Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: What to Expect from Your Alien Brainwashing

So now you see why, in a previous post, I said the picture at left had influenced a part of my latest story. ;-) I think I'm going to have to create a new tag for gas masks. Yes, I really will. I know a lot of people fetishize about gas masks, and to a certain extent, I'm one of them. For me, they have to have an organic quality and/or a hood and goggles that hide the entire face. As always, it's the robotization, depersonalization and voicelessness that most appeals to me.

So anyway, about What to Expect from your Alien Brainwashing. The first bit that occurred to me (in a dream, as is often the case), was the title. And the first title that occurred to me was, "What to Expect from Your Alien Overlords." I liked the idea because it had an inherent humor based on the popular meme, and I could tweak it to be more MC-specific while still keeping some of the humor. Of course, the first tweak had to come with the title.

The idea developed gradually, with the part I'm proudest of - Tinker Toy sex lattices - coming to me again in a dream. Gah, I love my subconscious!

I wasn't sure what my aliens would look like until I found the picture above (all credit to Kimatica). Then, of course, they had to be Greys so I could fit in the huge eyes and pointy faces. Sorry if that's a let-down for anyone expecting more exotic aliens, but it's been my experience in reading SF that it's really, really hard to come up with truly alien species. Vernor Vinge did a great job in A Fire Upon the Deep, of course, but I still fault him for not making the most of the MC possibilities. ;-) As for me, I knew my audience was more interested in the MC than whether my aliens had fur or scales, so I decided to take a pass.

When it comes to the wall installations, I was probably subconsciously influenced by all those weird '80's videos that had people running along corridors where human hands or heads stuck out of the walls. Funnily enough, though, I stumbled across this just yesterday, via Oddee.

Another funny thing, as far as I'm concerned, is that I chose this story out of the three percolating in my brain because I thought it was the lightest; and yet it turned out pretty grim in the end. I hope you still find some humor in it (I do; I always find it funny when MC victims blather earnestly about the favors they're doing their recruits), but the story as a whole got pretty dark. It seemed that with each successive polish, I came up with creepy new ideas that slotted in just perfectly with the plot.

For instance, the idea of elites creating a presentation for their processees was originally just a joke: that's their notion of waiting room reading material. And I had to make my processee desperate enough to read it, so I came up with "wait times might be longer than usual" - a common recorded message Americans hear when they dial toll-free numbers for any sort of assistance. It was only later that I realized why the wait times would be longer than usual: the new architectural craze was sucking up more slaves than ever. That added a whole new layer of horror to the ending. Our poor processee will probably end up a mindless bit of X-rated wall decoration.

Is it just me, or does anyone else now have Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" running through their heads?

1 comment:

REX3 said...

An outstanding offering! You allayed many of my concerns, and raised very few new ones, with your generous preview of coming attractions for me.
i find that rereading the text excites and depresses me by turns, but the more often i read it, the more anticipatory i become. ..or has the processing already begun...