Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Creating a Monster: The Silver

So, my book Class 5 has been out now for over a year, and it's collected it's fair share of good reviews since then. Quite a few have pointed out my somewhat original alien creature, the Silver, as the man in black named it.

I do take a little bit of pride in the alien creature I created for this story, although I'll be the first to admit it's not the most original of creations. The only original thing might be how everything is combined. Since my post of The Hungry was so popular, I thought I would do another post like that, and delve into how the Silver was created for my action/horror novel.

I wanted to start with a fairly basic alien shape. Something most people can picture without too much trouble, even if they aren't overly familiar with the ideas of UFO's and alien beings, so I started with the basic shape of the Grey aliens.

Large, black eyes. Pale, almost translucent skin. Thin and spindly bodies. Large heads.

I did take some liberties with the biology, describing tightly interwoven muscle fibers which make them sturdier and stronger than most humans, despite looking so much smaller and frailer.

I offer no apologies for such liberties.

I chose the form because, as I said, it's almost the stereotypical alien being, and one most people know of and imagine when you bring up the subject. In addition to that though, is the knowledge of what they supposedly do, which is abduct human beings for experimentation. This brings in a subtle level of fear, the idea of being stolen from your own bed, and being subjected to bizarre medical procedures with equipment you don't recognize or understand, by beings you cannot communicate with. So I was trying to tap into that fear just a little bit.

The next thing I knew I was going to do about my alien was that it was going to be a carnivore. I've said in a few interviews that when I sat down to start the story, I only had the idea for the first chapter, and I was going to leave it at that as a short story. I just couldn't stop once I finished that part though. So I knew the alien was going to be eating people, and the small mouth of the Grey aliens wasn't going to cut it. I needed something a bit bigger, with teeth that could do the job.

So I made the mouth wider, wrapping around the face so it could open extremely wide in order to take large bites of it's prey. I also decided on sharp, triangular-shaped teeth that would be good for slicing through flesh or bone equally. Something like these.

Now, if you know much about teeth, you'll recognize that as being from a Great White shark. Nice and sharp and ready to do the job. And, as you noticed in the book, they worked very nicely on the human body. Especially in conjunction with the Silver's physical strength.

Of course, there's one more major feature about the Silver's which sets them apart. They have a natural defense with a symbiotic fungus, which lives on and in their normally perpetually moist skin.

A healthy Silver's body keeps the fungus in check, preventing it from spreading over the body, but keeping it provided with nutrients so that it constantly releases spores into the air around it. When inhaled by any other animal nearby, the spores take root in the lungs (or whatever the organism uses to breath). Roots spread quickly, absorbing bodily fluids at an incredible rate, on top of the damage it does to the body. As fluid gets harder and harder to find, the fungus sends a stalk back up the way it entered the body, typically through the throat, until it finds air, where the tip blossoms like a mushroom, releasing tons more spores into the air. The host is typically dead at this point from internal hemorrhaging and dehydration.

This is not an entirely beneficial relationship for the Silver either, though. If the creature can't stay sufficiently hydrated, the fungus will take root into their skin. They start as black masses on the alien's translucent skin, with feelers and tendrils radiating out from a central point. The roots spreading out visibly under the skin. Eventually, the alien too, will die of dehydration, although the symbiosis means it takes much longer than it would for almost anything else. If a sick Silver can get help in time, they also have the technology to bring the fungus back under control and even reverse the damage it did.

The name "Silver" is the moniker given them by the United States military in their classification of alien beings. Partly due to their relatively close resemblance to the much more common "Greys". It should also be pointed out that prior to the events in Seguro, Arizona, information on the "Silvers" had only been granted from other alien contacts. Hence the incursion being labeled as "Class 5".

So there you have it. A good look at the Alien species known as "Silvers". But the universe is a big place, and they are far from the only beings with which we haven't had documented contact yet.

Who knows what else we might find. Or what might find us.

~ Shaun

1 comment:

  1. Dang it. Why couldn't have I waited to read this until after I actually have some disposable income?

    Now I'll have nothing to do but wait for the next couple of weeks. Oh well. >:]