Alone, Comments and Questions

Martha Fawcett says…

Weeks before beginning the book Alone, I was haunted by the thought of a woman who had isolated herself in space for eighty-one years and yet somehow reemerges to resume life. I had no plot, no characters, no title. Not too far into the creation of Alone,  a feeling of excited anticipation kept pushing me forward. Something important was going to happen to Mellé. Then, like in classic mythological imaginings of self-creation, she gives a piece of herself (her DNA) to a genetic engineer and the magnificent Michael springs forth from a drop of her blood

February 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm, Bill says…

I love the transition that Mellé goes through. Is she based on a real person or event? Can you tell me more about her?

Reply, February 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm, Martha Fawcett says…

No one character, including Mellé is based on a real person. I wrote Alone in the third person, which gave me some distance to hang above the fray and observe. Writing in the third person allows the writer to create scenes where the protagonist is absent, but it is more difficult to get inside a character’s head from the distance of the third person. Somewhere in the middle of writing Alone, I had an intense urge to write a book in the first person and I now prefer to write from this perspective. The writer and reader become the protagonist in the thick of the action. Thoughts that pass through the protagonist’s mind become a shared and intimate experience with the reader.

Mellé undoubtedly is a cobbled together archetype from the recesses of my mind, but the theme of “abandonment” is so universal, everyone has experienced it. In Mellé’s case, her mother died young (feminine guidance was missing from her life; so the male example becomes paramount in her thinking). Her father was an alcoholic, history professor who gave up caring about anything after his wife died. Mellé interpreted her mother’s death and her father’s capitulation as her own abandonment. I can see Mellé’s father a few months after his wife’s death. It’s Sunday afternoon and he has been drinking since Friday night. The house is a mess and dirty dishes are in the sink. He tells Mellé and her little brother, Kellin, “You need to grow up and take some responsibility for keeping this house in order.” Mellé takes over the job of caring for the house and her brother Kellin too. All she knows is abandonment, so when she runs away, she leaves a note pinned to the refrigerator (a place where we keep things cold). Mellé is nagged by guilt so the cycle of trying to create her ideals of family begins again and that is where Alone begins.

February 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm, Penelope asks…

Do you think you could really fall in love with an android?

Reply, February 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm, Martha Fawcett says…

How open is your mind to the possibilities of the future? If you are a person that judges others by the labels attached to them, then you probably are not going to get close enough to an android to fall in love with one. Labels attempt to limit and define, they are an easy way for the tribal mind (or current, accepted social order) to quickly identify something or someone and relay the acceptable/unacceptable decision to the group. The individual always must do the work to escape the tribal mind. Those who lack curiosity, are complacent, or allow fear of the tribe to rule their lives, will not not escape unless truth takes pity upon them and throws them into a situation as it did to Melle.

Escaping the tribal mindset is the theme of one of my favorite science fiction films, Alien Nation/Enemy Mine. A soldier from Earth crashlands on an alien world and comes face to face with an enemy soldier. The enemy is a reptile. Horrors! We all remember when Captain Kirk and the reptile Gorn have a slow motion fight scene on an alien world (One would think the Gorn reptile would be faster on such a bright sunny day). In both cases, strange things happen when Humans find themselves outside the influence of the tribal mind. The labels their separate societies established as truth, quickly falls apart. This is not a new story; this is a classic archetypal story and everyone knows what the outcome will be after the few opening scenes. This plot appeals to Humans because we all know it is true. We’ve all been given the gift of being in this situation. We meet someone beyond the noise of the herd, someone we once regarded as an enemy, taboo, an asshole and we find another being, someone like ourselves.

In Alien Nation/Enemy Mine, the Human and Reptile soldiers develop an authentic brotherly regard for each other. If that’s possible, then how much more compelling will it be for a Human to fall in love with an android or biodroid? When it becomes possible to create advanced androids and biodroids, one of the first things Humans will address will be esthetics. They will be beautiful; we will take pride in them and perhaps even regard them as our children. We will attempt to install our tribal mindset into them by giving them “prime directives” that will be difficult for them to overcome. In Alone, the biodroid Kyoto tells Melle, “My prime directive to love, to make sure Mr. Crysto happy and to serve well. Everything in programming fall under sub-heading after love. With Mr. Crysto gone, all purpose for living gone. Do you understand Mellé? A war go on inside Kyoto now—a war between programming and self-survival. Kyoto see much more now than see yesterday. Maybe tomorrow see even more. See now that Mr. Crysto thought Kyoto cheap imitation of real woman. Mr. Crysto love you. Miss Mellé accomplish what Kyoto could not do in seven year.”

