Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?
The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.
His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.
Jeff fought to breathe as he spun about in Whistleʹ s tightening grasp. He saw the Grey standing calmly by, an odd smile on its tiny, noseless face. It was transfixed by the action and violence. As Whistleʹ s swathe through the ranks of the Clyptus grew, the Grey tittered.
“Hi,” Jordan said to the Grey.
It hadn’t seen her approach. It was too focused on the brawl. Jordan punched the short alien. The Greyʹ s head snapped back, and its big eyes fluttered. The Grey crumpled, its weapon flying out of its hand. Before it lost consciousness, it released the scent of rotten eggs.
“And here I thought you liked me,” Jordan said.
Meanwhile, Oliop jumped on Whistle and latched onto her head with arms and legs and tail, blinding her. She grabbed at him. When she did, the remaining Clyptus struck at her. They moved over their stomped, battered, and torn companions and stabbed away at the rocky creature. Their darts and stickers poked uselessly at her hardened exterior. Some shot her with their energy weapons, but the yellow beams did nothing. All the while, Jeff wrestled and clawed at Whistleʹ s thick arm, but he couldʹ t break free.
Link to YouTube Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwExDzGD6Js
Also available on iBooks
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Does a Science Fiction Story Need Aliens?
By Gerhard Gehrke
I've never been specifically interested in aliens or alien worlds except that they have always functioned as regular tropes in science fiction so I enjoyed them well enough when they showed up. There are many great sci-fi novels without an alien in sight. Consider both Frank Herbert's Dune or Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. But adding alien life forms to a story allows the novel to take a direction that might not be possible under more mundane circumstances.
A Beginner's Guide to Invading Earth began in my work truck's notebook with the line “No one likes them very much.” That line was to be the conclusion reached by aliens intent on first contact who reached the USA and decided to try other parts of the planet after some unfortunate experiences. This developed into the aliens wanting nothing to do with the entire planet and them hanging a virtual “Do Not Disturb Occupants” sign on our doorknob. As I fleshed this out over a few months I decided a smaller story that focused on one man's experience as a scapegoat for an alien conspiracy to make first contact fail just felt better. By then I had a rough idea on where I wanted the project to go, and the aliens would have to be part of it.
Having an advanced alien culture trying to contact the worst possible human candidate became a story idea that would allow for both adventure and humor. Jeff Abel has become a paranoid technophobe partially because of the aliens' observing him as their chosen contactee.
One technological element that I wanted to explore with the aliens was how they even communicate with one another, as there are hundreds of races in my story that belong to a galactic commonwealth. An issue with their own translators becomes a plot element that I enjoyed developing as I've faced the frustration of trying to communicate with some of my own relatives when they visit from Germany.
I've forgotten most of my German even though it was my first language. I took my cousin and uncle to San Francisco for sightseeing and had to refer to a pocket dictionary to complete most sentences. So one science fiction trope I really wanted to address is how are the aliens in most stories able to drop down to Earth and be understood? Most writers insert a line or paragraph explaining it, often attributing the aliens with some kind of hand-wavy gift like telepathy. But how much more interesting if the translators are actual gadgets, as most devices malfunction or can be compromised. Let the shenanigans ensue!
So the more I thought through what I wanted to happen to my characters, I realized that aliens were needed. This opened up developing other issues that the characters would encounter. Just because something is translated it doesn't mean it's understood. And what about such vagaries as gestures and idioms? All these ideas developed into fertile grounds for storytelling that become fun to write.
Gerhard Gehrke studied ﬁlm at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at AnotheRealm.com. A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his ﬁrst novel.
You can connect with him at Gerhardgehrke.com.