For the most part, we have a pretty good grasp of the things that make us afraid, such as a scary movie or a bump in the dark of night, but it’s the subtle fears we easily overlook that are the most pervasive, these fears are often held without any conscious recognition.
My latest novel, Xenophobia, examines these fears in the context of first contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence. Sure, there’s the usual, obvious invasion fears, but the emotions I wanted to examine are the subtleties associated with human behaviour, like the fear of being wrong, the fear of change, and of course, the fear of strangers – xenophobia. And it’s these unspoken fears we often fail to realize in ourselves.
Fear seems pretty obvious. Ride a roller-coaster and you’ll feel your heart thumping because your senses are being assaulted with potentially life-threatening speeds, thrills and spills, but it’s the fears associated with social interactions that are often obscured by rationalisation and pride. Instead of being engendered by a need for self-preservation, these more subtle fears are rooted in our instinctive, tribal nature.
Reason is the only cure for fear.
Xenophobia is set against the harsh reality of life in Africa. Malawi is on the verge of civil war. UN soldiers maintain a fragile peace. When an alien spacecraft moves into orbit near the Moon, the US withdraws its troops and Africa descends into chaos…
Jae Lee, a US graphic design artist working in Germany has graciously provided the artwork for Xenophobia. If you’re interested in reading Xenophobia, the first few chapters can be downloaded for free.