I'll be the first to admit I'm just a little bit of a scifi geek.
No, I can't speak Klingon or Wookie. No, I don't go to Star Trek Conventions (Ok, so I did once. But it's only because Kate Mulgrew was speaking and she is full of awesome.). And no, I've never dressed up as a Martian or Princess Leia. Not even for Halloween.
However, I luuuurve me some scifi. I even love those cheesy B movies. Not that rubbish the "SyFy" channel cranks out every other week, but the classics from the 50s and 60s. I'll take giant spider people over a giant octoshark any day. And I really hate spiders.
Science fiction, and the men of scifi, have had a profound effect on me and on my writing.
My love affair with science fiction began at a young age. And I mean young. I was four and a half when I fell in love for the very first time.
That's right, people. While other girls mooned over Starbuck, I was a goner for the moody, broody Apollo.
Such a dreamboat. Sigh. So beset by demons. The weight of the world on his broad shoulders. That ridiculous helmet....
Yeah, I was pretty much ruined for life. From then on I needed my heroes to be gorgeous and broody.
It also may answer the question: Why am I obsessed with stories of the apocalypse or post-apocalypse? Was there any better apocalyptic survival tale than BSG?
Technically, Star Wars premiered a year before BSG, but I didn't see it until I was 7. On VHS, no less. Which was soooo cool. (Granted, it could have been a Beta, but I can't recall. Give me a break, I was 7.) We didn't have any such thing at home, so being invited to the neighbors to watch on their new VCR was beyond cool.
Even cooler was the movie itself. There were aliens! There were spaceships! There were bad guys and good guys and a princes and a giant space slug! There was so much awesome everywhere that I could hardly stand it. I never wanted it to end! Especially once I saw this guy:
Come on, is there anyone on the planet with the sheer cool factor of Han Solo? I think not.
My love for Apollo was as nothing compared to my love for Han. Though, granted, Apollo had a much cooler name. And there was that whole ancient Egyptian thing going on with the helmets. But Han had a BLASTER and the Millennium Falcon and a WOOKIE!!! Many a night was spent in happy contemplation of my future bliss as Mrs. Solo. Screw Princess Whatserface.
Heroes could no longer be simply gorgeous and brooding, they also had to be snarky and self-deprecating and have really cool weapons.
Despite the fact that it premiered years before either BSG or Star Wars, I wouldn't meet Captain James Tiberius Kirk until a few years later. Him, I never fell in love with. Honest. I was mad for...
That's right, baby. I was a Spock girl. Not that he was ravishingly handsome by any stretch (That would be the new Spock.), but he was SMART. And I love smart men. I think the day I met Spock was probably the first time I realized that. Thing was, he was ALSO strong and talented, even if he was ridiculously, maddeningly logical. Tré sexy.
The biggest effect of the Spock discovery was that it was no longer enough that heroes be gorgeous and brooding or gorgeous and devil-may-care, they also had to be intelligent. I wanted my heroes both in reading and writing to be a little be geeky. In the nicest possible way.
Of course another scifi man who used his little grey cells also drank Earl Grey tea. Which is nasty. But I can forgive him because he also loved books.
Jean-Luc Picard wandered into my life at a time when I was too young to realize his sex appeal. But something must have sunk in because I can totally see it now. Power is sexy, but only when tempered with intelligence and kindness.
And then came Daniel Jackson...
Talk about the über geek. You might as well make out with the frickin' Smithsonian. But hubba hubba!
There was something about this rumpled, baffled, ridiculously smart and ever so slightly dopey guy that set my heart aflutter. And he got to travel to other planets and stuff! Oh, squeee!
Even more, Daniel Jackson was a hero with integrity and the willingness to try pretty much anything despite the fact he was pretty uncomfortable with everything most of the time. He may not have been the Alpha male like the other boys on the show, but he held his own.
Ok, so now my heroes had to be smart, sexy, geeky, brooding, snarky, kind, strong, powerful, and have really cool weapons. And possibly a spaceship.
Possibly even a LIVING spaceship!
Enter John Crichton. You're all American guy who just HAPPENS to be a rocket scientist. And who also just HAPPENS to fall through a wormhole and wind up on the other side of the galaxy.
John Crichton brought snark to a whole new level of awesome. And not just smart, but the boy had serious improvisation skills, a killer wardrobe and REALLY cool guns.
Though perhaps not as cool as THIS guy...
Captain Mal Reynolds. The epitome of snark. And cowboys in space? YES, PLEASE!
And finally, the coolest of them all?
So, now my heroes need to be smart, sexy, snarky, strong, powerful, kind, time travelling rockets scientists with really cool guns, spaceships and SONIC SCREWDRIVERS!!!!
OK, maybe not. Maybe my heroes should just be ordinary guys with ordinary problems who may, or may not, happen to be 900 year old Templar Knights, descendants of Atlantean warriors, or psychic half dragons.
Yeah, I think I'll go with that.
But I still luuuuuurve me some scifi!
(Stay tuned! Tomorrow: The Women of Scifi!)