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My love affair with science fiction (part two)

July 29, 2018

I was 11 when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’d written stories before, most of which had fantastical elements. One had to do with a time machine. Another was about a couple of kids who travelled to a parallel world by magic.

By the time I turned 11, I had raided the local library for non-fiction books about space. I especially remember a book series for kids which introduced me to black holes and Stephen Hawking. I devoured European comics in great quantities and especially enjoyed Tintin’s journey to the Moon and the Yoko Tsuno series about a kickass Japanese woman with a degree in electro engineering who made contact with aliens. I had also decided my favourite of Walter Farley’s books was The Island Stallion Races (from 1955 in which two alien shapeshifters and their spaceship interfere with an otherwise run-of-the-mill horse book. Yes, you read that right.).

I loved acting out stories when I played as a kid. My action figures and My Little Ponies had names and background stories. At one point, the other kids thought they were too old to play. They wanted to “hang out” instead. Of course, I could still play on my own, but I wanted something else. And that’s when I decided, as much as a pre-teen can make major decisions, I wanted to become a writer.

My first longish story (50 pages or so and followed by a number of sequels of the same length) was science fiction. I was very into the original Star Trek series at this point, and I think it was around the same time that I read the Danish translation of Douglas Adams’ The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The story was about a spaceship and its crew who went on various missions to fight evil aliens and deal with various demands made by their leaders back on Earth. I think I had just started to learn English in school the same year, and thus my vocabulary wasn’t very large, and I certainly did not know much slang. For obvious reasons, I wrote in my native language, but since American TV shows were cool, I wanted to give my characters English or American sounding names.

The captain of the spaceship was a really tough sort of bloke, so he needed a short, poignant, no-nonsense name. Something that sounded cool and had a bit of oomph … And thus Dick Hard was born. Yeah. So that happened. It wasn’t until years later when I found myself thinking of the story that I realised what I’d done.

Well, I spent many fond hours of my childhood with Captain Hard and his crew before I moved on to the next story, and the one after that, and the one after that …

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Abigail permalink
    July 29, 2018 8:38 pm

    Hahaha, poor Dick Hard! I identify so much with all of this. Walter Farley was a favorite of mine as a child as well and I absolutely devoured Star Trek episodes, though Next Gen was my heart. That whole getting too old for pretend was so hard on me, too. Which is why I spent so much of my teen years shut up in my bedroom with a word processor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 3, 2019 10:26 am

      Thank you so much for the comment! I’m happy and sorry that you identify with it. I like to think that although it was difficult at the time, it got us to a good place eventually.


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