It’s Okay to Disagree

There is much pontificating among science fiction media fans about how damned moral we are, because we watched these TV shows and movies that taught a moral lesson. Oh my God, we are so moral! Star Trek taught us not to be racist. Star Trek taught us not to be homophobic. Star Trek taught us that people who are different should be celebrated.

Oh, the cleverness of us!


Most of us have only learned, from Star Trek and other shows, the cleverness reinforced by the news media, our HR departments, and public policy enacted by certain politicians.

What I learned from Star Trek, and many other shows, was a lesson I don’t see evidenced in the attitudes or behaviors of a lot of people, not even fans. Maybe especially not fans.

I learned that people who disagree with me are not therefore evil.

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The Pretender – Epilogue



The former radiation-proof bunker under what Tanya had dubbed “Moonbase Beta” had space enough for each of the seven human occupants to have separate quarters. Jackie would live with Sue, of course; but soon enough, he would grow and want his own room.

If they lived that long.

It wasn’t a bitter reflection from Victor Bergman, only a matter-of-fact one. The odds were against them. They had no Eagles, and couldn’t leave the confines of what was once a humble monitoring station. They had power, but only if they could keep the generator going. Food, water and oxygen they had, with the same caveat for the recycling plants. One failure would wipe them out.

The same had always been true of Alpha. But they had smaller numbers, and they didn’t have John Koenig.

Still, where there was life, there was hope.

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The Pretender – Act Four

Pretender_SmAfter the previous act, a few readers wondered if there would even be another. Hey, I said “Four acts,” right? I did. Go back and check. And, after this, there’s a brief epilogue.

Thanks again to my beta readers and proofreader, as well as to those of you who’ve shared and commented. Please Note re: Facebook: While I am still pushing blog links to FB, I am not monitoring my wall there. Needed to take a break for at least a couple of days, perhaps a permanent one. So, if you comment on FB, I won’t see it. You’re welcome and encouraged to comment here, though.


Victor Bergman was pleasantly surprised to find that he was not dead. He was also mildly surprised to find that he was still on the Moon, although not on Alpha. More of Quince’s trickery? He looked around him at the small room in which he’d appeared–as far as he knew–instantly after vanishing from Main Mission. He glanced out the viewports at a familiar lunar landscape, festooned with slagged heaps of white metal, scarred from a firestorm. He knew this place. He’d last been here months ago. Really, this was where everything had begun.

How could these buildings possibly have survived?

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The Pretender – Act Three

Pretender_SmACT THREE

The Author was prompt in his appearance. He materialized in the center of Main Mission and glared at Tanya Alexander. “Well, Koenig, have you made your choice?”

Koenig stepped forward, interposing himself between Tanya and the alien. “The boy has made it for us. He’s gone.”

The Author stared for a moment. Perhaps he was attempting to read Koenig’s facial expression, perhaps his mind. Perhaps he was merely scanning the base with his own extrasensory abilities. When he spoke, he said, “You’re lying.”

Koenig made a sweeping gesture. “You can search anywhere you like. You won’t find him here.”

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The Pretender – Act Two

Pretender_Sm ACT 2

 “This person you’re running from,” said Victor, “who is he?”

“He is–I suppose you’d call him an author,” said the boy.

They were in Victor’s lab, with Verdeschi stationed outside. Koenig had agreed to let Victor, who seemed to share an affinity with the boy, question him alone. Before they decided what to do about the ultimatum they had received, they needed more information.

“And, ah, what does this author write?” Victor asked.

“He doesn’t write. He creates–stories, realities. He brings them into being for amusement. His own and that of others.”

“Do you mean to say that he–he creates universes? As entertainment?”

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The Pretender – Act One


Pencils by Steven H. Wilson, Inks by Ethan H. Wilson

Shout-out to Paul Balze for–as always–speedy and thorough proofreading!


 In Medical Centre, Koenig and Bergman looked up as Helena Russell entered from the isolation ward. She’d insisted the boy be kept separate from other patients, due to his unknown origins.

“He’s alive,” said Helena, scratching her head. “But in a coma.”

“I swear he was dead, Helena,” said Koenig. “There was no pulse.” Continue reading

The Pretender – Teaser


Pencils by Steven H. Wilson, Inks by Ethan H. Wilson

Okay, I’m a little self-conscious about this. Forty years ago this Fall, ten-year-old me fell in love with a new TV show called Space:1999. I started writing when I was 11, and, after my first “original” short story was complete, I began writing Space: 1999 fan fic. It was my passion and it launched me on the path to an addiction–I mean a career–albeit only a part-time career, in writing. So, near the end of the show’s 40th anniversary year, and, quite frankly, exhausted from almost two decades of building my own universes, I decided to return to my roots and honor the show by writing a “lost episode.” This is prose, but it’s built on the four-act structure that dramatic television used in the 1970s. I hope it feels like a novelization of an episode you never saw. 

