[6][7][8]


They’re Made Out of Meat (2009) by Alexander S. Peak, inspired by the story.

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. One of them tells the incredulous other about the recent discovery of carbon-based lifeforms "made up entirely of meat". After conversing briefly about it, they both deem such beings and communication with them too bizarre and agree to "erase the records and forget the whole thing", marking the Solar System "unoccupied".[5]

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.[9] The main action takes place inside of a diner on Staten Island, NY full of teenagers. The music for the film was scored by Bob Reynolds.[10]

They're Made out of Meat (2010)[edit]

Jeff Frumess and Trevor Scott produced a version in 2010. They added the character of a homeless conspiracy theorist with an original score by musician Sam Belkin. The film was shot at the Hartsdale train platform on the Metro North in Westchester, NY.[11]

Meat (2021)[edit]

Masha Maksimova developed a version in Cinemiracle format, a triple split-screen process, as a student project at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences in the communication design course. The dialogue is conducted by two telepathic humanoid aliens and the thoughts are visualised by found-footage collages.[12]

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. Archived from the original on 2006-05-21.
  4. ^ Bisson, Terry (November 1993). Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories (1st (Hardcover) ed.). New York, NY: Tor. ISBN 978-0-312-85411-9.
  5. ^ a b Bisson, Terry. "They're Made out of Meat". Terry Bisson SF Story Showcase. Archived from the original on 2019-05-01.
  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. ^ "They're Made Out Of Meat". YouTube. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  10. ^ "They're Made Out of Meat (Original Score)". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  11. ^ "FAN FILM FRIDAY: Roundup: They're Made Out Of Meat". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  12. ^ "MEAT". Retrieved 22 May 2023.

External links[edit]