1.6.14 An Author’s Journey: 5.4, Sci-Fi Influences (Pt 4: Of Espers, Teleportation, and Martians)
Continuing with the major Science Fiction authors and works that inspired me when I was growing up, and aspects of which you’ll probably see pop up here and there throughout The Artifacts of Destiny series!
Many authors here and in tomorrow’s blogs, so time only for top-line impressions …highly recommend that you seek out these books for yourself, and I’d love to hear about some of your favorite authors.
The Demolished Man
The Stars My Destination
It still astonishes me how many aspects of the modern science-fiction genre can be found in these two by Alfred Bester; The Demolished Man won the first Hugo Award in 1953, and once you pick it up, you’ll probably read the tale of deception and murder at almost one sitting, wondering constantly how Ben Reich is going to commit the perfect crime.
Whereas telepathy and Espers were constants in The Demolished Man for The Stars My Destination, when telling Gully Foyle’s single-minded need for revenge, Bester took the concept of teleportation and in The Stars My Destination introduced the “jaunte,” whereby humans on a planet can jump from place to place, so long as they’ve seen the location and know where they’re departing from (can’t jaunte through outer space, though)!
A.J.’s takeaway: always struck by immediacy of Bester’s writing, and the logic/rules that govern concepts for telepathy and teleportation
The Martian Chronicles
The Illustrated Man
Something Wicked This Way Comes
I, Robot / The Caves of Steel / The Naked Sun / The Robots of Dawn
I’ve just started to write the short stories that will accompany (and enhance) the primary Artifacts of Destiny series, but if I could even be partially successful in the attempt as Ray Bradbury was in The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, I’ll have added something significant to the sci-fi/fantasy genres!
I’ve read The Martian Chronicles three times, and each time find something new to appreciate in the way that Bradbury crafted his tales. (Favorite ones here: “Ylla,” “The Earth Men,” “The Third Expedition,” and “There Will Come Soft Rains.”)
A.J.’s takeaway: The critical need to develop a capacity for writing short stories! Though bound by a common theme, and referential to each other within the books, Bradbury’s works are instructive in how one can tell a compelling, self-contained story in a brief space…as with most of the writers from the 1930s-1950s, it also helped greatly that they were writing as fast as they could to meet deadlines and support their families!
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom Series:
A Princess of Mars / The Gods of Mars / The Warlord of Mars / Thuvia, Maid of Mars / The Chessmen of Mars / The Master Mind of Mars / A Fighting Man of Mars / Swords of Mars / Synthetic Men of Mars / Llana of Gathol / John Carter of Mars
When you read Bradbury’s Wikipedia entry, mention is made of how this series influenced his conception and realization of Mars. Over a hundred years ago, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s idea of interplanetary travel between Earth and Mars was believable because of the characters and locales that Captain Carter met…will never forget my first introduction Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkus at age 12, mostly because the depiction of the Red Planet (what Burroughs called “Barsoom”) was so well-conceived and carried out consistently throughout the first five books of the eleven-book series.
And, yes, I’m one of those who are still holding out hopes that Disney will begin production on a sequel to what I thought was a great 2012 movie! I attribute its box-office problems to a mismanaged marketing approach, and think that there are still plenty of Burroughs’s vision and stories of Mars to bear a return visit to the big screen!
Next time: Of Blade Runner, Sand Worms, Tesseracts and Dragons (Dick, Herbert, L’Engle, Le Guin, & McCaffrey)