Whither The Alien?

A number of posts ago, I said I wanted your opinion about the The Alien Within’s title. Actually, I thought I’d already written about it. But after going through my older posts, I’m forced to conclude that I’d hallucinated the whole thing. That happens to me a lot.

So…the book’s title. A number of folks have told me they thought the title misleading, in that it sounds like it’s a work of science fiction, but it’s not. I can understand that. These days, the word “alien” evokes thoughts of ET. But the term applies to humans as well–a person of a different nationality, or even of a different family. For example, I am alien to my neighbors’ families, because I am not related. And, of course, in any country there are resident aliens and illegal aliens. There’s another meaning too–“exotic”, as in “that culture is completely alien to me.”

To my mind, The Alien Within works on four levels. First, and most obvious, is that Melera is an alien hiding within the larger Earth-bound society. Second, it also refers to preternaturals in general, who also hide within the larger human society. That’s why I call them “exotics”, or zots. Third, it refers to those preternaturals like Parker, a being with two unrelated personalities–human and wolf–who occupy the same mind and body. Finally, it refers to the light and dark sides of someone’s personality. The face Garrett shows to the world at large (the zot world anyway) is that of the compassionate Healer. But when it comes down to getting what she wants, she is as ruthless as any CEO.

Do you think all this too subtle? I did think of one new title: Underground. Zots not only live in an underground world, but their “safe place” in Seattle is the city’s Underground. Actually, if I went this route I’d like to call it Alien Underground. After all, Melera’s lives just as far “underground” as any other Earth-bound zot. But then, that title probably raises the same issues as The Alien Within.

What do you think?

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