Howard Weinstein, Bob Greenberger, Dave Galanter and myself, Howard County, MD, residents all, will be appearing this week at the Howard County Library’s East Columbia Branch to talk about science fiction writing and publishing. The Baltimore Sun gave us a very nice profile as a lead-in to the event.
I guess the only thing cooler than being interviewed in the pages of one of your favorite magazines is being interviewed in one of your favorite magazines and having the cover art turn out to be this amazing image of Dr. Strange and Clea by Arthur Adams. My friend and sometimes-editor Bob Greenberger did the article on the DC Comics Bonus Book program of the late 1980s, for which I wrote a Warlord story which turned out to be the first professional work of comic artist Rob Liefeld. The interview is fairly short, but includes some reflections of times long-past when I was just starting out. It ships this week! Buy a copy at your local comic shop, or order (paper or eBook) from TwoMorrows.
So, both in the course of preparing for my weekly blog entries, and just because I enjoy re-visiting the Fantastic Worlds of my childhood, I’ve devoured a lot of SF TV, lit and movies recently which date from the first third of my life. I’m reminded, in comparison to the fantastic fiction of other time periods, that, in the late Sixties and early Seventies, this was a genre badly in need of a daily dose of Prozac! I mean it wasn’t all dark and dreary, but, really, my first fifteen years were overlorded by some depressing s__t!
Herein a few examples. I tried to go chronologically. Feel free to add your own examples or counter-offerings! Oh, and, yeah, SPOILER ALERTS. I reveal lots of endings.
Star Trek – “City on the Edge of Forever” (1967)
The granddaddy of depressing SF TV, in an age that had only known the likes of Tom Corbett, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space, though The Twilight Zone had delivered us some dark stuff, I find the likes of “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” and “Time Enough at Last” to be more delightfully ironic character pieces with twisted, almost Poe-like endings. They didn’t depress me or rob me of hope. Nuclear holocausts are too big to absorb, and the small tragedy of the last man on Earth losing his glasses just as he finally has time to read books is almost humorous in the face of the loss of the human race. And a man being shot because paranoia has whipped his neighbors into Xenophobic fury? Suckage, yes, but suckage that lets the viewer shake his finger at the screen and say “I’m glad I’m more enlightened than those idiots!”