I'd kinda be disappointed if the gnomes turned out to just be aliens, but after reading all that, I'd also hate for them not to be.
"Always expect the best of others... And watch as your hope is crushed like crackers in a fat man's bed. And the fat man is angry. And the fat man has a sledgehammer. And the fat man is yelling 'DIE, CRACKERS, DIE!!'"
- Rat, Pearls Before Swine