Writing my first stories

I remember writing stories, or actually writing outlines of stories, of space adventures. Some were fan fiction stories based on Star Trek. Some were sci-fi adventures of brothers off in an interstellar travel. After the 2nd Star Wars movie, I even wrote what I thought should be the 3rd movie in the trilogy.

I was in the Navy, onboard a nuclear submarine at the time. Not much to do except stretch your imagination. I also wrote several poems/songs during that time. Prose about men and women falling in love, breaking up, coming back. It was the product of seeing what was happening to my shipmates, and myself.

I recall one of my first stories was about two brothers off on a sub-light flight to another star system and suffering damage along the way. One of them was severely hurt and the surviving brother transferred his dying brother’s consciousness into a robot. It surprised me many years later to see something similar done in an anime series (Full Metal Alchemist). Don’t think they stole my idea, but it was kind of cool to see someone else had also came up with the idea.

Fringe

I had plenty of television shows to watch as a kid, starting with Outer Space and Twilight Zone. After that came Night Gallery. Ah, what twisted and wonderful shows those were for the sci-fi fan.

During the 80’s and 90’s was the various versions of Star Trek – Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. There were other shows, but for a hard sci-fi fan (i.e., non-fantasy sci-fi) as myself, these were the best.

Then in 2010’s came Fringe. Weird science lovers, this was for us. Seeing Olivia Dunham and her team become the key players in the link between two dimensions, and all the weird stuff they pulled out of people’s bodies along the way. Awesome!

D&D

I first saw people playing a role-playing game (RPG) early in 1977. They were in the common area at my housing unit at US Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL. The four guys were sitting around a big grid map with paper & pencil and dice. Interesting, but I wasn’t into fantasy genre at the time. I was still space sci-fi, still months away from the release of “Star Wars”. It was when I was on a nuclear sub somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic years later that I was introduced to Champions RPG. It was a super-hero game, and I was hooked.

When I got home from the Navy in 1981, I found that my 12-year old nephew and his friends were playing D&D. As the guy with a paycheck to buy the books and modules, I became the Dungeon Master. So I played in the fantasy realm for a few decades, always wanting to return to the world of super-heroes.

There was a time in the 90’s that I played an RPG called d20 Modern. This was a setting in the modern world with elves, dwarves, goblins, and orc hidden in the modern world. Or, it could be a twisted version of Cthulhu or a psionic world of spy vs spy. Regardless it was technological ‘magic’ in a modern setting and it was great.

Comic books

Growing up, I would go to the grocery store with my Dad and while he went about filling up the cart, I would stand at the rotating comic books display, looking at (and reading) my favorites while deciding which comic I wanted to take home. Hated it when comics jumped from 12¢ to 25¢, had to double my weekly chores, which meant less time reading the comic multiple times through the week.

My favorites were Legion of Super-Heroes, Justice League and Metal Men (DC) or Fantastic Four, Avengers and X-Men (Marvel). Occasionally I would branch out to comics that were with singular heroes – Green Lantern, Iron Man – but for the most part, they were groups of super-heroes.

Maybe it was the group dynamics, maybe it was the diversity of the teams. In nearly all of them, each character had their own issues to deal with beyond the villain of the month. The Legion of Super-Heroes had issues back on their home planets to resolve. The X-Men had personal relationships within the group.

All had issues with the public – those very people they were trying to save from the big bad guy despised them, even feared them – for being different, strange. Some were feared for looking different, some were feared for the very thought that they could take control of the government. No matter how thankful the public was for being saved, the heroes were never truly accepted by the public.

Classic Sci-Fi

Isaac Asimov was my #1 favorite author growing up, and still is today. I read and re-read his Robot series. His three law of robotics, great stuff. The Gods Themselves – wonderful, very pointed. Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke were what I called the ABCs of classic sci-fi. There were others, like Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, etc. So many others.

Edgar Rice Burroughs was also on my list of favorites. Known for his Tarzan series, it was his Barsoom series (a.k.a., John Carter of Mars) and his Pellucidar series (Hollow Earth) were my favorites. I even named my daughter after a character in Synthetic Men of Mars (Janai of Amhor – because I liked the name).