When did you become a SciFi fan?
Posted November 10, 2011on:
For me, it all started with a love for Astronomy, I just didn’t realize it until later. (and Star Wars, but that’s a different story. Or maybe not. . .)
I loved Astronomy as a child. My Mom would take me to our local science museum on nights they let people look at the Moon or Mars through their telescope. To me, it seemed a special treat to stay up late at night and go to the science museum after hours to look through a telescope. Thinking back, I was usually wearing a coat and mittens to these telescope viewing parties, so it was probably in the winter at about 9pm. Not very late after all.
English class in elementary school often involved writing short stories and poems. Write a story about what you did over the weekend, or what you did over summer vacation, or try to make up an adventure, or something. They wanted to make sure we could tell a story that had a coherent beginning, middle, and end, and that our non-run-on sentences were grammatically correct along with having the requisite subjects and verbs. No dangling participles, and no sentences that started with “and” or “because”. My stories usually had something to do with astronomy, or weather, or animals.
For no reason at all, the other day this memory popped into my head. It was some story assignment. And mine, of course, was about Astronomy. Or at least, a nine year old’s version of astronomy. Those of you involved in NaNoWriMo might get a kick out of this.
The story went something like this:
My nine year old self is standing in the front yard of our house, and I notice that the sky is changing in very strange ways, mostly getting very dark in the middle of the day. I call to my Mom, and she comes outside to watch with me. In order, the planets go shooting by – Mars, then Jupiter, then Saturn, and so forth all the way to Pluto*. Earth was being sucked out of the solar system! Who, or what, was sucking the Earth out of the solar system? What did they want with us? Would my kittens survive**?
As it turns out, it was very friendly aliens***. The Earth was the first “abnormal” planet they had discovered in the Universe and they wanted to study us and ask us what it was like to live on an abnormal planet.
Wait, abnormal? How is the Earth abnormal??
Their planet was donut shaped (“normal”), as were all the other planets in their solar system, so they thought for a planet to support life it had to be donut shaped. And then they discovered Earth which was abnormally not donut shaped, and yet contained abundant life. How did we do it? Wasn’t it strange to look up into the night sky and not see the rest of the planet? How did we send airplanes around? And what are these kitten things?
After some conversations that I’m sure made perfect sense to a nine year old, the aliens send Earth back to it’s proper place in the galaxy. The end.
To me it was a story about science, about astronomy. Years later I came to realize that that was the moment that I fell in love with the idea of science fiction. Although I was too busy reading Judy Blume and Babysitter’s Club books to even think about science fictional stories, most of the non-fiction I got from the library had something to do with Astronomy. Especially the ones with the Greek myths about the constellations.
Astronomy/outer space + stories = science fiction. . . right?
So, when and how did you first become a Science Fiction fan?
BTW, my grown up self’s commentary on my memory of the story I wrote:
* dammit, Pluto is a planet! there’s a reason the mnemonic is My Very Educated Mother Just Serves Us Nine Pizzas.
** I really wanted a kitten, I guess. Obviously way more important than worrying about the mechanics of ignoring gravity and wondering how we’d survive away from the Sun for a prolonged period of time.
*** I’m sure they were Star Trek the original series aliens: looked just like us and spoke English, but had green skin and awesome hair dos.