Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Xenomorphs Understand #WEP

Free use image by Wolfgang Eckert on Pixabay

Tagline: Thoughts from an Outsider on Aliens and Acceptance

Critique Guidelines:

Full CONSTRUCTIVE criticism regarding the mechanics of the piece is acceptable. Tearing down the subject matter is not. Further, I don't give a rat's ass if any of you find my use of salty language "low class." I've had a hard life. I quit using both alcohol and drugs 25 years ago and stopped smoking cigarettes in 2006. I'll damn well cuss if I feel like it. If you have a problem with that, don't read the essay. It's simple.

Without further ado-doo, here's the contentious piece in all its glory.

The Xenomorphs Understand

Per the Wikipedia entry on Lovecraftian horror, H. R. Giger's book of paintings, which inspired many of the designs in the film Alien, was named Necronomicon after a fictional book appearing in several of Lovecraft's stories. Dan O'Bannon, the original writer of the Alien screenplay, has also mentioned Lovecraft as a major influence on the film.

It’s no wonder a fourteen-year-old me, who had not long ago started reading Lovecraft’s works, was so taken with Alien. I was already a seasoned horror buff. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that I started reading Edgar Allan Poe’s works at six years old. I loved reading horror comics under the covers with a flashlight, even though this activity contributed to my fear of venturing down the dark hallway to the bathroom during the night. The giant cockroaches that invaded our poorly-constructed New Mexico home and the whatthefuckery of a massive furnace vent right in the middle of the damn hallway floor making it so you had to scoot along the wall or risk burning your feet on the hot metal grate didn’t help.

I didn’t consciously entertain the idea of the Xenomorphs being misunderstood until decades after my first viewing of Alien. In 2012, I was sick of my life and sick of myself. I was hung up on a guy who was never going to see me as anything but a booty call. I was grieving the loss of my father. I was out of hope, but my son still needed my help, so I had to find something to distract myself from punching my own ticket, which was the action I really wanted to take.

My therapy came in the form of crazy fan fiction crossovers featuring evolved Xenomorphs.

Nobody but me will ever read these stories. When I reread them, it’s obvious how much I needed someone to understand what I was going through and how lost I felt.

The Xenomorphs—my fellow Outsiders—saved me.

Much of my writing centers around the idea of acceptance. I hoped one day I’d find an audience of outsiders like myself who would enjoy my strange worlds. This has never come to pass, which may be no surprise to those on the outside looking in. Normal people don’t get me, and I don’t get them.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I’ve tried to convince people that I’m a writer, but at heart, I’m a wannabe musician. Since You did not see fit to bless me with musical talent, I turn my thoughts into stories rather than songs.

Now you know my secret.

I read a lot of biographies and memoirs, partly because I write fiction nearly every day so I want to read something else, and partly because I’m still trying to find people who are like me in some way. I’m currently reading Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography by Kevin Dodds.

Eddie Van Halen had something to say about being true to your vision, and I’m going to let him say it uncensored.

“I’d rather fail with my own shit than succeed with someone else’s.”

Jimi Hendrix felt the same way. I try to keep this attitude in mind, but it’s difficult in a world that doesn’t want stories chock-a-block with troubled characters. As John River said,

“In this world, no one can be different or strange or damaged, or they lock you up.”

They also lock you out. It’s hard to make an impact as a writer anyway, and weird fiction is far from a popular niche. I would prefer to spend my time writing Lovecraftian fix-up novels and kooky fan fiction crossovers, which have some pretty dark roots if you bother to look beneath the surface. Most people don’t. However, I can’t generate social currency with these works, so I spend most of my time writing romance both steamy and sweet.

More than once, my stories have been branded technically proficient but lacking emotion. However, when I let myself bleed all over the page, I receive no response. Reading the truth about someone who was the target of bullying and the victim of sexual assault isn’t fun. However, when I write for fun, the result is deemed “too weird.” I try to give the people what they want, but then I die inside.

It’s not that I think the romance stories I write are bad. I like my comparatively well-behaved literary children. However, it saddens me when I neglect my melancholy, misunderstood, alienated brood with their tragically poetic souls in favor of promoting the more acceptable lot.

Weird fiction has saved me many times.

That’s why I’ll always love my New Weird Tales even though nobody else gets either me or them. 

The Xenomorphs understand.


789 words

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Image by Jim Cooper from Pixabay
"Thanks for being my pal, Space Jockey."


  1. Being locked out is as much of a prison as being locked in. And has no parole period or release date.

  2. I am sad for you. I too had a hard life, but there was too much real horror for me to embrace that genre, instead I went with fantasy and Jesus. Bad marriage, outcast, bah, bah, bah. If you live in America, you could try kindle vella. I bet you ight find some fans for your 'weird' stories.

  3. Hiya - I feel for you ... but the important thing is you are writing your stories - and they will be real for you and in due time for others. Outsiders and Xenomorphs give us all prompts and ideas - I wish you well for the end of 2023 and have an easier 2024 - cheers Hilary

  4. Hi Ornery Owl. Thanks for this heartfelt piece for the final WEP and for your loyalty to WEP. It's frustrating when nobody gets you, but we keep on writing for the love of it, don't we? You have to write what you want to read, as there's no such thing as an ideal reader. Some will always find something to criticise just because it doesn't appeal to them.

    Keep on writing! You're cordially invited to join the WEP tragics at their monthly meet-fests where we'll be talking shop, or anything else that hits you at the time. Visit the WEP site on Feb 1 and every first of the month afterward!

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year despite the critics!


  5. So much of what you've written feels relatable. Specially the tight rope walk about writing what people want or being judged for unconventional writing. Thank you for your honest takes on the WEP prompts. I wish you all the best!

  6. There is no win in writing. The world will never be pleased. Make your way, your way! Your truth is vital. You are vital! Blessed wishes for the New Year and new projects!

  7. Not sure if this might help, but have you checked out AO3? (I've never read the stuff there but I've heard it's quite popular among all kinds of fan fiction writers)

    1. I know about AO3. My fan fiction writing has really never been for anyone but me. I'm just grousing because I don't have time to do it anymore. It's a matter of priorities.


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