And, as with all fan fic, the characters and world are not mine, aside from the guest star characters I created. I’m borrowing them without permission, not for profit of any kind, just to celebrate something I loved with other people who may have loved it too. I hope you’ll pardon an otherwise professional writer taking a detour. And I’d like to further point out that a lot of very talented people like John Kenneth Muir and Andrew E.C. Gaska have actually been licensed to write new Space: 1999 adventures, and I don’t mean to detract from their work in any way. 

Oh, and I’d like to thank my beta-readers: Sharon Van Blarcom, Russell Wooldridge, Susanna Reilly and Cheri Rosen, for encouragement and insight. 

The Pretender

Computers can go mad.

An ignorant man would say a computer was mad when it simply did what he asked it to do, but not what he expected it to do. The more sophisticated idiot knew this was folly, but assumed that the computer would always do exactly what it was told to do. David Kano knew better. He knew that, just like every other intelligent creature, an artificial intelligence could be touched by madness.

David had been given his first computer at the age of 13 and had fallen in love. But when the burgeoning personal computer industry had died a-borning, consumed by a devastating world war, David had taken up working on the massive, shared systems owned only by governments, universities and industrial giants.

Moonbase Alpha’s computer had been his employer’s masterpiece, and he had been her lead developer. She was the most sophisticated brain ever built, superior, in David’s eyes, to a human brain. When she was installed, David had come with her. For five years they’d been intimates, partners, practically a human/machine married couple. He knew her every habit and idiosyncrasy.

Today, he feared for her sanity. Continue reading

Take. Eat… Wait, WHAT?

So last week I gave a rundown of how four different SF stories used cannibalism in their plots. Most prominent were the first few episodes of this season of The Walking Dead, less obvious was an episode of the almost-forty-year old Space:1999 series called “Mission of the Darians.” Less well-known to those who think science fiction was invented in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry are two of Robert Heinlein’s works, Stranger in a Strange Land and Farnham’s Freehold.

All use cannibalism as a metaphor. In the two TV storylines, it’s a metaphor for denial of the importance of the individual. In Freehold, it’s a metaphor for oppression of one group by another. In Stranger, it’s a metaphor for strangeness, alien-ness, and acceptance of the universe. It’s also used as a gentle poke at Western Christians who consider themselves more civilized than the heathens who go around rubbing blue mud in their bellies.

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Soylent Green is… Not Mentioned in this Article on Cannibalism in SF!

SoylentGreen_156PyxurzAs with most of my blog posts, this one has grown out of many intertwined roots. The first was the featuring of cannibalism as a theme in the opening episodes of The Walking Dead’s fifth season. The second was my reading, at the same time, of Robert Wood’s well-researched volume Destination: Moonbase Alpha, a re-visitation of the making of one of my all-time favorite SF series, Space: 1999. (A show which many in the SF community hold in utter contempt. 1999 fans long ago learned to stop caring in the slightest.) The final contributing factor was my participation at PhilCon, only days ago as I began writing this, in a panel discussion about William H. Patterson’s authorized biography of the Dean of American SF, Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century. This was a well-attended discussion moderated by author Michael Swanwick.

PhilCon was before Thanksgiving, and The Walking Dead has already reached its mid-season finale for this year. As you can tell, this discussion has been brewing for a while.

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Review – Space: 1999 – To Everything That Was

space1999_classicI happened upon this volume almost by accident. I’ve always been a huge fan of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s 1975 – 1977 science fiction series, Space: 1999. I’ve got a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it, in fact, because the show seems to provoke resentment from most corners of Fandom. If you’re a fan over the age of about 35, you remember how it felt to like Star Trek or comic books, back before Fandom became just another cash cow for Hollywood? Before the Marvel Movies conquered the box office? Before The Big Bang Theory? (The show, not the actual theory. Note the italics. Punctuation is key.) Before geek was chic?

Yeah, it was a bad feeling to be a fan in those days. Everyone looked down on you, to include your peers, siblings, teachers, sometimes even your parents! Well, as bad as that felt for, say a Star Trek fan, it was worse for a Space: 1999 fan. Everyone looked down on us, including all other fans! To this day, I’m careful at cons and on panel discussions about mentioning my love of this series, because people actually groan in revulsion.

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