Of the self, in Science Fiction

The last few posts got me to thinking about Ripley, that fantastic heroine from the Alien series of movies and sense of self. (the following is only slightly spoilery)

In the Alien franchise, Ripley’s character goes through so much. She moves from ordinary warrant officer to survival mode and through the films, from ultimate badass to self-sacrificial. In the last, is she herself? She’s a clone and the viewers have to question what of Ripley is in her character. The body is essentially Ripley, but is the mind?

The idea of your body not belonging to you is one that intrigues me. On a personal level, I got a rather rude awakening that my body is not my own when I became pregnant with my first son. Just like in Alien, I grew my own little parasite!

The same can happen in illness, in aging, in injury. Your body is a fragile shell for your self. But what happens when your mind is no longer your own?

The Host by Stephanie Meyer explores an interesting take on the body and self. When an alien inhabits the body of a human and the body no longer belongs to the human. The fight for supremacy of the mind was an internal struggle that changed both characters.

In Silver Bound, I explored what happened if the body belonged to another–in slavery–and the mind had been tampered with. What remains of the person that was once there? Is she gone? Or does she survive somewhere? What exactly makes you, you?

I think, therefore I am. That age old philosophical question still gets me wondering about who really is that “I”.

What science fiction makes you think?

And, who are you?


Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads.

Her Science Fiction Romance, Braided Silk is coming soon. Currently available SFR: Silver Bound, Jaq’s Harp, & Firestorm on E’Terra



  1. cmtorrens · · Reply

    Great post, and good question.

    Damn it! I think you gave me a plot bunny!


    1. Anything I can do to help!

  2. Excellent post, Ella.

    The scene is the Aliens series which stays with me the most is that scene in which Ripley kills the various deformed clones of herself. That scene has been rattling around in my brain for years. Suicide, mercy killing and murder all in one. *shudder*

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Host. As you say, the struggle/relationship between the two entities that inhabited one body was fascinating.

    And Silver Bound continues to fascinate me. The struggle of the “self” to survive under extreme circumstances is a theme I return to again and again, both in my reading and writing.

    1. So glad Silver Bound got you to think about “self”. I seem to come back to that theme, over and over, too. When there are so many external and internal pressures on us, it’s amazing we have any sense of self

  3. A very thought provoking post, Ella.

    I enjoyed “Silver Bound” and liked the way you handled the “self” theme. Haven’t read “The Host” yet, but I think I may have to.

    1. Thank you!
      I do think The Host is a good read.

  4. Interesting question. I have to admit that if I think about it too long, it boggles my mind, much like the consideration of time travel paradoxes.

    1. Time paradoxes boggle my mind. But even more boggling to me? Infinity. My brain esplodes.

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