I have been toying with the idea of a regular blog. I have my own website, a presence on LJ, FB, and of course, here at Blogspot, but I really don’t take advantage of them. I can frequently be found in ‘Sarah’s Diner’ at Baen’s Bar – the home forum of my friend and writing mentor, Sarah A. Hoyt. With all of the writing and posts, I don’t really take advantage of the fact that if I *posted* this stuff, maybe folks would read it, and would come to know just a little of who Tedd Roberts is – or at least who he pretends to be.
So, I have decided to start working on a regular blog, content to be announced – a bit of science, a bit of writing, and maybe a bit of philosophy mixed in. Forgive me if this is not exactly a *regular* feature, but I will try to make it at least *weekly*, and just *maybe* we can get that old “lab Rat’s Guide to the Brain (for writers)” going.
Do you cry when TV shows and movies get sentimental? I’m not talking tear-jerker romances, but do you feel just a *bit* choked up when the story line hits close to home, when it *feels* real and tugs at emotion? Do you have to make an excuse to wipe your eyes or blow your nose when the hero get the girl, the heroine gets the guy, the orphan kid finds a family … or a dog?
Well, I get a bit misty eyed when I read certain stories. My friend Sarah Hoyt (http://accordingtohoyt.com) just reposted one of her short stories that had that affect on me. It’s about an ordinary person in a mundane life that has a brief glance at an alternate self – one in which the future isn’t all that rosy, but it’s one in which that person *matters*, she is a critical player in the defense of humanity. I got a bit choked up reading that story. I’ll try to get Sarah to post it on her blog, or maybe y’all can wander over to Sarah’s Diner and check it out.
Another story that had that impact on me is one that I could remember the emotional scene, but not the name of the story or the author. The crew of a spaceship crashes on a hauntingly familiar planet. They have to deal with a strange, yet livable ecology, remnants of a long vanished civilization, and nomadic tribes or primitive humans. Along the way they encounter other shipwreck victims and fight the remnants of their own degenerating interstellar empire. At long last, they discover the truth in a majestic chamber where last the Men of Earth departed for distant stars.
The book of course, is “Star Rangers”, also titled “The Last Planet” by Andre Norton. The climactic scene in the chamber where the rangers read the plaque “Terra of Sol” has stuck with me for 30 years, and rereading the story last week gave me goose bumps yet again.
This feeling, though, is one in which I feel as if I could have been one of those pioneers, those explorers of a future that is now lost. Do you remember the promise of Science Fiction from the 40’s and 50’s? In the twenty-first century we were supposed to have flying cars, personal jet packs, and an interplanetary society. We don’t have it. We *do* have smart computers and miraculous communicators and tricorders that would put Spock to shame (we call them “smartphones”). But what we *don’t* have is outer space, and that is a shame. Niven, Pournelle and Flynn’s “Fallen Angels” also gives that sense of a lost future – lost to a “time of limited choices.” All too often I think we may be living those limits.
I have been working on my writing. The day job tends to get in the way. The demands of science and funding agencies are … well, a story for another time. Still, I have been plagued by a number of story concepts, lately, ones that give *me*, the writer, a sense of “Lost Future.” I am striving to capture the essence and put it into words that draw the reader in and say – “You know, this *could* have been you!” The theme occurs quite often in classic SF, and classic SF is exactly what I, too, want to write. I love to read about that future that might have been, and if we play our cards right, just may be … again. That’s why I love SF, and why I think that the future might not be lost after all.