Tag: Protected Books | Mind Control

Mind Control in The Host


In 2010 Stephenie Myer published The Host. This story is an alien invasion story, with some similarities to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or The Puppet Masters. Aliens arrive with the ability to take over the body of a human, while destroying the mind to replace it with an alien mind.

The twist in this story is one human mind resists the take over and continually fights to regain control of its body and it’s friendship with unconverted humans.   I found this tale enjoyable, and somewhat believable. Likely, because I was interested in the character questions. What does it mean for someone to lose their body? Can an alien invader have compassion for another species? Can a somewhat peaceful resolution be constructed in a war like this?

What I think works is the mind control aspect of the story. The alien species is portrayed as a mult-dentric like creature with maybe thousands of connecting waving parts. It is small enough to fit into a human brain. We witness a partially-surgical insertion of the parasite. I like the idea that the alien traces and connects to multiple nerves in the brain to take control. Also, it’s a great idea that the host consciousness is not immediately destroyed. Seems reasonable that the previous occupant holds on and exists in some form in the brain that has been taken over. In the story, the alien takes complete control of the body. That could be possible if the alien established blocks between the archipallium structures of the brain, and the host consciousness.

What seems least likely for the mind control aspect of the story. Like most alien mind control tales, there should be a vast gulf of foreignness between the invader and the host mind. I would expect an alien mind controller from another planet to have a great deal of trouble operating the machine that is a human brain and body. While the consciousness of the invader could be conceived as residing in the small alien body, controlling and interfacing with the memories of the host, and utilizing the body of the host in a meaningful way seem enormous challenges. No difficulty is shown when Wanderer, the alien to take over Melanie’s body, is implanted. Wanderer, it is explained, was last in some type of ocean dwelling alien on another planet. Yet, in a day she is in total control of the host, Melanie’s, body, and accesses many memories of the human. This aspect of the story is hard to assimilate, so I’ll just grant the author’s privilege, for the sake of the story.

As I stated, I find this to be one of the more interesting alien mind control stories. It was made into a movie in 2013: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Host_(2013_film) In an ironic twist, Saoirse Ronan was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for her performance in The Host, under the category “Choice Movie Actress: Sci-fi/Fantasy”, but lost to Kristen Stewart for her performance in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.