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My love affair with science fiction (part one)

July 8, 2018

If you’ve read any of my stories before, you might think science fiction is a sudden shift from my normal focus (fantasy in all its high, low and urban capacities). But I’ve always had a fascination with science fiction, and it’s how I began to tell stories in the first place. Come on. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. This is going to be a series of posts, and it will include a story I’ve been longing (and dreading) to tell for years in a later post.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin with my very first exposure to science fiction.

This was back in the 1980s, well before Netflix and quite a few years before my family got its first VCR (that’s the precursor to a DVD for those of you of a younger persuasion). Every evening, the Danish TV channel (yes, there was just the one) had a show for children for around 30 minutes. I remember a lot of them quite fondly.

I think I was three when the show broadcast a short series known as Bamse på planeten. That’s Danish for Teddybear on the Planet. The aptly named Bamse has since become a major character in children’s TV here, but it was this particular series that I fell in love with then and again in subsequent reruns. In it, Bamse (who happens to be a human-sized yellow infantile teddybear and is actually a giant costume worn by the dude who plays him) travels to a small planet called Joakim.

There’s a lot of miniscule volcanos on this planet, some of which can be used for baking bread, a sentient flower and a peculiar creature called Forlæns og Baglæns (that’s Forward and Backward) who has a face in each end. To this day, I’m not entirely sure whether Forlæns og Baglæns should be considered Siamese twins, a single entity with two heads or something different altogether.

Bamse also encountered a human named Arthur who looked after various planets in space and used his spaceship with the number 42 to travel between them. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference only dawned on me when I read up on the series to write this post. Arthur also sings a song about being super busy but still chilling and about using your imagination.

Well, my imagination certainly benefited from the show. It captivated me and got me hooked on stories about space travel, other worlds and fantastical creatures.

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