Inspiration Behind The Alien Mind by V.L. Jennings

I'd like to welcome V.L. Jennings to Strands of Thought. She's here to share an excerpt and an interesting behind the story, story from her young adult sci-fi, The Alien Mind. Take it away, Virginia.

Rivi's eyes swept the launch crater to watch the hundreds of Aunantet and human children bustling around the ships.
“We're not all going, are we?” Rivi asked, her voice catching in her throat.
“No, dear,” Ankh answered. “Just you children and about fifty pre-selected Aunantet. The rest of us will stay. This is our home planet. We'll be fine.”
“Is something wrong?” a senior administrator asked, making his way over to Ankh.
“Not really,” Ankh answered, turning back to Rivi. “Rivi, you need to get in your ship now, with the others. The sooner we get you away from here, the safer you will be.”
Rivi nodded and then frowned, putting her hand to the side of her head as if she had a headache.
“Wait, Administrator!” Rivi exclaimed, worry etched across her face. “Does the main computer have the ability to shut down launches?”
“I think so, but—”
Rivi paled.
“What is wrong, Rivi?” Ankh asked.
“Call as many comp amalgamators as you can gather and meet me in the central computer room,” Rivi said, then ran off toward the double doors in the side of the crater that led back into the complex.
Ignoring the shouts calling her back to the launch arena, Rivi ran down corridor after corridor and through a few door-walls until she reached the complex's main computer. Not far behind, Ankh and Enuet entered, followed by the administrator and another Aunantet.
“Rivinaig, I could only find Enast,” the administrator replied as he came through the wall.
“What's going on?” Enast asked.
“We've got to work fast to keep the Aruk out of this system as long as possible so the ships can leave,” Rivi said.
“Rivi, you've got to go get on your ship with the other children,” Ankh exclaimed. “We'll take care of this.”
“I can't leave, Ankh. If I go, the ships will not be able to leave. Enast may be a full-grown Aunantet, but she cannot keep the Aruk out on her own. If you try to do it manually, it will be too slow. I can already feel the Aruk hacking into the system.”
Enast nodded in agreement, as she, too, began to feel the problem.
“All right. Go ahead,” Ankh responded.
Rivi closed her eyes and allowed her mind to amalgamate with the computer, her thoughts merging into the flow of data and calculations. As soon as she sensed Enast's presence, Rivi began to coordinate her defensive attack with the adult Aunantet's. Together, they closed down and repaired every attempt the Aruk comp amalgamators made at shutting down the launches. Rivi could tell that she and Enast were outnumbered when it came to defending the complex's computer systems. There were quite a few comp amalgamators on the Aruk's side trying to break into the computer. Rivi strained her mind to keep ahead of each attempt to sabotage the launch.
The complex began to shake and rattle as the Aruk began their attack, making it even harder for Rivi to concentrate. She struggled mentally to maintain her concentration and stay united with the computer's systems. Without warning, Rivi felt Enast reluctantly break away from the computer system and retreat into the safety of her own mind in exhaustion. Rivi, even more determined not to give up, sat down slowly on the cool floor, careful not to break her connection.
Rivi tapped into the computer's launch system to see how much longer it would be until all of the children's ships were launched. The slow speed of the launch worried Rivi. She didn't want to let anyone down. The Aruk comp amalgamators were increasing their fight to hack into the system. Rivi shuddered as the amalgamators resorted to trying to attack her mind with computer viruses as well while she fought to protect the computer system.
Finally, a particularly large blast shook the complex, forcing Rivi to break her concentration and pull out of the computer. As she retreated to her own mind, Ankh put a steadying hand on her shoulder and pointed to the statistic screen hanging on the wall above her head.
“You did it! All of the ships have left. They are safe now,” Ankh said, and Rivi smiled.
Rivi stood and rolled a cramp out of her neck. She shook hands with Enast, who still looked a bit exhausted.
“I'm sorry I couldn't stay in longer to help. Sudden noises have always created problems with my concentration,” Enast apologized.
“That's all right. Without your help, I wouldn't have had enough strength to hold out in the end,” Rivi replied with a gratified smile.


I was 17 when I started writing The Alien Mind. Visionary From The Stars was finished first but wouldn’t be published till later. I loved shows like Star Trek Enterprise (the one with Captain Archer). I would watch that show almost religiously. My father and I shared a love of sci-fi and space travel. Movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon were on the top of our ‘watch together’ list. Occasionaly I had conversations with him pertaining to hypothetical space travel and I was inspired to check out some quantum theory books from the local library. The ideas sort of just randomly came to me in pieces and I wove them together.
The interesting thing to me though, is that my characters took on a life of their own. I mean, that’s to be expected right? Except here we are 11 years later and they STILL inspire me to do bigger and better things with my life. They still surprise me with new stories too. It is through their story that I am learning more about myself in the process.
You see, growing up I had no thoughts of working with electricity, though I did like computers. I find it increasingly odd that it turned out to be Rivi (from The Alien Mind) and Laurie (Visionary From The Stars) that would inspire me to go into electrical engineering. Rivi has the ability to 'talk' with computers as well as manipulate electricity. Laurie is the ship’s engineer. (My career choice should have been blatantly obvious but it wasn’t, at least to me).
About three years ago, when I was trying to figure out what degree program I really wanted to get into I began to realize that the main characters from both of my books were both electrically inclined. I had toyed with building circuits when I was a teenager, and I had no problem rewiring things around the house but it wasn’t until I began the republishing process with PDMI Publishing (now closed) that I began realizing that maybe Rivi was, in a sense, trying to tell me something. So the fall of that year, when I was busy launching The Alien Mind through PDMI Publishing I also began my degree program in Electrical Engineering.
In my Digital Circuits class we are learning more about how computers communicate with binary. Hexadecimal and AskII are also some of the code languages we are learning. I am coming to the realization that computers must do a whole lot at once just to accomplish a single task, they ‘think’ a lot faster than we can. I can't help but wonder what it must be like to be Rivi, to think like she does, to be able to communicate in 1’s and 0’s and understand it.
I am continuously finding out more about her and in turn she is revealing to me more of myself. I don’t always understand her… and I WROTE her! That is a really weird feeling, and not one I ever expected to happen as a writer. She and I are working on a sequel to The Alien Mind and I can’t wait to see where she will take me!
In the meantime, remember I mentioned that PDMI is now closed? Well, I’m happy to announce that I’ve re-released The Alien Mind with new covers, formatting, a deleted scene, and a forward written by Author Karina Fabian.
You can find them here:
Will be priced at .99 on Amazon till January 1! Normal retail price is 2.99


  1. It is exciting when characters take on a life of their own. You never know what they'll do next. Congratulations on your book. Best of luck to you.


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