SEATTLE—At a book signing Tuesday, science fiction writer Ryan Lowell shocked fans when he confessed that the 300-ton, multi-tentacled, indestructible killer robot in his debut novel, Mind Games, was actually modeled on his own mother, 56-year-old Margaret Lowell of Wichita, KS.

"I drew heavily on my mom for a few chapters, including the initial invasion that leaves thousands smothered to death in downtown New York, and the destructive rampage on Washington that takes place during Christmas morning," said Lowell, 28, of the book's "cold, emotionless" main character. "Also, that thing about the robot drawing power from the synthesized blood of its human victims—that's based on her as well."

Lowell said that he did take a number of artistic freedoms while writing his tale, especially with the ending, in which the unstoppable killing machine is "totally encouraging and supportive of the novel's protagonist, Brian, an aspiring writer and only child."