Coffee Thoughts: May 2020

Welcome to Coffee Thoughts, May 2020! That’s right, May has arrived. Consider this a helpful reminder of the date, since (as you’ve probably noticed) all the days tend to run together in quarantine time.

On that note …

No, America isn’t ready to “re-open”

Currently, you’re seeing a number of selfish politicians, corporations, and our current Buffoon-in-Chief making pushes to “re-open” the United States, usually by waving U.S. flags around (metaphorically, if not literally), saying how wearing masks and/or caring about other people is “just not our way,” or making dire predictions about how another month of shutdown will (gasp!) turn us into the U.S.S.R, or similar such nonsense.

Obviously, that’s a bunch of hot air. Any of these big figures who want to reopen things are motivated by greed, and nothing else. That’s it. You’d think that for giant corporations, it would be enough that they stole all the bailout funds intended for small business relief (New York Times), but now, you can quite literally see a bunch of wealthy people saying, basically, “Open things up, and let the poor die, as long as we get our business rolling again.” This is cutthroat capitalism at its worst.

Here’s the reality. While the Trump administration (and the ever-smarmy Jared Kushner) are desperately trying to say that the crisis is over, or that America’s response was a “great success story,” the numbers don’t lie: as of May 6th, COVID-19 has killed 72,293 U.S. people, including thousands of deaths in the past few days alone, and the true number is probably far larger than that.

By listening to the experts, and not reopening too soon, it will be possible to re-open in a smart, reasonable way — but stupidly barreling forward, and ignoring the data, will just cause more people to die.

The Pentagon released UFO footage. Yeah, really.

As if 2020 wasn’t weird enough, the past month saw the Pentagon confirm that a few clips of what looked like a UFO were … well, a UFO. Seriously. If this news had hit at any other time, you’d be seeing it everywhere, but in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like too much. It’s as if two sci-fi genres got mashed together without enough planning, so now, people are just confused by the whole alien subplot, and not sure how it fits into the main narrative. You know?

Now, a caveat is necessary. First, these videos have been online for a few years. They were just “unauthorized,” and the Pentagon has now, well, “authorized them.” Two, the term UFO does not mean alien, extraterrestrial, or any of that. Here’s a clip, courtesy of the Guardian:

Note, again, that the U in UFO stands for “unidentified,” not “alien.” There are a lot of potential explanations for what these things might be, but the key is that the U.S. government can’t figure it out. As Daniel Oberhaus writes for Wired:

So does the official authorization of these videos mean the Pentagon has finally admitted that aliens exist? Nope. For starters, anything the military labels “unidentified” is not necessarily extraterrestrial. It’s just something in the sky that military officials can’t explain—civil and military pilots see unidentified aircraft all the time. Could they be piloted by little green men? Sure, if you have an active imagination. But usually they turn out to be something much more mundane—an atmospheric illusion, an undisclosed military drill, a satellite, or evidence of a tired pilot’s brain playing tricks on them.

That doesn’t mean that these things aren’t alien, of course. They could be … or, they could be something far less exciting. So while this hardly counts for much, if you’re the sort looking for proof of extraterrestrial life, it’s interesting, nonetheless.

On a lighter note …

If the movie industry ever recovers from this current catastrophe, I have some predictions for the future:

Novel Update

As a full-time writer, I’m extremely lucky in that I already work from home, and my work flow hasn’t slowed down at all. That said, amidst my other writing, I’m always happy to report that my next novel is continuing to move forward! It’s a little early to make a release prediction, given the current pandemic — maybe the end of this year, maybe the beginning of next? — but either way, soon.

Cheers, and hope you all have a great Monday!

Grunge: The untold truth of Area 51

When aliens come to Earth, they get studied at Area 51 … or, at least, that’s what some people will tell you. Is is true? Well, there’s no question that this creepy government facility in the middle of the Nevada desert, officially called Groom Lake, has kept many secrets locked up in its vaults. So far, though, there’s been no proof that a bunch of little green extraterrestrials are one of them.

That hasn’t stopped people from speculating about — or threatening to “naruto run” into — the guarded facility, and considering that it took over a half-century for the U.S. government to even admit that Area 51 existed, you can’t blame folks for not trusting the official story. What can be confirmed about Area 51, for sure, is that it’s a place of high-tech military tests and shady cover-ups, the likes of which you would normally only find in an episode of Stranger Things. Here’s what we know about Area 51.

Read More: https://www.grunge.com/44833/untold-truth-area-51/?utm_campaign=clip

QUORA: “If aliens arrived n Earth, what human behavior would they find most absurd and incomprehensible?”

If aliens arrived on Earth, what human behavior would they find most absurd and incomprehensible?

