A shared experience with Stephanie Meyer (?)

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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13 Responses to “A shared experience with Stephanie Meyer (?)”

  1. Yousei Hime Says:

    I read the Twilight books, but haven’t tried Host. Not a big fan of scifi, but there are scifi I love. So . . . just dragging my feet. I like the poem. So happy to see your post.

  2. Jacqueline Pearce Says:

    Thanks . A little different than my usual post. I generally don’t like hard science fiction, which is heavy on science and space travel or battles, but I enjoy good character driven specualtive fiction that is centred around well-imagined alternative worlds or which poses intriguing “what if?” scenarios. If you like the latter, Host is definately worth the read. I thought it was both gripping and thought-provoking.

  3. Yousei Hime Says:

    Hi Jacquie!
    Glad you liked the haiku. Have you made it over to the Olympics? Seems like one of those opportunities that shouldn’t be missed. Thanks for commenting and stopping by.

  4. Yousei Hime Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog. Stop by my site to see the Cornucopia of Awards.

  5. Yousei Hime Says:

    Just stopping in to say hi. 🙂

  6. Jacquie Says:

    Thanks for continuing to stop by despite my irregular posting. Still struggling with some health issues (both mine and my computer’s) which have been keeping me off the computer, but I hope to post something new soon…

  7. Jean-Pierre Antonio Says:

    I am watching a documentary on tv right now. It is about literacy. In one segment a group of Jewish children are taught how to read the hebrew letters. The teacher/rabbi has a board on which the letters are written. He drips honey onto the letters and asks the children to first, read the letters, and then to consume the letters by licking the honey on the letters. The children take in the letters through eyes and the mouth. Strikes me as a wonderful teaching method. Literacy through sweetness.

    Do you think that writing stories is a skill on the far end of the literacy spectrum? At one end is the basic ability to write and read individual words and at the other end is the ability to string long chains of words together together and make stories.

    Are you having a writing block these days? Why not try a little honey? Stimulate your apetite/talent for words. Think of words and think of the sweetness of words. Think of the other tastes of words; some sour and some spicy and some bitter and some salty and some umami. Think how delicious they all are. A feast of words making a story.

    Bon appettit!

  8. Jacquie Says:

    Good idea! Maybe I should think of words as different flavours of Japanese Kit Kats… Did the documentary say whether licking the honey off the letters helps the kids remember them any better?

  9. Jean-Pierre Antonio Says:

    Well, before the chidren were allowed to lick honeyed letter they were asked to read the letter, which they appeared to do enthusiastically. The enticement of the sweetness to follow surely motivated them to memorize the readings of the letters. The rabbi/teacher in the documentary also gave them a lot of encouragement and made positive comments. All in all, a wonderful teaching method based on rewarding the learning. The chidren hardly knew they were being lead into the world of literacy. I wish I had learned to read that way. Jean-Pierre

  10. Lisa Barnetson Says:

    Hi Jacquie
    I had no idea you were a famous author! So cool. I read Host also but I wasn’t rivetted from the beginning. In fact, if I don’t get caught immediately (2 or 3 chapters) I read the end. If I like the end, I read the book. I LOVED the end and I almost read Host cover to cover and absolutely loved it. I too hope there is more in that vein.
    Lisa B ( Hi to Jean Pierre from me)

    • Jacqueline Pearce Says:

      Lisa, I somehow missed your comment when you first added it. Thanks for stopping by! Interesting approach to reading. Part of what I enjoyed about Host was not being able to anticipate how it would end. I really liked the ending, too!

  11. Rochelle Says:

    I remember reading this when it first came out. I enjoyed it now as I did then.

  12. Rochelle Says:

    I’m referring to your poem Jacquie not the novel.
    I also enjoy everyone’s sharing.

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