The Early Years: “The Alien from the Planet Zorno”

Thanks to my parents’ ongoing efforts to clean junk out of their basement, I have been getting a steady stream of antediluvian scribblings (and typings). Here is a rather lengthy opus, most likely from when I was about ten, involving an alien saddled with a rather poor grasp of his own technology, not to mention a ridiculously hard to pronounce name.

The unusual thing here, aside from my untypical eschewal of the red ribbon, is that there are several spots where I evidently attempted to cover for typos by making them part of the story.  (Evidently I was out of error-correcting fluid that day.) Hence we have Tom correcting the alien’s incorrect use of the indefinite article, the alien getting upset when Tom “mispronounces” his name, and the alien accidently slipping into his “natve tongue”.

I have no idea why Tom calls the alien “Gus”, which sounds nothing like “Xyculotl”, not even in the alien’s native tongue.  I also can’t explain why I gave the alien an obviously Mesoamerican-derived name.  It’s possible that I had recently seen the movie “Q: The Winged Serpent”, but that would date this to 1983 at the earliest and this story doesn’t seem like something that a fourteen-year-old me would have written.  More likely, I had recently gotten hold of a copy of the old D&D manual “Deities and Demigods” (later renamed to “Legends and Lore”) and had been flipping through the section on the Aztec mythos, which was full of names like this.

7 thoughts on “The Early Years: “The Alien from the Planet Zorno”

  1. My father has a further theory about the origin of the alien’s name in this story:

    Back around the time you wrote this we subscribed to both Natural History and Smithsonian magazines and I recall one issue of Smithsonian had a photo of a Toltec Head sculpture on it. We’d been to DC not long before where one was on display and your comment on seeing the magazine cover was “An Ancient Toltec Head!”


  2. I think you should try writing children’s stories. They are just as hard to write, and as important, as grownup stories, if you are doing them right.

    “Walter the Farting Dog” has NOTHING on Dennis the Vizsla.


  3. (this may be a duplicate entry – please delete one, if so!!>

    Neil Gaiman has just written a “horror book” for kids —

    Jim says: Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, but his last horror novel for children (“Coraline”) didn’t do much for me. I’ll have to pick this one up and check it out.

    Now, Clive Barker’s “Thief of Always”, that’s just an amazing children’s horror novel.


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