Nicholas Conley’s answer: Really, when you think about it, the chances are that they’d find every single one of our behaviors, traditions, language, attitudes, and beliefs to be totally bizarre. It’d be comparable to us analyzing the “social” dynamics of blackberry bushes, as if we’re some pinnacle of life, instead of… READ MORE.

 

Fictional Movie and TV Languages You Can Learn to Speak

Klingon, sure. Dothraki, of course. But what about Barsoomian, Na’vi or… Lapine?

klingon star trek language

Fictional movie and TV languages you can actually learn to speak

If Arrival taught the world anything, it’s that whenever spaceships do finally touch down on Earth, linguists will save the world. Seriously, if they’re not around, we’ll be depending on some handy universal translator to drop out of the sky. No matter what sort of weird mumbles, beamed images, or telepathic messages the real little green men use for communication, it definitely won’t be the sloppy, haphazard series of sounds we call English.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that real linguists have played a pretty huge role in sculpting the fictional languages of your favorite science fiction and fantasy worlds. For every badass Dothraki chant or Klingon speech that you’ve ever heard, there’s been a hardworking linguist who spent years developing a real, complex language with its own grammar, slang, and unique metaphors. These constructed languages — called “conlangs,” for short — are often so developed that if you have some time to kill, you can impress your next date with a newfound fluency in Barsoomian… READ MORE

The 2018 Exeter UFO Festival

This past weekend, the skies of Exeter, New Hampshire were filled with flying saucers. So-called “little green men” walked through the streets, filled up the shops, or made themselves evident in numerous ways. Luckily, no laser guns were fired, no shrink rays went off, and the 2018 Exeter UFO Festival was a happy occasion for Earthling and extraterrestrial alike.

Nicholas Conley aliens Intraterrestrial exeter UFO festival new hampshire

The reason that the state of New Hampshire plays host to such an intergalactic gathering every year is because—as all UFO fans know—of a 1961 incident generally known as either the “Betty and Barney Hill abduction,” or the “Zeta Reticuli Incident,” where a Portsmouth couple reportedly witnessed a UFO, and claim to have subsequently been taken aboard and examined by inhuman beings from another world. This alleged encounter was the first alien abduction report that spread to a wider audience, popularizing many of the tropes that are now familiar today. Whatever one thinks about the story, whether it’s belief or skepticism, there’s no questioning the incident’s huge impact on pop culture.

Exeter UFO festival New Hampshire nh aliens

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about “aliens” that captures the human imagination so fervently. Perhaps it has something to do with our own hubris: humans are so naturally inclined to think of themselves as the center of the universe, but the arrival of another living species that is so much more advanced than us would completely undo any sense of Earthling superiority, forever. As a species, we’d have to reckon with our own terrifying smallness for the first time, like ants figuring out that they’re ants.

Besides all that, talking about aliens generally just makes for a good time, and that’s why Exeter’s annual celebrations are a blast. As the proud author of my own alien science fiction novel, Intraterrestrial, I’m always thrilled to dive deep into some alien mythology, though I still can’t quite answer the person who was wondering about those sharp theets back in 2016.

Anyhow, kudos to the city of Exeter for hosting such a weird, wonderful event every year, thanks to the Exeter Area Kiwanis Club for putting it on, and a huge round of applause for the fact that all of the money raised during the UFO Festival is donated to local children’s charities. Very cool.

Alien Exeter UFO Festival NH

 

Joining the Stack!

Thanks to a cosmic UFO mail delivery, the Intraterrestrial paperbacks are now available! Finally, young Adam gets to claim his own spot on the self alongside Gabriel (Pale Highway), Katie (Clay Tongue: A Novelette), and Ethan (The Cage Legacy).

It’s interesting to imagine what the conversations would be like, if all of them were in the same room: aliens, slugs, golems, and more would certainly come up. Plus, how would they feel about this strange “author” fellow, the invisible figure who seems to keep orchestrating such painful and disastrous circumstances for them? Hmm…

Intraterrestrial: Available on Amazon

Intraterrestrial Pale Highway Clay Tongue Cage Legacy books paperback Nicholas Conley author sci-fi

The INTRATERRESTRIAL paperback has arrived!

Hey, paperback readers! The UFO carrying the paperback edition of Intraterrestrial has finally touched down on Earth, and materialized in physical form. Get your copy on Amazon, straight from the stars. Here’s the link:

Get your copy here!

