Thursday, August 07, 2014

Thursday Thoughts with Angel Martinez

Dreams of Alien Contact

The lovely folks at Dreamspinner requested a blog about dreams…so, last night, I had this dream, right? It was senior picture day at school and I kept trying on all these shirts, but they kept turning into the blue striped one I wore the year before. Finally, I gave up and when I left the house, which wasn’t my house, but an odd little shed in the middle of a park, I realized there wouldn’t be pictures that day since there was a modified zombie apocalypse in progress…

What? Oh. They’re telling me they didn’t want that kind of dream. Ah. Got it. Let’s try that again.

I have the usual dreams, I think, the ones everyone has, the ones where humans learn to be nice to each other and where everyone finds peace. Then there’s the one where I make enough money writing to call it making a living. And the one where we contact alien life and they turn out to be really cool people.

What do you mean not everyone has that dream? It’s a geek dream? I suppose you’re right. But this geek has thought about alien contact since childhood. What would they really be like? Would they be so different from us that we wouldn’t recognize them as life? (“It’s life, Captain, but not as we know it.”) Or would they be too much like us, coming to exploit a resource-rich environment because they can?

When I write aliens into science fiction, both the dream and the nightmare scenarios are with me. Ideally, we’d love to have every other sentient race in the universe be wise and wonderful with advanced tech, beings who can teach their young human siblings about space travel and medical advances. If all the aliens out there could be benevolent and kind, like ET, I’d be perfectly happy. The reality will probably be something in between, neither wise and nurturing, nor menacing scourge of humanity. If we do meet another space faring race someday, they’re far more likely to be like us in that they will have flaws and differences of opinion. But they’re also likely to be simply different.

This was Gene Roddenberry’s point when he created Star Trek—that we must learn first to celebrate the differences before we can meet other races. That until we can do this, any contact we have is doomed to failure. Will we ever reach the point where all humans exhibit this trait? Sadly, I doubt it. There will always be human individuals who have difficulty with “otherness.” But as a group, as a norm, yes, I think we can reach the point of celebration.

When I write Science Fiction, my characters often run smack into culture clash issues, mostly because it’s always on my mind when writing stories with non-humans. Some of my alien beings have been selfish, cruel, bitter beings with their own issues of acceptance. Some of my aliens and even my altered humans are simply different. My heroes, no matter what their physical makeup and cultural backgrounds, tend to be those individuals who have adaptable, curious brains. We all know someone like this, someone who can encounter a new culture and ask the right questions in a respectful way, who actually absorbs culture instead of merely observing it. Aren Dalsgaard, who integrates seamlessly into dangpo society in Sub Zero. Vassily Belikov, who understands that changing the human genome does not make one a freak. And Isaac Ozawa, the hero of my newest release, Gravitational Attraction—Isaac may be the most adaptable of all my heroes.

Limitless curiosity and the ability to think outside his cultural norms serve Isaac well when he encounters a true alien society. His abilities to adapt and to learn, to accept and to rejoice in otherness are what I dream of for all humans. We could start with each other. Celebrate the differences.

Where brain induced gravity wells meet alien landscapes…

A mysterious distress call draws the crew of courier ship Hermes to what appears to be an empty, drifting troop vessel--empty except for the blood and gore spattered corridors and a lone survivor locked in a holding cell. Drawn to the handsome, traumatized man, the crew’s comm officer, Isaac Ozawa, makes Turk his personal responsibility, offering him the kindness and warmth he needs after the horror he experienced. 

Isaac knows firsthand what it’s like to be different and an outcast, and this cements their bond. Once a promising pilot, Isaac was left with a damaged body when his brain didn't meld with the high-tech implant needed to fly fighter ships. Turk’s brain is no better. The result of a military experiment gone wrong, his natural abilities have been augmented to a dangerous degree.

When an amoral, power-hungry admiral kidnaps Isaac and uses him to convince Turk to become the cataclysmic weapon he’s hungered for, it will take Turk’s strength, the ingenuity of the Hermes crew, the help of the enigmatic Drak’tar, and Isaac’s own stubborn will to save them.

Gravitational Attraction
M/M Science Fiction from Angel Martinez available from...

Angel Martinez, the unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for over twenty-five years) and gave birth to one amazing son (now in college.) While Angel has worked, in no particular order, as a state park employee, retail worker, medic, LPN, call center zombie, banker, and corporate drone, none of these occupations quite fit.

She now writes full time because she finally can, and has been happily astonished to have her work place consistently in the annual Rainbow Awards. Angel currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.


  1. Gene Roddenberry is my hero. :-) Seriously, of all the fictional sci-fi universes, his has been the most optimistic about our future because he believed we would solve our societal problems and come together to celebrate our differences. Love the premise of your story here--definitely going to the top of the TBR pile!

  2. This is a fantastic story! I love it!