I love the parts where the alien sings along with the narrator. Very touching.
– Ann, Paris.
Great story! Kept me coming back to find out what was going to happen next. A good mixture of science, action, and philosophizing. It reminds me a bit of Asimov’s writing–maybe because the voice is straightforward, without poetic flourishes. I’m looking forward to the next book.
– William, Arkansas.
Your characters’ personalities and voices are strong and clear, even the little alien who doesn’t say a word in English. I connect with the alien, Breadbox. Her singing, her tone, her innocent questions and guilt. I find myself thinking it does not matter what she looks like.
– MC D’Alton, Australia.
When an alien spaceship crashed on the hillside behind singer Selena M’s house, she decided to nurse the surviving alien back to health and send it home, instead of turning it over to the government. She was burned out on her singing career. Turned out the alien was also a disheartened singer, and the two sing together to renew each other’s passion for singing.
Then the government spotted the downed vessel, and came to take it away.
How did this young extraterrestrial elude authorities escape her home world with these invaluable technologies and make a taboo trip to a world like Earth.
* * *
Here’s the beginning of the first chapter
“Secrets of Immortality Gleaned from Alien Remains,” trumpeted The New York Times on page 1, sounding like the tabloids.
Yeah, those were the aliens they dug up from my property up along the California coast near Bodega Bay. And yes, I admit it, I was the one who had buried them, with the help of my friends. Had to. They were dead, and we didn’t have enough freezer space to hold them.
Also, we wanted to honor them, and NOT let the government cut them up to learn their secrets. But they did that anyway. And they took the spaceship from me.
Yet there was another who survived, and it’s her story I want to share with you.
My fans have been clamoring for the real story. I’m Selena M—named “Songstress of the Year” by Time Magazine not that long ago. Even if you’re not familiar with my music, you’ve no doubt seen my name in the tabloids lately. “She’s a ditzy chick, and in way over her head!” just for starters. There’s been so much baloney issuing from the media meat grinder. I’ve resisted telling the whole truth because it doesn’t make me look too good. But that’s over. I want to give it to you straight, right from the beginning.
Selena means “of the moon.” But despite what some media rags say, I never claimed to be a moon maiden. I’m French, or at least French Californian. You sometimes see my name as Berthe, which alas is what my parents named me.
My name for the alien who survived was Breadbox—which she never really understood, even though we had spent the long days of her convalescence learning each other’s language and stories.
She was such an odd-shaped entity, kind of like a cross between a squid and a centipede with a head shaped like a parking meter sticking out the top, and an ever-changing number of pseudopods instead of feet and fingers. And a band of metal around her middle. I told Sheriff Jim that she was bigger than a breadbox, and the name stuck. “Bigger than a breadbox” is a throwback to my Gran’s time, from a show called Twenty Questions, where everything in the world is either bigger or smaller than a breadbox.
Her name for me was Agate. She called me her gem of agate among all the infinitesimal grains of sand on the unnamed beaches of the cosmos. I was moved to tears, because I see myself as no more than an insignificant bit on the cosmic shore.
I am so sorry that she was not able to return to her own people and home world. And I miss her more than I can say.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
Another piece from Chapter 1
Something was alive here! There was a tiny cry, a whimper, like a baby raccoon makes after it’s been chastised by its mother. A movement and a sigh. I edged closer. There, hanging from the ceiling, was somebody, something. No, things were upside down, so a live being was hanging from the floor, in some harness. Not a person. It looked more like an octopus or a squid, but a stubby one. It was shivering and sighing.
There before me was a tableau out of this world. I mean literally. It was a live being, but not a human being. Nor animal. It sure wasn’t an escapee from any Earth zoo. I had stumbled into a crashed flying saucer, apparently. This being looked to be in bad shape. It was amazing it wasn’t dead, but it looked badly injured. A puddle of blood or other bodily fluids grew beneath it.
It saw me, too, with two big eyes opening and closing on the ends of quivering stalks. What did it think of me? That I was here to do it in? What should I think of it? Was it going to attack me the first chance it got? Huh! Hanging there upside down like a truncated octopus, it didn’t look particularly threatening.
It took me a minute to sort out what was live being and what was instrument or uniform. I noted a breathing orifice at the base of what looked like a neck. Its skin was mottled gray—dark with lighter gray splotches. Skin looked loose and saggy, like a puppy about to grow. It opened an eye, looked at me. Then a second eye on a stalk. They were truly like the eyes of an octopus. The eyes regarded me. Solemnly? With terror? With malevolence? How the hell would I know?
This was Selena’s first big hit. Here are lyrics for the first stanzas.
I’ve been a sweet stuff singer
All my girlie years
Airy, frothy little ditties
Full of love and tears
Cotton candy lovin’, that’s all I seem to find
It makes me high, that sugar lovin’ kind.
But soon I crash, I hit the floor
It leaves me hungry, wantin’ more.
I search again, to see who I can find.
Just another sugar lovin’ kind.
A cotton candy lover, but I don’t mind.