Adam Helios is a bully magnet without many friends. When he starts hearing a voice that claims to come from the stars, he fears he’s losing his mind, so he withdraws even further. On the way home from a meeting at the school, he and his parents are involved in a horrible car crash. With his skull cracked open, Adam’s consciousness is abducted by the alien who has been speaking to him for months. After surviving the wreck with only minor scratches, Camille Helios must deal with her guilt over the accident that left her husband badly injured and her son in a coma. When the doctor suggests letting Adam go, Camille refuses to stop fighting for her son’s life. Lost among galaxies, Adam must use his imagination to forge a path home before his body dies on the operating table. But even if he does return to Earth, he may end up locked inside a damaged brain forever.

Intraterrestrial Nicholas Conley sci-fi book aliens tbi brain injury

Intraterrestrial is nominated for #CoverOfTheMonth

Intraterrestrial has rolled right into the first round of AllAuthor’s #CoverOfTheMonth contest for February, where members of the public can vote for their favorite covers for new releases of the past month.

Now, obviously, I love the cover for Intraterrestrial, which was designed by Streetlight Graphics. I’m still amazed by it, and I can’t wait to see what it’ll look like on a paperback. Of course, being the author and all, I might be a bit biased—but seriously, I think the cover really captures the heart of this story.

If you agree, and are interested in helping fly Intraterrestrial into Round #2 of the contest, place your vote at AllAuthor’s online contest. No registration required.

Vote for the cover here!

Intraterrestrial Nicholas Conley sci-fi book aliens tbi brain injury

New Book Release: INTRATERRESTRIAL

For an author, days like today are the ones you dream about.

The creative process always starts with a flash of lightning: that first moment whereupon an idea occurs to you, and you take on the heavy responsibility of bringing it to life.  Then, there’s that frenetic feeling—excitement meets anxiety, happiness meets fear—as the story you’ve been carrying inside you slowly empties out onto the page. You work on it for longer than you ever imagined. Weeks. Months. Years. You nourish it, you love it, you loathe it, you go through all of these emotions, but you always, always keep plugging away at it, letting it flow together. You experience tears, you experience laughter, the characters become friends, the locations become real. You let the story grow and change, and then—finally—you put it out into the world. At which point, it’s no longer “your” story anymore: now, it belongs to the readers. And that’s exactly how it should be.

These are the days where you remember why it’s all so, so worth it. As of today, February 16th, the ebook edition of Intraterrestrial has officially landed on Earth.

Get your ebook copy of Intraterrestrial here on Amazon today. If you prefer reading your ebooks on a Nook, then snag it here on Barnes & Noble. You can also find it on iTunes, Google Play, and Kobo. Choose whichever format you prefer; the aliens won’t mind one bit. Just make sure to grab it while it’s hot, before their UFO takes off again!

To all of you reading this, thank you for your support, whether it’s through comments, emails, Tweets, or what have you. Seriously, you folks are awesome. I hope you all enjoy reading Intraterrestrial, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, theories, and speculations!

Also, for all you paperback fans: don’t worry! The hard copy will be coming soon, and I’ll let you all know when it does.

Intraterrestrial Nicholas Conley sci-fi book aliens tbi brain injury

Now available on Amazon!

Adam Helios is a bully magnet without many friends. When he starts hearing a voice that claims to come from the stars, he fears he’s losing his mind, so he withdraws even further. On the way home from a meeting at the school, he and his parents are involved in a horrible car crash. With his skull cracked open, Adam’s consciousness is abducted by the alien who has been speaking to him for months.

After surviving the wreck with only minor scratches, Camille Helios must deal with her guilt over the accident that left her husband badly injured and her son in a coma. When the doctor suggests letting Adam go, Camille refuses to stop fighting for her son’s life.

Lost among galaxies, Adam must use his imagination to forge a path home before his body dies on the operating table. But even if he does return to Earth, he may end up locked inside a damaged brain forever.

Intraterrestrial alien meme night sky looking up Nicholas Conley Adam Helios Red Adept sci-fi science fiction ufo

 

The Aliens are Coming…

Just a few more days until the ebook version of Intraterrestrial is available, on January 16th! In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys a happy Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Come back on Tuesday, when Intraterrestrial officially lands on Earth!

Intraterrestrial alien meme night sky looking up Nicholas Conley Adam Helios Red Adept sci-fi science fiction ufo

In the meantime, the early reviews are starting to come in! Here are a couple snippets from Goodreads…

“Are the Star Voice/alien/journey through outer (and inner) space real, then? It doesn’t matter. The author’s stunning use of imagery brings both the fantastical space scenes and the harsh reality of the hospital to life.” – J.L. Gribble

alien sky weird ufo nicholas conley intraterrestrial

“Real life issues of how to handle self esteem, anxiety, and overcome obstacles while still being a teenager mixed in with medicine, science, and fantasy.”– Stacie Boren

 

Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley: Coming January 16th