It might sound like an offering from one of the more lowbrow newspapers on the planet. Or it might bring to mind movies like Men In Black where ordinary peoples’ bodies are taken over by aliens from other planets in distant galaxies.
In actual fact, My Father Was an Alien is the original working title for Sliding on the Snow Stone (That Right Publishing 2011), my debut historical memoir chronicling my father’s life and his journey through the Holodomor (1932-33), Soviet terrors, and the Nazi brutality of World War 2. The reason I chose that title is because he was admitted to Britain as a refugee under the Aliens Act, and has a registration booklet from that time. So, in the parlance of the day, he was actually regarded as an alien. It goes to show how the meaning of words can change or become distorted over time.
My original intention was to write the story as a historical biography, but following extensive research, I decided to write it in my father’s voice as a historical memoir, endeavouring to capture the full extent of the heartache and drama he endured.
And, just lately, I’ve been wondering whether other famous novels may have had different working titles to those they ended up with.
1984 was originally titled The Last Man in Europe. And Dracula was given the working title of The Dead Un-dead, which sounds more like a movie spoof starring Leslie Nielsen.
Gulliver’ s Travels was originally tagged with the catchy Travels into Several Remote Nations of the Word, in Four Parts.
So, when a writer decides that he’s found the perfect title for his book, he might be as well to look closer again.