Tuesday, March 19, 2019

An Alien Take on the Familiar by @CassChandler

by Cassandra Chandler

I’ve loved Science Fiction for as long as I can remember and devour it in any form I can find. Books, short stories, movies, TV shows. I have a special place in my heart for B-Scifi movies—where you can see the threads holding up the hubcaps and almost smell the corn syrup and red food coloring (or grape jam, with some of the black and white movies).

It never mattered to me if the effects sometimes just kinda…did their best. My imagination could fill in whatever I needed it do. Nothing could compare to the wonder of those shows, the feeling of infinite possibility. I actually enjoyed the cheesey dialogue, over-the-top performances, and weird outfits that I sometimes recreated with my mom’s old sewing machine. But there was one thing that I adored more than anything else.

The rubber monster suits.

I loved the aliens in those movies. There’s something about the characters created by a person wearing a big rubber suit that has always fascinated (and sometimes terrified) me. Practical effects have a different feel than CGI, and the artistry that went into sculpting and animating many of the costumes from the earliest Scifi movies adds to my enjoyment of the stories.

The variety and imagination at play with some of the weirder creations has always delighted me, but I’m most drawn to alien takes on the familiar. I’ve been playing with this quite a bit in my Scifi romcom series—The Department of Homeworld Security.

It started in Entry Visa, with a four-armed, white-furred, gorilla-like humanoid named Craig. I envisioned Craig and his mate, Barbara, as Space Sasquatches (but don’t tell them I said that). I had a blast writing them, especially the first scene where Craig meets the human hero, Henry, and learns about weird human body functions like “sneeze.”

 Of course, with my love of all things reptilian, I had to create a race of lizard people. I had so much fun with the Space Sasquatches, I decided to make these my take on “little green men” (and women). Thus, the Vegans were born.
The most recent addition to my non-human characters are the adorable Antareans—giant ant people. The Antareans have been building in my writer’s mind for a long time. When they first popped into my imagination, they were terrifying (because, you know… giant ant people.) But as I learned more about them and their culture, I realized that they are actually what I would consider the most “human” of all the aliens I’ve introduced in this series. They’re the most loving and compassionate and the most connected to one another (hey, I’m an optimist). I was so happy to have them show up in Export Duty.

I love it when new characters, new planets, and new cultures just grow from my writer’s mind. And the best thing about using them in books? I’m not limited by rubber monster suits or hubcaps on strings. The only limits are my imagination. That’s the very best part of writing Scifi.

The Department of Homeworld Security #9 — Export Duty

Her next delivery will be out of this world!

Lily’s main priority is to steer her family’s import/export company toward altruistic pursuits. That is, until her Nana starts talking about doing yoga with a little lizard person from outer space. Lily’s new goal is to help her Nana see through her delusions. But then, the alien in question actually shows up in the green-scaled flesh, dragging along a doctor that Lily would love to have examine her.

As field medic for the Coalition soldiers stationed at the Earth base in Florida, Rin is pretty non-essential. His job is to smile and distract people while med-tech takes care of whatever issue they're having. So why is a Vegan—the creators of that technology—coming to him for help?

Throw in some desperate Antareans wanting to start a trade agreement with Lily, and an attack by dozens of fanged, furred Earth-monsters called “cats”, and Rin’s going to need some of that med-tech for himself. Or maybe he’ll just let Lily tend to his wounds Earth-style…

Buy it on Apple Books: https://books2read.com/u/mqVgnO

Author bio:

Cassandra Chandler spent her preschool years daydreaming that she was an android from the planet Mars sent here to observe humans. She's not entirely sure this isn't true. She uses her vivid imagination to make the world more interesting, spawning the ideas she turns into her whimsical Science Fiction romcoms and darkly evocative Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Romances. Fast-paced and funny, lighthearted or dark, her stories will introduce you to characters you want to be friends with and worlds where you'd like to build a vacation home.

Let’s stay in touch!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.

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