In the previous post with the same title, I said that I write about the military because of the purity of the themes involved with the military.
Well, there’s all kinds and types of science fiction and only a small number, really, are about the military. And in those stories the writers are usually writing about the 18th and 19th centuries updated to the future. What do I mean by that? I mean that they’re re-fighting the Napoleonic wars about the French and British, but with different names for nations and worlds but still the same stories, just updated.
Or, you get a handful of people writing about the Vietnam War, where we win instead of coming out a draw (which most everyone considers a loss). Writers write about what they know or what they’re interested in.
I like to read military history and military biographies. I’m more interested in the people than the battles. But the battles are important.
As a kid, I enjoyed action and adventure shows on television and in the movies. Some were war stories, such as the TV version of the film “Twelve O’clock High” about the men who flew B-17 bombers in World War 2. I also enjoyed the TV series “Combat” about a group of soldiers in WW 2 France. (My wife bought me the complete series of Combat for Christmas some years back. Wow.) “McHales’s Navy” was comedy with little or no action, but also enjoyable.
I also enjoyed Westerns and anything with action in it. And, of course, science fiction.
“Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” was fun. The spy stuff in it was tedious. The monsters were entertaining. “Lost in Space” was fun and campy and often downright dumb. “Time Tunnel” was cool. “Land of the Giants” was low budget and unimaginative.
Then came “Star Trek”, a game changer in television science fiction. Finally, someone had brought an A-level game to TV. It was what Major League Baseball is to a bunch of guys with a stick whacking at rocks in an empty lot.
Star Trek brought a fantastic future, humanity, and thought to TV science fiction.
And that’s what I try to bring to my science fiction: an interesting and hopefully fantastic future, laced with the humanity of soldiers in war and the inhumanity of war itself, and well thought out characters, plots and stories.
The conflict in my stories is always both internal and external, the main characters struggling with the destruction and death of war within themselves, holding on to what they can of their humanity even while the external conflict tears at their spirits and souls, while the tension of the fighting and its aftermath creates tension between the characters.
Finally, the fighting, which I try to make as interesting and exciting as anything in any movie, further contributes to the crushing inhumanity confronting the characters. War is about the destruction of everything we hold valuable, from the death of friends and innocents, to the destruction of the human body, to the absolute destruction of everything we create, including families and friendships, cities and town, homes, happiness, art, music, every aspect of life that defines our humanity.
I don’t glorify that destruction, I glorify every little bit and moment that men and women in war hold onto their lives, their humanity, their desire to protect and save their friends, to save the innocent (children and pets and families), to save life in all its forms, to love and live and enjoy life as best they can,
That’s what my stories are about.