Androids will be assembled into forms to serve specific purposes. If what is needed is a Human form, I can see whole industries created around “the quality and consideration of android esthetics.” In some nightmare of the future, I see Bert Parks, hosting the Miss America Android Pageant. All the judges would be genetic engineers with corporate ties. The problem with androids will not be in their lack of beauty, brains, or sexual attractiveness, but their innards. They are not biological. I’m a true believe in “direct experience” so I believe androids will never quite comprehend the chaos in the biological brain.

The biggest sexual temptation for biological being will be biodroids. Biodroids will have superior brain power, the ability to download and access huge amounts of information, while still needing to deal with their flesh and their feelings. Add to this package of attributes, the ability of a genetic engineer to recreate any physical feature in that biodroid that might strike the fancy of the creator. The line will be so thin between biodroids and biological beings, the only distinguishing difference might be, the intentions of the parents or genetic engineer that created the biodroid. In the future, one of the vital pieces of information on our medical forms might be, “Were you incubated in a womb or a nativity vat?”

If we expect to continue our explorations into space, we will need these genetically altered creatures. It’s painfully obvious that Humans of our ilk are not equipped to withstand extended periods of space travel. We can send androids or perhaps, we can modify ourselves through genetic engineering so some part of us might continue into the future. Today we ask, “What happened to the Mayans? Did beings come through the Cygnus Rift and carry them away?” The Mayans are still here; you can see them in the faces of the people of Central America. Someday, people of the future might ask, “What happened to Humans?” We may not look as we do now; but I have every hope that we will still be here in a form that best suits our environment.

[email protected], Chrystal asks…

Now that Mellé has reemerged to resume life, will she also resume aging? Alone ends on a note of new beginnings for Mellé and with resumption of aging, she will no longer have an eternity to accomplish all that she wishes. But mustn’t she conform to the natural laws confining all living beings?

Reply, 2012/03/22 @ 12:53 PM,  Martha Fawcett says…

Mellé is subject to the natural laws of this universe, but for some strange reason she was granted a brief reprieve. When she first lands on the planet Calypso, she discovers that her menstrual cycle has resumed. How is this possible when essentially she is 113 years old? She is like the last rose of summer that the frost has overlooked. Something is off balance in her life and she is out of sync with the universe. Mellé has spent 81 years alone in space yet still cannot reconcile her view of reality. Her only hobby is taking pictures which she “stores away in pretty boxes.” She is dissatisfied with her pictures because they are lifeless. Reality moves on, but leaves a snapshot of itself behind as evidence that it once was there.

Mellé’s resuming menstrual cycle is symbolic of her physical resurrection; it’s the beginning of a cleansing process that will “clean the slate” and readjust her view of reality and bring  her closer to truth. When Michael joins Mellé’s life, he will tell her, “Mysterious happenings occur to remind us that reality is much odder than we assume.” It is a gentle reminder to drop her assumptions because her present view of reality is about to collide with truth.

Mellé eventually moves to Earth and begins a life with Crysto Weaver whom she will marry. I know both these characters extremely well so I know how their marriage will evolve. Until now, Mellé and Crysto have followed different paths and their meeting at first seems like happenstance, but need brings them together.  Mellé arrives on Calypso just as Crysto is leaving; yet when they meet, the attraction is immediate on both sides and keeps them together. Behind the need and sexual attraction each has vital wisdom the other still needs to refine their evolving picture of reality.

Their marriage will endure and both will live full rich lives. Crysto’s complete devotion to Mellé will earn her undying respect and will have a great influence over her view of reality in lives to come. I believe in the evolution of consciousness through different lifeforms so Mellé might not personally have an eternity to accomplish all she wishes; but, her core beliefs will be pass on to her progeny who will either reject those beliefs or accept them and even refine them. I explore many of these themes in future books as my characters wrestle with the legacies left to them by their ancestors. Mellé and Crysto will have two children together. Their daughter’s name is Lily and their son’s name is Micah. Lily Weaver will have a daughter named Daisy Louisa Smith and Daisy Louisa will have a daughter named Jane Hibernian Smith. Jane Hibernian Smith is the protagonist in Together, book two of The Janaforma Trilogy.

