The Eye of the Beholder

The Eye of the Beholder is a complete science fiction novel (~107,000 words, professionally edited). 

A Powerful Premise for Science Fiction: We live in astronomy's greatest age of discovery. The search for new worlds orbiting distant stars is now focused on billions of Earthlike exoplanets in the Milky Way. We’re trying to answer humanity’s most compelling question: are we alone in the Universe? Credible speculation about alien life requires the discipline of hard SF. Myriad possibilities are constrained by the laws of physics and Darwinian evolution. Nothing stirs the imagination more. 

Elevator Pitch: The leitmotif of The Eye of the Beholder is alien aesthetics. Schopenhauer said that all art forms are inferior to music. The desperate invading aliens, after traveling for a millennium, were surprised but unimpressed by human civilization. In a pivotal moment they experienced Bach’s “Little” Fugue in G-minor, which made them suspend their sudden, engineered ice age to conquer the planet. Climate control tech tripled the habitable land on Earth – which we then shared with the alien refugees (Syrians?).

Plot Summary: When sunlight dims, lunar Far Side astronomer & musical savant Cortez Cozby discovers an extraterrestrial starship hiding behind an iron asteroid. Only alien aesthetics can avert climate catastrophe and a war of extinction.

Psyche-3spark

Psyche Alien 
© GB Immega 2014
Crystal Sphere Space Suit; Communication via Spark-Gap Biological Radio

Synopsis: Astronomer and autistic savant, Cortez Cozby, can’t relate to people. But he doesn't have to, since his grand observatory is on Far Side on the Moon. Then, without warning, the sun dims—something has throttled sunlight to Earth. 

When he searches for the cause, Cortez finds an alien spaceship hiding behind the iron asteroid 16 Psyche. After a voyage of thousands of years in deep sleep hibernation, the ‘Psyche’ extraterrestrials—refugees from a doomed world—wake to discover a recent industrial civilization on Earth. Instead of a pristine planet, their destination world is now occupied by billions of humans. 

The Psyche aliens, exhausted and barely surviving, cannot return or go to a different star—they must make a new home on Earth. Too weak to risk a frontal attack, they create a cold catastrophe by using a cloud of space mirrors to reflect sunlight away from Earth. Cities starve when crops freeze in summer; civilization and society collapse. Cortez's estranged daughter, Astrid, an idealistic young astrophysicist in California, struggles to survive food riots and cultist vandals. Meanwhile, a counterattack with nuclear weapons fails to destroy the Psyches’ solar mirrors. 

Using his sensitive radio telescope, Cortez makes contact with a rogue alien similar to himself—marginalized, alone, and vulnerable. While decoding the tonal syntax of their musical language, Cortez befriends the mysterious creature. Alien aesthetics and a brave love of beauty in an implacable universe provide a common bond. Through an exchange of music and art, Cortez starts to understand not only how to relate to the aliens but also fellow humans, including his daughter. Cortez’s discovery leads to an ‘aesthetic offensive,’ where the best human art is transmitted to the aliens. The effort is temporarily successful—the sun shines briefly but freezing weather returns. The Psyches are impressed by human beauty but they need more than exquisite art to survive.

The isolated alien refugee visits Cortez on the Moon. The extraterrestrials are profoundly different from humans: crab-like carnivores, hermaphroditic cannibals, who communicate via electrical sparks to make biological radio. Cortez shelters Sparker, but he and the enemy alien are captured by the US military and taken to the old spaceport at Cape Canaveral. Sparker and Cortez are imprisoned in an abandoned warehouse in Florida’s now-frigid weather. Cortez provides the lexical key to decipher the Psyches’ musical language. While at the Cape, Sparker learns that his species has caused environmental disaster by freezing Earth. Eventually, with Cortez’ and Astrid’s help, Sparker sends a secret radio message to the alien mothership at 16 Psyche. The Psyche aliens respond by tipping the orbiting mirrors edgewise and allow the sun to shine normally again. 

Sparker requests to see the Atlantic Ocean and then breaks free and makes a dash for the water. Once submerged, Sparker undergoes metamorphosis and becomes a non-sentient adult, a sessile bag that spawns eggs into the ocean. Cortez and the Navy Seals immediately realize that the Psyche aliens have succeeded in invading Earth. Cortez has lost Sparker, his only friend, but instead assumes the task of rearing some of Sparker’s babies. A CIA black site is established at the Cape to study the Psyches. Cortez forms a relationship with exo-biologist, Paloma, thus completing his transformation from autistic savant to empathetic human. 

The Psyche mothership eventually reaches Earth orbit, a huge threat to the world. The Psyches request permission to establish colonies on Earth—this after wreaking environmental disaster and killing billions of innocent humans. However, the Psyches offer regional climate control as an incentive. Astrid agues that humans must agree to share the world with these terrifying alien creatures. Inconclusive discussion at the UN results in Saudi Arabia offering sanctuary, in return for making the Middle East green. The Psyches accept, but the colony is actually a concentration camp. Cortez and Paloma visit the colony and facilitate a Psyche escape into the Persian Gulf, thereby averting a greater diplomatic crisis and renewed war with the Psyches. 

The novel ends with Astrid facilitating global climate control. Cortez's friendship with the Psyches enables Astrid to lead the way out of the calamity, now applying alien solar mirror technology to re-warm the planet. But this comes at a price: humans must agree to share their world with these terrifying creatures. Can the Psyches be trusted? 

Appendices: Five science appendices are included to support the technical credibility of the novel (see Science Fiction Notes, next section). 

Major Themes explored in The Eye of the Beholder include: 

1. Character transformation; [Cortez’ character arc shows the humanizing influence of music and nurturing.];

2. Beauty and art can form a universal bridge between cultures, including humans and aliens; [Aesthetics are more important than technology or science.] 

3. The necessity of acceptance of the “other”; [Society is richer and better for tolerating and welcoming differing groups.] 

4. Life is precarious in a hostile universe; [Terrifying and destructive aliens nonetheless love beauty and struggle to survive.]; 

5. Geo-engineered global climate is inevitable; [If human society survives for another 100 years, we will control climate (but not weather).]

Two Sequels to The Eye of the Beholder have been outlined scene-by-scene:

Book 2: Light Fantastic; [The geopolitical and environmental consequences of climate control.]

Book 3: Garden of Earth; [A Psyche alien POV story of the colonization of Earth.]

© G.B. Immega 2014