I haven’t updated this blog in a really long time. Life gets in the way, I suppose. This post will be the first of many in which I publish, piece-by-piece, what will probably be the most challenging piece of writing I’ve ever written. It’s a novel, and something that I’ve been slaving over for a very long time.
This first installment is what I’m labeling Forward V. 2.0.1. It’ll probably get many more edits and revisions as time goes on, but this is the latest version. Please, take some time to read it and give me your thoughts. There’s not a lot of context right now, but it’ll become clearer what the book is really about as time goes on.
Forward by Freya H’val r’ Earth’van
Congratulations! You have made the questionable decision to pay for a book that’s about my life. And what can I say about my life? There are a lot of people who think they know more about me than I do, and on my laziest days I’d rather just defer to them than answer that question. If you’re human, it’s likely that your grandparents would have considered me a troublemaker. “Good riddance,” croaked your grandfather, “Earth doesn’t need some stinking half-alien to rock the boat.” If you’re h’tro, then I am very surprised you’re reading this because I didn’t know anyone on that miserable mud ball could read English.
I guess that’s where I should start. My name is Freya, and I’m half-human and half-h’tro. For you Earthlings, h’tro are aliens from the planet H’tro. Yeah, I know, original and totally not conceited. It’s totally not like what things would be like if humans named their planet Human. I was born on H’tro to my human father and h’tro mother, but I was raised on Earth in the City-State of Detroit. Perhaps the first thing you notice about me when you see me is that my skin is olive green and I’m seven and a half feet tall, but it’s more likely you’ll notice my four red eyes. But enough about me.
It took no small amount of cajoling by Neal Stephens, the editor of this book, to get me to sit down and write this forward. I only agreed to do it once he promised that he wouldn’t alter anything that I wrote, except to make minor corrections (he has, apparently, found some of my grammar problematic, and in response to that I say, “Relax, Kneel. I did not even try to hard to make this hard four you to do edit so why are you angry for?” ).
Now that I got that out of my system, I can get to the promise that I made to Neal to take this forward seriously at some point. I’ll admit that Neal deserves at least that much for all of the hard work he put into this biography. I recall many nights in which our talks stretched long into the night, often into the early morning hours.
Here’s a secret that you should know about Neal, dear reader: the man has a weakness for Chinese food and cold pizza. Now prepare to be scandalized. Sometimes he puts the Chinese food on the pizza in some horrible abomination of do-it-yourself fusion cuisine. That has nothing to do with my story or this book, but I figure if you’re going to trust anyone to compile a book about your life, trust the person that won’t edit his deep and abiding love of General Tso’s pizza out of this forward. (Consider that a dare, Neal.)
Neal is a person of superior patience, and I knew as his project took shape that of all of the people who have attempted to tell my story and failed, he could actually pull it off. Too often previous would-be biographers were biased against me for political reasons, or guilty of the graver sin of being biased in favor of me (also for political reasons). This describes a pattern in my relationship with humans: I am an object for them to poke, prod, and revile. Maybe worst of all, I serve as a living metaphor that they can use to blather on pompously about the human condition.
This book shows, I feel, the most care in its attempts to reckon with the events of my life and what they mean without venturing too far into self-serving commentary or serving an agenda. Really, the only agenda that should be served in these pages is mine, and right now that agenda is feeding my cat and shoving General Tso’s pizza into my mouth.
So let’s get back to my previous question: what can I say about life? Maybe something like how life flows down the river of time, and the destination is influenced by the source only by means of providing a starting place. The beginning cannot control obstructions, turns, eddies, or the tumult of rapids. The path we take depends on our ability to navigate hazards. We control our destiny as a sailor does a ship.
What a load of pseudo-poetic schlock.
If we compare life to a river, our journey is determined by forces that are largely outside of our control, acted on by the laws of nature. We may steer clear of jagged rocks, or survive being bashed against them, but we are meant to allow the river to take us where it will. More importantly, the source, from where we come, does influence the path. Some of us might not want to admit it, but we’re the effect of a number of causes, and those causes aren’t isolated in one point in time and space. My family was in the boat with me, their influence felt long after they had fallen out and into the river. Lost to time.
When Neal first approached me with the proposal for this book I was skeptical that he could convey my like’s story without serving an agenda, like so many before him. I rejected the idea outright. He was annoying, however, and sent me some rough drafts. I read words that I hadn’t read since I left Earth that were written by the hand of my father. I read Neal’s transcript of an interview my brother Scott gave to defend me against specious claims and sensational reporting. Neal sold me on this book when I saw that he had reprinted them without offering unwanted, obtrusive commentary.
Over the months that we communicated it became clear that he trusted the reader to make their own judgements about me, my family, and my life. He scoured old archives in Detroit and found interviews of my brother, father, and step-mother that had been conducted as part of a documentary that never made it off of the cutting-room floor. When he started to piece the parts together in a coherent narrative, and I saw him give the story life, I gladly turned over my own journals and made a special trip to Earth to sit with him and speak about my earliest memories over General Tso’s pizza.
Neal would be loath to admit it, but he deserves the credit. When my cat wasn’t setting off his allergies I was stealing his last slice of pizza, and, perhaps, being too harsh in my criticisms. Despite the passage of time and my charming sense of humor, I still find myself struggling in deep pools of anger. I see no reason to hide this as the book shines an intimate light onto my life that most people would probably shy away from if it were directed at them.
The final product gives, I think, the most accurate representation of the events of my life of any biography about me so far. No story is without flaws, but the shortcomings of this book help to give it context. The records are woefully incomplete, and areas that have been supplemented with my own perspectives, journals, and recollections are where my bias seeps into the narrative of my life. The consequence is that it provides unfiltered insight into how the events impacted me then, and how they have shaped who I am now.
And I won’t allow you to labor under any misapprehension: I do not consider myself human, nor do I consider myself h’tro. I have genes from both, but I am neither. I was once called a Hybrid Human, but I firmly reject that label and all that it entails. My hope is that human readers will approach this with an open mind, and continue the progress made in the last couple of decades to reject the divisive, racist politics of old humanism.
To be a human being is to assert what a human being is, and that assertion is contingent and based on history, time, and culture. Once I was considered to be other than human, and humanity was withheld from me. When being human requites no assertion that withholds humanity from me—when the term Hybrid Human is exposed for the racist construct that it is—I will lay down my proverbial sword. Until then, I chart my own path.
In these pages you will not find a logical Mr. Spock to set against the compassionate humanism of a Captain Kirk, or a human-worshipping Time Lord named The Doctor. You will not find an alien who comes to reject their native ways for the “superior” humanistic values of mankind, serving as a mirror for an anthropocentric gaze. You will find an outcast and a reject who embraced the otherness thrust upon her by circumstance and time.
Freya H’val r’ Earth’van
September 23, 2456
 I keep my promises, Freya. -Neal
 Some might say dedicated and persistent. -Neal