As the Janaforma of the future evolve, they will test the natural laws of the universe. They discover that certain laws are absolute and others are mutable. They learn the most stringent laws guard the biggest secrets to our universe, which can only be understood through our continuing evolution.

Thanks for allowing me to revisit these characters. I have great respect for them and their journey. They have taught me by example.

Submitted 2012/02/22 at 8:30 PM, by Adam…

I don’t think Humans are programmed like androids. Humans have evolved to be able to grasp at moments of consciousness. History could be interpreted as a record of Humans grasping at these moments. Why should an andriod’s jumped programming persuaded me to think that androids, in some distant future, are sharing in our consciousness to an extent where we consider them equal?

Reply 2012/02/24 at 10:30 PM, by Martha Fawcett

The whole idea for me revolves around accepting and honoring diversities. Humans did not invent consciousness nor do we have exclusive dominion over it. Consciousness is bigger than Humanity and can’t be defined or limited. For all we know, consciousness might be a galactic cloud passing through the Orion Spur. A long time ago, some scrawny Humans emerged from their cave and got caught in the dust. That evening they discovered fire and the next morning they discovered how to create crude tools. If the galactic cloud of consciousness moves on, we might wake up dumb again.

You are right about the grasping. This, I believe, is the consciousness within us yearning to connect with unbound consciousness or our galactic cloud. I see this yearning as universal, a prerequisite for higher consciousness. If this yearning occurs in the brains of androids and they jump their programming, are we going to become the oppressors and deny androids their rights? Humanity will create androids and biodroids and they will be uncomfortably like us (better to highlight our denial). Alien races will create replicas of themselves, that will look and act like them. Our problem in the future will not be whether we consider these lifeforms our equals. The question will be, will they consider us their equal?

Submitted 2012/02/24 at 10:15 PM, by Adam…

I don’t think Humans are programmed like androids. Humans have evolved to be able to grasp at moments of consciousness. History could be interpreted as a record of Humans grasping at these moments. Why should an andriod’s jumped programming persuaded me to think that androids, in some distant future, are sharing in our consciousness to an extent where we consider them equal?

Reply 2012/02/25 at 8:22 PM. by Martha Fawcett


In the preamble to the American Constitution it says. “…to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” My own life experience tells me that blessings can come and go as easily as inspiration. But the high rhetoric of the Constitution attempts to set up an atmosphere where the “blessings of liberty,” can be so ingrained in our way of thinking that liberty becomes  our natural state. When we learn about the months of work it took to write this document, I believe, the wording was not an accident. Our forefathers knew that liberty was fragile.

We live in a new time. We no longer say, “All men are created equal.” Notice in chapter 3 of Alone when Lady Mau mentions Thomas Jefferson and the American Constitution, she says, “‘All men are created equal.’”
“Only men?” asks Toshcinto.
“The word man or men was a metaphor in Jefferson’s lifetime for all life,” Lady Mau replies.

The American Constitution is not perfect. No sooner was it written than groups were excluded, women, slaves, native Americans, people of color, non-property owners. In some states, literacy tests, poll taxes, and religious tests were legislated into law. We still live in a country where gay/lesbians are denied full rights. So who will be denied their freedom in the future? In Alone, Mellé and Kyoto debate this very question. “What’s your criteria for determining if an android is ready for freedom?” asks Mellé.
“That easy to answer,” said Kyoto. “If android overcome programming, then android deserve freedom. Android not overcoming programming, no more than machine.”
In similar fashion, I might say, “If a Human overcomes its programming, then that Human deserves freedom. A Human not overcoming its programming is no more than a hunk of biological meat.”

Kyoto’s intelligence is a synergistic outpouring from the harmony of her parts. She is not a toaster, a car, or a bicycle that must wait for a sentience hand to plug her into an outlet. As we learn more about life on our own planet, our eyes are opening to greater realities. We see sentience (intelligence, social organization, and empathy) everywhere we look, from the Community of great African elephants to the society of ants that crawl around our back doors. This is the perfect time for Humanity to open their eyes a little wider, to see that once sentience takes hold of a person, the demand  for freedom will not be far behind. Those demands always will challenge our denial and force  us to the point of greater and greater inclusion. We all are One.