Space – the final frontier. Wow! Just those words send a shiver down my spine. Why? LOL, my answer: Why not?
Movies and television shows have helped fuel the fascination about space and intergalactic travel for generations. Books and movies bring to life the question that if we were ever visited, would the aliens be good or bad. Viewers have grown up watching Lost in Space and Star Trek to a resurgence of Star Wars that tantalize a new generation of Science Fiction fans; thus proving that humans love the idea of not being alone at the same time as we are terrified of finding out that we are.
For me, writing Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy is a lot like having your driver’s license when you reach sixteen years old and can drive alone for the first time, restricted only by the cash in your pocket and the strict words from your parents to be home on time, ringing in your ears. The road is in front of you and there are a million places you want to go. Writing SF and UF are just like that, only this time my imagination is the limit.
When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do at night was lie out on the driveway and look up at the stars. It was beautiful, mysterious, and filled with unbelievable objects that NASA was just discovering. My parents took my brothers, sister, and I over to Cape Kennedy to watch the launches. I did the same with my kids when they were little.
There was just something magical, and heartbreaking, about watching the Apollo and Shuttle launches. I remember exactly where I was when both the Challenger and the Columbia exploded. I remember my first night launch of the Atlantis and how the night sky lit up and the delayed rumble shook under my feet and in the air as it shot skyward.
For me, it proved that space travel was possible at the same time showing the dangers involved. Some of you may remember those events as well. For those that can’t, you’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with the beautiful images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the amazing imaginations of the film makers that bring it to life through incredible special effects.
Over the years, my fascination with space has not changed. I continue to stare up at the sky and wonder. Today, we live in a time defined by advanced technology in astronomy. The last decade has become known as the Age of the Amateur Astronomer. Why? Because of the development of more powerful, cost effective telescopes, computer applications including Google Sky, and astrophotography that isn’t limited to NASA or universities any longer thanks to the development of digital photography. I believe if there is life out there it will probably be found – by an amateur astronomer.
So, to answer the question as to why it is so fascinating, the answer for me is simple; there is a whole universe out there for me to explore. Does space travel have to make sense in the stories and movies that I read and watch? To a certain degree, but not necessarily if you can make the story entwined within it believable. We are just infants in this amazing universe; a grain of sand in the vast desert. The one thing I love is it is my desert and I’m that grain of sand moving through it. I can dream up my starships, my aliens, my worlds, and I can live in them for as long as I want. My aliens can be good or bad, after all, we are aliens as well.
The key is to open your mind and your heart and discover what it means to be alive among the stars. The next time you take a walk outside at night, turn off the lights and look up at the stars. You’ll discover a whole new universe.