The movie is based on the best-selling novel from 2008. Like many stories by the Twilight series author, there’s a conflicted love story as well. Instead of a love triangle, it’s a four-way. The alien inhabiting a human body falls in love with a guy, but the host body still pines for her boyfriend. What’s a part-girl, part-alien to do?
Reading this novel was great inspiration for me as I was working on my book Mute, which is also about body snatching, but in a more covert way.
The science fiction angle in The Host is an alien race that only exists by taking hold in other high-functioning species. The Wanderer has been on many planets and taken many forms. When she needs a new body, she gets rocketed to another location in a compact case and the aliens, who have taken control of these planets, find a host for her. The aliens demand complete domination of all members of the host species and they’re trying to wipe out the remaining ranks of the human resistance.
Stealing bodies could make an invasion easier if their goal is to conquer humanity. They could do so much damage by taking over influential people before we realize what’s going on, plus we’d be overwhelmed with paranoia and confusion, so they’d start with a huge advantage. On the other hand, fitting in with our culture and not getting discovered could be harder than it sounds. In The Host the aliens only want human bodies, but my novel takes a different approach and assumes that aliens would customize their hosts to their liking.
For space travel, body snatching could simplify things. They could send smaller ships, like in The Host, and those are both easier to send great distances without too much fuel and harder for Earth to detect. They’d probably use robotic probes to search for beings that are compatible with them before they come themselves. Just like how humans do it with Mars, probes are easier to use on the first visits.
The big question is; how could an alien become a body snatcher in the first place? If you look at creatures on Earth that inhabit the bodies of other, such as viruses, tapeworms, and parasites, they aren’t highly intelligent. They don’t need to hunt or use innovative ways to hide from danger, so their brains don’t need to develop all that much. Being an intelligent being depends on becoming independent, so it’s hard to imagine a parasitic life form becoming so smart that it can travel through space.
But what if the aliens, realizing that their natural physical forms couldn’t handle space travel, created a body snatcher version of themselves for the mission? Keep that in mind if your neighbor has suddenly started acting odd.