Harlan Ellison deceased I have no mouth science fiction sci-fi author writer

R.I.P., Harlan Ellison

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

Harlan Ellison deceased I have no mouth science fiction sci-fi author writer

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

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

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

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

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

 

Alien Autopsy UFO roswell aliens weird footage

Extraterrestrial Aliens Should be Less Human, and More Alien

Okay, let’s be honest. If aliens are out there, whether they’re monitoring our world or flying around their own little corner of the cosmos, they probably aren’t hairless, bipedal primates like us. They might not even perceive the universe in the same way we do. And yeah, they definitely don’t speak English. So why is that in the vast majority of books, movies, and TV shows about aliens, they seem so much like human beings with unique skin tones, claws, or bigger heads?

Why aren’t aliens… more alien?

This exact thought was a huge part of what inspired me to write Intraterrestrial, my upcoming weird, emotional, psychedelic alien novel which will be floating your way later this month.

Star-Trek-Discovery-TKuvma-Klingon-Leader alien human

In most sci-fi media, “aliens” tend to resemble futuristic humans. Sure, maybe they have grey skin and tentacles, but the differences from us are relatively minor. Aliens still wear clothes or ceremonial armors, they still pilot metal ships, have families, and interact with the world using the same five senses. Alien technology, while usually more advanced than Earthling technology, is nonetheless quite similar to ours. (Though Giger’s hyper-sexualized designs in the Alien movies are a notable exception.)

Now, the reason that fictional aliens are so “human” is easy to understand. For one, humans have a tendency to try to imprint our image on everything, whether it’s finding human faces in wood grain (the pareidolia phenomenon), or believing that an omnipotent creator would resemble an old white guy with a big white beard.

This is also because from a storytelling perspective, it’s easier for readers and audiences to connect with “creatures” that resemble us. That’s why it’s easier to recognize the “life” in an animal than it is a plant, even though both are equally valid lifeforms. The use of “human” aliens has been a necessary ingredient in many important media franchises, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Marvel Universe. That’s because the “aliens” in these tales aren’t there to explore the sci-fi idea of aliens: these “aliens” are representative of humans, so it suits the story to make them as human as possible. This aspect is particularly strong in Star Trek, which uses a utopian “Federation” of alien races to represent the ideal of humankind’s many races/cultures/societies one day working out their differences and living in harmony. It’s powerful stuff.

Ufo flying saucer nicholas conley aliens

So, I’m not criticizing the use of “human” aliens, because they serve a valid narrative function for many stories. However, I am asking: shouldn’t our stories have room for both types of alien, both human and…. less human?

And furthermore, can’t we see more stories featuring inhuman aliens, which don’t simply write the beings off as “monsters,” or “beasts,” and instead work to engender audience compassion and connection for creatures that aren’t just like us?

 

I say this, because many stories demonize inhuman creatures, and that’s problematic, because it signifies how we feel about (and treat) animals, plants, and other lifeforms that don’t have smiling faces. For example, when I used talking slugs as characters in my last novel, Pale Highway,  I did so hoping that it might make at least one reader reexamine these “slimy” creatures, and perhaps come away with more respect for them. Slugs might be totally different from us, but they are a valid form of life. If my story convinced even one person to never pour salt on a poor slug again, then hey, that’s an achievement I’m proud of.

Anyway, getting back to the central point, depictions of truly otherworldly aliens—particularly more sympathetic portrayals—are rare. Off the top of my head, the most noteworthy example of this in recent times was the film Arrival, where the Heptapods were seen as complex, intelligent beings of a truly alien background. The other example that comes to mind are the “Scramblers” in the novel Blindsight. While these creatures certainly weren’t “sympathetic,” due to their total lack of free will and/or emotions, the novel itself presented their strange nature as a plot point, and an examination of what our “free will” really is.

 

Arrival aliens ufo space science fiction ship.png

Now, why am I interested in seeing more alien-like aliens? A few reasons. One, it’s largely unexplored terrain. It’s a big, cosmic horror (or mesmerizing wonder) of possibilities that fiction has only begun to tap.

