Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog


    May 12, 2014



    writing in notebook

    As many of you already know, Colleen recently started her very own Houck Book Club, a place where we could virtually meet to read a featured book each month and then discuss it together on Goodreads. Since then, Colleen has decided to offer her fans something more!

    She is starting a writer’s club called



    Once a month, she will invite a guest to write an article, something unique and special to them and post it here on her website.

    To kick things off, she’s chosen Stacey Kade, author of Young Adult science fiction. So for those of you who love sci-fi, this blog is just for you! 

    Last month was our first book club where we chose the story written by Stacey Kade entitled, The Rules.


    Here’s a little about the book if you haven’t read it:

    1. Never trust anyone.
    2. Remember they are always searching.
    3. Don’t get involved.
    4. Keep your head down.
    5. Don’t fall in love.
    Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”
    But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…


    So. . . introducing Stacey Kade on the subject of ALIENS!




    By: Stacey Kade

    A couple of weeks ago, during our Goodreads chat, Colleen asked me, in regard to THE RULES: Why aliens?

    To answer that question, I had to sort of ramble first about science fiction and humanity and our fears, and Colleen was kind enough to let me do so in the chat. And then she invited me here to blog about it.
    One of the things I love most about science fiction is the ability it gives us to reflect on our culture and issues at a distance. If I were to write a story focusing exclusively on environmental pollution, euthanasia, or systemic racism here on Earth, it would likely be dismissed as “preachy” and “the author having an agenda.” However, set that same cultural dilemma/issue on a planet in a solar system far, far away, dress our planet-dwellers in nifty futuristic tunics, and put the Enterprise in orbit, and you’ve got pretty much every episode of Star Trek. 🙂 (And I say that with love, as someone who has seen every episode of TOS and TNG.) I’m not saying science fiction was created to be a commentary on humans, just that it happens as we attempt to comment on other, made-up cultures.

    And that’s a good thing. That distance gives us the space to consider who we want to be, now and in the future, by examining both our desires and our fears, as a people. As, well, Earthlings. (Or, Terrans, if you prefer).

    Aliens, in particular, usually represent our fears–our fear of the unknown (Alien, Aliens, etc.), our fear of being unable to protect the people and places we love (Independence Day, War of the Worlds, etc.) or our fear of being deceived and manipulated (V, among others.)
    By and large, aliens are “the bad guys” in most of our popular science fiction movies; they are the force we must rise against and defeat, despite the odds being against us. And there is a certain logic to that. Any society that has developed the technology to be able to reach us, in this distant corner of the galaxy, will be far more advanced than we are. And, as Stephen Hawking has pointed out, that might not end so well for us.
    However, when I sat down to write THE RULES, I wanted to approach the whole alien/fear/commentary on our culture thing from a different angle. I wanted to explore the idea of “humanity” as a general concept–as in “the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence” (–rather than something exclusive to actual humans.I wanted to flip the paradigm. I wanted to have the same elements–fear, human beings, aliens, Earth, etc.–but use them in a different way. In THE RULES, it’s the humans who are the ones to fear. Ariane, my alien/human genetic experiment, was created in a lab by people who want to own her, use her. For the betterment and protection of mankind, of course. Her desires don’t matter.Human beings are capable of great compassion and mercy…and terrible atrocities at the same time. Movies like E.T., The Fifth Element, and Starman are examples. Stories like these show that we are, at times, afraid of ourselves, even more than aliens. We are afraid of what we can do. What we have done, in the name of power, money, security, even just scientific curiosity.
    As Dr. Ian Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, one my favorite movies and a huge inspiration for the genetic engineering aspect of THE RULES, “Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

    I think we tell ourselves these types of stories more as cautionary tales. “Remember, we don’t want to go so far that we lose sight of who we want to be.”
    In my story, I also wanted Ariane’s “alienness” to be a metaphor for what it’s like to be in high school. From what I recall, it’s a lonely time, when you often feel isolated, unsure of who you are, what’s expected of you in society, and how to fit in. It is, in effect, yet another kind of fear. And it’s been fascinating to see how other authors/creators take the same metaphorical connection between aliens and fear and use it differently. For example, in most popular YA science fiction books and movies, where romance between an alien and a human is a factor, the girl is cast as the human and the boy as the alien. I suspect this plays to the “guy as hot loner, outside typical high school society” trope, which I LOVE, but I also think it works on a deeper level.
    The vast majority of consumers for these books and shows are, I would suspect, predominantly female. When you bring the human/alien element into play, it puts a fun and interesting slant on the dynamic. In this particular scenario, the guy really is from another planet, which makes his behavior and decisions difficult to understand at times, and yet he is still attractive in his “differentness.” I think that pretty much sums up the dilemma most girls face when entering the dating world in high school here on Earth, even if aliens AREN’T a part of the student body. 😉

    So, in short (TL;DR), look to the aliens in our science fiction stories/movies/TV to see what we truly fear; they are a reflection of our concerns far more than those of any, as-yet unknown society of beings.

    So, there you have it folks. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject of ALIENS or on subject you’d like to hear in the future!

    ~Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    writing with feather and ink



    This entry was posted in Articles, Featuring Authors, The Modern Ink Society.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.