Archive for February, 2010

A shared experience with Stephanie Meyer (?)

February 22, 2010

I recently finished reading Host, Stephanie Meyer’s science fiction novel for adults. (In a nutshell, the story is about what happens when an alien parasite species takes over Earth, but the occupation doesn’t quite go as expected, nor does the resistance.) I found the writing much tighter than in her Twilight books, and the story riveted me from beginning to end (interesting characters and situation, unpredictable plot, entertained and also made me think). I finished the book and immediately wanted to read more. Since, Stephanie Meyer has yet to write a sequel or any other novels in the genre, I had to satisfy myself by looking up interviews with the author. For example, this one behind the scenes at Oprah:

I was intrigued to discover that Stephanie Meyer feels Host is her best novel so far (she wrote it after the learning process of creating the Twilight series) and that she plans to write more in the series or at least in the speculative fiction genre. This is good news!

In a different interview I came across, Stephanie Meyer talked about her first novel, the highly successful Twilight, being inspired by a dream. She said she woke up with the story fully formed in her head. As an author who has been struggling with writing lately, I thought to myself how great it would be to have this kind of dream-powered inspiration. Then I remembered that this actually did happen to me once. My very first piece of published fiction was inspired by a dream that remained vivid in my mind after I awoke. By coincidence, my dream had something in common with Host, as it involved meeting an alien. Unfortunately, the story that emerged from the dream did not turn out to be an amazingly popular novel that spawned a series of hugely successful books and movies. In fact, it wasn’t anything as long as a novel. If, as Stephanie Meyer speculates, a story emerging fully formed out of a dream only happens to an author once in a life time, it’s rather unfortunate that my once-in-a-life-time inspiration turned out to be a short poem. In any case, here it is:

First Contact

in our greeting
centuries of preparation,
rehearsal, speculation
become meaningless

face to face
yet still light years apart
I, hidden by layers
of more than clothing

he, wearing a naked openness
I do not know how
to read

until his eyes
honest and sharp
as stars

cut away my surface skins
of history, culture, gender,
misplaced identity

exposing me to
my self
naked and clear
for the first time

and only then
do we have
a common language

Published in Tesseracts6, the Anthology of New Canadian Speculative Fiction, edited by Robert J. Sawyer and Carolyn Clink (Tesseract Books 1997).

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