Two, because I think it’s an important way to break through the myopic nature of human perception. I think that telling stories wherein the aliens are distinctly not-human—but are still viable creatures in their own right—could help break down barriers in human society, help tear down prejudices, and make it easier for people to relate to others who aren’t like them.  After all, the “other” is not the enemy.

alien sky weird ufo nicholas conley intraterrestrial

For Intraterrestrial, the key difference I wanted to explore was the notion of perception. The main character, Adam Helios, is a 13 year old boy with a brain injury: this injury causes his perception of the world to differ significantly from a “normal” person.

However, the aliens who contact him perceive the universe in an even stranger way: while us Earthlings use five senses, the aliens do not possess senses. They explore the universe psychically, using creativity as a “sense.” They are so incomprehensible to our hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, and sound that the aliens can only appear before Adam by “creating” sensory constructs of themselves, with his imagination.

A large part of what inspired me to write Intraterrestrial was my desire, both as a writer and as a reader, to see fictional aliens that are more “alien,” instead of just seeming like futuristic humans. This book will be my own contribution to the cause I’ve described above, and I look forward to you folks reading it, and letting me know if my aliens are “alien” enough!

Intraterrestrial Nicholas Conley sci-fi book aliens tbi brain injury

 

 

Clay Tongue Nicholas Conley fantasy

Clay Tongue is up for an award! Also: Intraterrestrial release date confirmed!

So, I have a couple of cool updates to share. First up, Clay Tongue: A Novelette is up for an award!

Clay Tongue fantasy novelette Nicholas Conley

This past weekend, I received notice from Rosie Amber of Rosie’s Book Review Team that her reviewers had nominated Clay Tongue as a finalist for the #RBRT 2016 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Award.  First of all, if any of those reviewers are reading this, I want to offer a huge thank you, and say that I’m honored to receive the nomination; though Clay Tongue is one of my smaller pieces, it’s also a highly personal one that I worked on for years, so it’s touching to know that people connected with Clay Tongue on such a deep level.

Secondly, for those of you who have read Clay Tongue, and who may happen to believe that this little book deserves the award—well, voting is open to the public!  You can place your vote for Clay Tongue at the following link:

The #RBRT Awards: Vote Here!

In the meantime, for those of you who haven’t yet read Clay Tongue: A Novelette, there’s no better time than now, while the holidays are in full swing. Check it out here, on Amazon!

Finally, for those of you who’ve been keeping tabs on Intraterrestrial, my big upcoming novel about aliens, traumatic brain injuries, and the perils of growing up, I’ve got some great news to share: we have a release date! The ebook version of Intraterrestrial will be arriving early next year, on January 16th, 2018. Consider it a New Year’s gift.  Note, the paperback release may have a slightly different release date, so stay tuned. Anyway, that means the new book is about a month away, so buckle your seat belts, and watch this space for lots of teasers, story details, and alien/UFO chitchat over the coming weeks!

alien sky weird ufo nicholas conley intraterrestrial

The ebook version of Intraterrestrial, by Nicholas Conley, will arrive on Earth on January 16, 2018.

Intraterrestrial Nicholas Conley sci-fi book aliens tbi brain injury

Cover Reveal: INTRATERRESTRIAL

It’s here. Yes, this is it. I’ve been dropping little hints about Novel #3 for a long time, but up until now, the time hasn’t been right to pull back the curtain and reveal what the book is about. Well, I’m insanely excited to announce that the time has finally come.

Here it is, everyone! I’m finally ready to introduce you to my next novel, Novel #3, the book I’ve been working on all this time: Intraterrestrial.

Intraterrestrial

Intraterrestrial Nicholas Conley sci-fi book

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.

space

Just as with Pale Highway, the plot of Intraterrestrial is informed by my real life experiences working in healthcare. It’s a story about the reality of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), about the nature of consciousness, about what medical tragedy does to a family… but it’s also a story about hope, finding oneself, and the utmost importance of imagination.

I’ve been officially working on Intraterrestrial ever since I wrapped up work on Pale Highway, but the base concept behind this story has been following me for many, many years, tugging at me, itching for release. As always, it feels surreal to finally put it out there, this experience that has been with me for so long, this story that I’ve been thinking about for so long — and I seriously can’t wait for you all to read it. Seriously, I can’t wait!

In the meantime, stay tuned and I’ll be posting updates. Oh yeah, and as far as a release date? How does this sound:

Winter 2017