‘Eight O’Clock in the Morning’ by Ray Nelson

Aliens that only one per­son can see, as the rest of human­i­ty is under a hyp­not­ic illu­sion of nor­mal­cy. Aliens with hyp­not­ic pow­ers. Aliens who see human­i­ty as only a food source.

Its a com­mon enough sto­ry line. ‘Eight O’Clock in the Morn­ing’ by Ray Nel­son is a very short tale of one man who is awak­ened from the alien’s trance and what he does to counter them.

At the end of the show the hyp­no­tist told his sub­jects, “Awake.”

Some­thing unusu­al happened.

One of the sub­jects awoke all the way. This had nev­er hap­pened before. His name was George Nada and he blinked out at the sea of faces in the the­atre, at first unaware of any­thing out of the ordi­nary. Then he noticed, spot­ted here and there in the crowd, the non-human faces, the faces of the Fas­ci­na­tors. They had been there all along, of course, but only George was real­ly awake, so only George rec­og­nized them for what they were. He under­stood every­thing in a flash, includ­ing the fact that if he were to give any out­ward sign, the Fas­ci­na­tors would instant­ly com­mand him to return to his for­mer state, and he would obey.

‘Eight O’Clock in the Morn­ing’ was first pub­lished in The Magazine of Fan­ta­sy and Sci­ence Fic­tion in 1963.

Descrip­tion: When giv­en the com­mand to awak­en in a stage hyp­no­sis show,  vol­un­teer George Nada is imme­di­ate­ly and total­ly awake: he rec­og­nizes the aliens in the audi­ence, some­thing no one else seems to be aware of. Oth­er signs, too, are now notice­able: the image of the the aliens on tele­vi­sion, hyp­no­tiz­ing the audi­ence to main­tain the hyp­not­ic illu­sion, posters that say “Mar­ry and Repro­duce”. He is able to turn the hyp­no­tized audi­ence against the aliens but at a cost.

Com­men­tary: The sto­ry is rushed: the lead char­ac­ter is in imme­di­ate pos­ses­sion of too much infor­ma­tion ti be real­ly plau­si­ble. He imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­nizes the Fas­ci­na­tors and even knows their name; he knows his “con­trol” and even how to con­tact him; he is able to oper­ate, albeit late at night, almost entire­ly at will. All in all, that’s a lit­tle too pat for my tastes.

And if the sto­ry sounds sus­pi­cious­ly sim­i­lar to the movie “They Live”, its no won­der: John Car­pen­ter bought the rights to the sto­ry in order to make the movie. It also is sim­i­lar to the short sto­ry ‘Look­ing For Some­thing’ by Frank Her­bert, although the lat­ter is much longer and is told from the per­spec­tive of the stage hyp­no­tist, not the subject.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Real­ly rec­om­mend­ed only for the rela­tion to “They Live”.


2 comments to ‘Eight O’Clock in the Morning’ by Ray Nelson

  • […] Carpenter’s own expe­ri­ences in Hol­ly­wood. The orig­i­nal sto­ry was tak­en from the 1963 short sto­ry ‘Eight O’Clock in the Morn­ing’ by Ray Nel­son com­bined with a sto­ry named ‘Nada’ from the com­ic book “Alien Encounters”. […]

  • HypnoMedia

    I delet­ed a com­ment here that had noth­ing to do with the sub­ject but was actu­al­ly just a rewrite of the orig­i­nal sto­ry trans­formed into a polit­i­cal dia­tribe. That kind of mate­r­i­al has no place here.