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From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
(DeCamp) An extraterrestrial; a native of another world. Any resemblance to DTs is probably not wholly coincidental.
From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944
e.t.'s (deCamp) Extra-terrestrials; natives of other worlds. Any resemblance to d.t.'s is probably not wholly coincidental.

L. Sprague de Camp may have been first to use the initialism. In an essay, “Design for Life,” in the May 1939 Astounding Science Fiction, de Camp wrote:

That, no doubt, sounds familiar to science-fiction readers. I was moved to concoct that fragment as a result of running through a file of magazines and comparing the ideas of the writers on the form that intelligent extra-terrestrials might have. The authors are nothing if not industrious in devising a variety of shapes for their e.-t.'s.

H. G. Wells likely coined the original term in The War of the Worlds (1897):

It required a certain amount of scientific education to perceive that the grey scale of the Thing was no common oxide, that the yellowish-white metal that gleamed in the crack between the lid and the cylinder had an unfamiliar hue. “Extra-terrestrial” had no meaning for most of the onlookers.

Steven Spielberg popularized the initialism in the macrocosm as the name of a 1982 film and its protagonist, a somewhat saccharin creature cute enough to inspire hundreds of souvenir gimcracks and thousands of attacks of nausea. It lost the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo in 1983 to Bladerunner.

An ET might be a BEM.

See also: Creatures of Fandom.

Fanspeak 1939
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