In my house, this is a holiday. We talk about 100 pound computers and the experiments that are hinted at, but only 80 of them listed. Talk about Pete Conrad’s favorite foods or Robert Crippen’s patch preference start. It was a beginning in our species attempt to live off-world. Surely science fiction would have continued to tell the stories of humans off planet, but Skylab was the science nonfiction for us all.
Did you ever watch Star Trek? Do you still?
When I was 10, I wanted to be DC Fontana, or Vonda N. McIntyre. They were both seminal in creating new ways to examine the heavy, important issues we face in society but may not agree upon the issues in our own lives. Science Fiction is a venue that lowers the stakes, making it possible to talk about injustice and social inequities without a stake on the hand.
I was immersed in stories for over a decade, the plot structures of science fiction, anime, fantasy, and more than 100 volumes of the Mary Higgins Clark, Jane Austen, and Edward Rutherfurd, LeGuin and Butler, McCaffey and Rice. To this day I remember loving a science fiction about a judge-like human who entered a planet with his Spice-like eyes and could see the truth. My friend’s father told me it was a very poorly written book, but I remember the concept to this day. I was also very afraid of vampires that could read our minds lurking outside city windows. Always the city, why would a vampire bother with the suburbs?
When I was 13, I realized how hard McInyre and Fontana worked for their place in the writing world. How hard they worked in a world that didn’t respect their presence in their crafts. Animated Star Trek! If it had been live action, we would respect it to this day.
When I was 20 I started trying in earnest while also making a place in the world. I taught. I also tried to write. To that end, I wrote. I wrote such bad science fiction of all types. It was gloriously terrible. Through high school I had friends who put up with the writing and those who joined. It was all practice. I stopped to do the mechanical parts of subbing anime.
By 40 I began writing academically in a major way. I was considering a PhD, getting a couple masters because that seemed to be outside my personal capabilities with the personal life concerns I met. I was published in the state Library Association a couple times.
Writing for academic purposes and taking care of children at scifi conventions (and doing a panel) changed my voice, perhaps forever. Someday I hope to come back to writing about the deep concerns of humans in an accessible way for all readers. For now, I think I will continue to try to change the world through the youngest learner’s experiences and grow their ability to empathize and connect.
I also want to make people love stories. We’ll see.