I’ve written a new short story to mark #AlienDay426, and you can read it completely free right here.

eighth-passengerI decided on April 9 that I wanted to write an Alien-themed short story and release it on Alien Day (April 26). It’s been an interesting challenge: 16 days to get a short story from conception to (self) publication. I literally finished the manuscript on the evening of April 25. Close. But a lot of fun.

From the outset I wanted to avoid any of the standard tropes that have persisted throughout the ‘expanded universe’. This ruled out a story about marines battling an army of aliens, or investigating a disturbance on a remote outpost, or on a space station. it also meant I didn’t want to write a story about the crew of a spaceship, or a research colony, getting overwhelmed after stumbling across an ‘unusual discovery’.

At the same time, I wanted to write something that definitely had that ‘Alien feel’ to it, which meant a single alien, mostly unseen, in a contained environment. It meant something that came back to the concept of the alien being a spectre of instant death, and not mere cannon fodder for a battery of smart rifles.

I’m quite pleased with what I came up with. It doesn’t exactly break new ground, but it’s different enough from the various other Alien stories I’ve read (mostly in the comics) that I hope it offers a slightly new perspective.

In writing this I’ve been highly inspired by Alien: Isolation and, to a less obvious extent, by a recent article revisiting the Blade Runner PC game. Both make heavy use of the iconography of their respective sources, while endeavouring to tell another story. To that end, there’ll be plenty for fans of the original Alien to recognise in The Eighth Passenger, even though we’re a long way from the Nostromo …

You can read The Eighth Passenger, free, over on Smashwords.