In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!
I have long had a fascination for First Contact novels, films and stories. I have probably read every English-language First Contact novel published. I am an inveterate Trekker (one of the kindest takes on First Contact there is), and I’ve seen angles on the theme ranging from the hard-science approach (Sagan’s Contact, Clarke’s Ramas series, Pournelle and Niven’s Moties series) to the sociological (McDevitt’s Thunderbird, Patrick Tilley’s seminal Fade Out) to the way-out-there (Zelazny’s Doorways in the Sand).
A few years back I started doing the research for my Willful Child series (no, really, there was research!). The first thing I needed to sort out was how to subvert the Star Trek take on First Contact (you see, it occurred to me that, unlike the enlightened humanists who found themselves face to face with Vulcans, a more realistic approach would be to assume that the inmates in charge of the asylum that is present day civilization would be the same inmates in charge of the asylum on the day the aliens arrive, and all we’d see is a fractal expansion of our collective idiocy. Granted, I was aiming at a satirical take on this, but even so….)