My wife is a saint. I say this not because of her unending patience or her ability to find lost things like good ol’ Anthony of Padua. I say this because she puts up with me and my hobby.
My wife does not enjoy sci-fi. Consequently, she encourages me to write things other than science fiction. She is loving and supportive of my writing and wants me to do well but honestly, would be much happier reading my work if it focused around widower or middle-aged-never-been-married pastors that live in New England with eccentric parishioners and women that awaken a longing for a ‘complete’ life. That’s what she would enjoy and if that’s what makes her happy, then I hope the Mitford series continues indefinitely and that Gilmore Girls will be resurrected. Unfortunately, that’s not me. I don’t think about quaint towns where everyone knows everyone’s business and there are no grocery stores because every morning there is a farmer’s market with everything from fresh cream to haggis.
She asks me why I don’t write sweet things. (Asks, not nags. She never nags, just to be clear.) She tells me I’m funny and I should focus on that. Everybody likes funny, she says. I nod my head and agree with her because it’s true. I am funny. At least, all signs point to me being funny. I know it’s not my asymmetrically retreating hairline and overripe pumpkin figure that keeps her with me. I know it’s my ability to make her laugh.
I tell her it’s because when I think about quaint towns, I picture destroyed buildings, no farmer’s market because there are no farms and then I begin to wonder what happened. Then I think about comets and asteroids and what would happen if we tried to blow one up and the physics required for the comet to break into a million pieces that strike the earth over a period of twenty-four hours and what if each piece of comet has a hyper-magnetic core that survives the intense heat of atmospheric penetration and is so strongly polarized that they are pulled toward industrial centers and cities because of the high concentration of metal and how strong of a magnetic force would there have to be for the comet fragments to be diverted from their gravitational descent and…now I’m writing a new book.
Before I know it, it's three in the morning and I have fifty pages of hand written notes and questions to find answers for and the poor widowed pastor that my wife would like to read about finding love and a renewed sense of life is trapped in a box canyon with mutated survivors trying to preach the gospel to those that have seen the wrath of heaven.
That’s why I write sci-fi. It’s because I think sci-fi. Blame reading it when I was a kid. Blame the physics, mathematics, chemistry and engineering courses I had to take to get my degree. Blame whatever you want but at the end of the day, when I’m thinking about whatever I want to think about, it’s science based and it’s not happy. Maybe some dialog might be funny, maybe a character or two might reflect a hilarious friend or I might throw in story of an old rooster named Earl that was too slow to catch the hens so he settled for a fat white duck named Spike. Who knows, any of that could happen. But at the end of the day, when I take the time to collect all of my errant thoughts and imaginings, two things are constant.
One – I scare myself sometimes.
And two – I think sci-fi, therefore I am sci-fi.