Stephenie Meyer, the famed author behind the uber-successful Twilight books, is taking another of her novels to the big screen. The film adaptation of her 2008 bestseller The Host -- which stars The Lovely Bones actress Saoirse Ronan -- will hit theaters in March 2013. And while the film's release is still months away, we have a special treat to tide you over.
iVillage got its hands on Meyer's never-before-seen intro to the book, which tells the story of an alien race that takes over Earth and its inhabitants.
Check out the exclusive excerpt below!
to The Host teaser chapters
by STEPHENIE MEYER
An extraterrestrial society of life-forms (who went by many names on many planets)
began watching Earth decades ago. Our planet was only the eleventh they’d discovered that
hosted intelligent life. Human beings were meticulously studied in secret, and two conclusions
were reached: first, that our world was lovely and desirable; and second, that we were not
peaceful enough or moral enough to try to coexist with. Rationales that had been made on other
planets were made again: we were too destructive; we’d put ourselves and even our planet in
danger through our reckless ways; eventually, if left to ourselves, we would obliterate most of
what was beautiful on our world. These life-forms decided they could do better.
The aliens were small, just a few centimeters long excluding antennae, and somewhat
parasitic. They could bond with other life-forms, preserving the bodies but overriding the
intelligence. They came to the Earth’s surface in other borrowed bodies and started the quick,
quiet, and very efficient takeover. For a long time, no one noticed.
There wasn’t much to notice. Your neighbor looked exactly the same, spoke with the
same voice, remembered all your inside jokes and past interactions. If there was anything
different, it would only be that he was more pleasant than before. There would be no sense of
foreboding, no ominous clues, no reason to refuse his kind invitation to a barbecue at his home, or
a playdate with the children, or a glass of wine, or whatever shape the offer might take. Your visit
would last no longer than expected, and no one would notice the change in you when you
returned home that night, unless they thought that you were in a particularly pleasant mood.
When you invited another friend into your home on some other pretext, he or she would accept,
and the cycle would continue, quietly and efficiently.
It was only later, when the aliens (who called themselves “souls” in English-speaking
communities) began to get comfortable in their new world and behave more like themselves—
that is to say, more peacefully and pleasantly and ethically than human beings had ever been able
to manage—that the last remaining survivors of the human race began to realize that something
was amiss. By then there were few options left to them. Some fought, tried to mount uprisings.
They were able to kill many souls but never enough to do any real damage. They were so
outnumbered that as soon as they drew attention to themselves they were easily overwhelmed and
integrated into the soul society. Others killed themselves rather than accept the same fate. And a
few hid; they were the ones who survived longest.
As the souls hunted down these last remaining humans, they discovered a variable they’d
never encountered before. The humans who were aware of what was happening to them did not
fade away immediately after the alien was implanted within them. Their intelligence lingered,
fighting for control of the body and the mind. These uprisings were harder to put down than the
physical kind, but over time even the most willful of human minds succumbed. Sometimes the
experience was too painful for an individual soul, and it would be moved to a compliant host. The
resisting body would be painlessly terminated.
When such a case was discovered, the afflicted soul would be offered every kind of help
and support from its community. However, no one would force the soul to quit the troublesome
body against its will. Only if it was discovered that the host had somehow won the fight would
drastic measures be taken.
After a time, the souls began to debate—in the most courteous manner possible—the
wisdom of using these resisting bodies as hosts at all. Perhaps the danger was too great. It was
decided, though, that the benefits outweighed the difficulties. After all, preserved in these human
hosts were memories of other hiding humans. Those hiding humans were violent and wild. The
only way to create total safety in this world was to find all the humans left. The captured bodies
had vital information to unlock.
And so it became protocol to seek out from among a very homogenous civilization the
bravest and strongest souls to implant into these resisting bodies. One such soul, who had lived
on more planets than most and therefore was considered more adventurous than most, was
implanted into the twenty-year-old body of a captured human named Melanie Stryder. Due to her
past travels, this soul took the name Wanderer. Wanderer was watched and supported through this
traumatic experience. Those who had the task of hunting wild humans, called Seekers, worked
closely with her to unlock the information in Melanie’s head. They expected this might be
difficult and take time, and of course they waited with perfect patience for Wanderer to
accomplish the task. What they did not expect was that Melanie’s memories would affect
Wanderer quite so much. Nor did they expect that Wanderer and Melanie would start working
There is only one thing that a peaceful, virtuous soul would value more than harmony and
community, and that is love.
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