Why I Write Science Fiction
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
I grew up on science fiction but didn’t realize I was a science fiction fan until I was in university and wrote my first scifi story. I’ve watched scifi my whole life, and have been writing stories since I knew what they were, but I never combined my two passions until my first year at York University.
My first memory of watching anything scifi was when my mom wanted to watch an episode of the original Star Trek and I complained it was boring. I was four. I know this, because it was before Star Wars hit the movie theatres. To convince me to watch in silence so my mom could enjoy the show without my complaining, she said I liked Star Trek because Spock was in the show- the one with the funny ears. So I watched quietly during the Spock scenes.
Apparently, at four years old, I liked Star Trek (TOS). At least, according to my mom I did.
When Star Wars hit the movie theatres and my older brother and parents wanted to see it, I did not. Until it was explained to me that it would be like Star Trek- and according to my mom, I liked Star Trek. It turned out that I loved Star Wars. I was five when the movie hit the theatre. But not only did I love Star Wars, I loved Han Solo. My bother and I played dress up, and I was always Han Solo while he played Luke- I was okay with being the secondary character because Solo was my favourite. I carried a toy of him in my pocket everywhere, my brother and I had all the ships, the Death Star and all the accoutrements that were available at the time.
Then came the regular Sunday evening viewing of Battlestar Galactica in 1978. Again, another scifi show I remember loving, and also, loving one of the characters; Starbuck. When I think back now, I realize as much as I loved scifi as a child, I also loved the characters as well. There was something in the way both Solo and Starbuck carried themselves, presented themselves, that intrigued me. When I look at all my favourite shows and movies, my favourite characters are quite similar.
Han Solo. Starbuck. Sam Beckett. Bruce Banner. Colonel O’Neil (from the movie and TV show). Lt. Tom Paris. Trip Tucker. John Crichton. Detective Matthew Sikes from Alien Nation the TV show. And later, Commander Sheppard from Stargate Atlantis. Apollo from the new and improved Battlestar Galactica, and another Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. Alex Ryder from ME Andromeda. James Holden from The Expanse … the list goes on …
I wasn’t, and am still not, only attracted to the tech, space ships and stations of scifi, but also the characters that live in those worlds. In a lot of cases, I remember the characters more than the shows.
But it’s not just TV and movies. Although I have read many, many tie-in novels from these shows, I also read Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clark, Michael Crichton, and more recently, Elizabeth Moon, Timothy S. Johnston, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Taylor and Jack Campbell.
These characters and shows and books, inspired me to become a writer over the course of my life. I could not get enough of these character’s stories. I could not get enough of the worlds they lived in and I wanted to play in their sandbox along with them. But there were never enough stories, or stories that really hit on what it was I wanted to see or read, so I started writing my own stories encompassing what I thought was missing. At first it was just stories about war, or adventure and even a little romance, then during my first year at university, I put paper to pen (literally- because home computers weren’t a thing at this time) and wrote my first scifi story. I had written, or tried to write, in many other genres, but it wasn’t until I actually started writing scifi that I found my ‘joy’. And I can’t believe it took me that long to realize scifi was the genre I really wanted to write in … I guess that explains why my other stories never went anywhere.
So I decided that if I can’t live in space, travel on space ships or visit other planets and space stations, I can at least pretend to.
My first novel, Nexus Point, is a culllmination of all the characters, settings, plots and themes that I love most about science fiction; a troubled protagonist, space stations and ships, time travel, action and adventure and lots of cool tech.