November 15, 2016


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

SF Trope: alien parasites take over humans

Choden Wangyal is the first generation of Tibetans to be born in the US. Her parents rarely come out in public and as an only child (not from lack of trying, her mother regularly assures her), she is their connection with the wider – and wilder – culture in which they live.

Choden was reading when she was 2 and has taken the most advanced classes her school offers. A 10th grader now, she applied for and was allowed to begin college at the University of Minnesota through a program called Post-Secondary Education Opportunities (PSEO) and has been there for four months now.

With her college experience and her interaction with other American students, Choden realizes that she HAS to escape her family – soon!

One night, she chooses to stay late with a post-graduate student whom she KNOWS is flirting with her. They go to the Gartner Labs building where he has a night key. She never “actually told him” that she was fifteen, so when he makes amorous advances that terrify her, she cries out that she’s only fifteen.

Angry, he leaves her alone in the Labs, not realizing that his key card lanyard broke. Choden finds it and explores the labs alone. She stumbles in into the Virology Lab and without quite knowing what she’s doing, enters a restricted area that the boy, apparently, has access to. There she studies various experiments and when she picks up a shell vial culture to look at it, the plastic dissolves in her hand, the culture medium oozing over her fingers – and suddenly disappearing. She stares at her hand, suddenly doubting anything was there are all.

Choden hurries out of the Lab and to her aunt’s cousin’s sister’s dorm room where she spends the night. When she wakes up in the morning, she suddenly feels like she’s outside of herself. When she opens her eyes, she can see herself; wildly distorted. A moment later, one of her eyes pulls back into her head from the long stalk it was on and she can clearly see the other eye at the tip of a long, pale optic nerve sheathed in what appears to be chitin. That’s when she realizes that some sort of hideous, Kafkaesque metamorphosis has taken place. Or has it?

That’s almost acceptable until she begins to hear a voice speaking in her head. She can’t understand words, but the attitude is recognizable…

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