This blog, by writer and aspiring novelist Stephen G. Parks, is about science fiction, space, creativity, and occasionally wildly off-topic ideas such as ethics, politics, music, or journalism. Take a look around, maybe leave a comment!


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A Thought: How to Pre-emptively Stop Mass Murders

Since the most common-sense idea -- "no guns" -- won't work in America, here’s a simple idea, and not even my own, although I’m going to build upon it: Pre-emptively removing fame from the equation. Let’s ensure that people who commit atrocious acts will be belittled by society. Let’s agree that they will be publicly shamed and then forgotten. Yes, I know this is childish, but it's the mindset we're dealing with, and we need to speak to their level.

Wither Luke?

It’s the hot question on the Star Wars obsessed mind, fuelled by the release of the new posters. Why isn’t there any sight of Luke in the trailers? Why isn’t he on the main poster?  Where is he?

It’s a given that he’s alive at the beginning of the film, since Mark Hammil has been cast to play him. Beyond that, we speculate.

So, let’s look at some scenarios. (UPDATED)


Reflections on Living in Namibia

THIS POST is rather off-topic for this blog, but is a reflection of an integral part of my life. I lived in the town of Ohangwena, Namibia from December 2007 until October 2009. Lately I've been reflecting on my time there and what I learned.

It’s been three years since I left Africa, possibly, but hopefully not, for good (and six years since I lived in Namibia). Time gives distance, perspective, a chance to appreciate the value of what you’ve experienced. One of the hardest aspects of working there was the fatalism. It’s frustrating to repeatedly be told that something can’t be changed or fixed because “this is Africa.”


Re-writing a Dead Author's Legacy

I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, worrying about what would happen to my characters after I’m dead given that a) I’m not even published yet and b) I’m alive (as of this writing), but re-inventing or re-interpreting or re-imagining another’s masterpiece feels wrong. Doing it after they're dead and can't respond, is worse.

I’m not talking about West Side Story (a re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet). I’m talking about Wicked, a story that completely redefines the roles of good and evil in The Wizard of Oz. If Frank L. Baum had wanted the Wicked Witch of the West to be a sympathetic character, he could have written her that way. If the author of Wicked wanted to write about misunderstood, sympathetic witches, he was free to do so, but doing it within Baum’s universe feels incredibly disrespectful, like peeing on a grave.

Thoughts on Station 11

Station 11 is a book with a bit of a buzz around it: written by a Canadian expat living in New York, it won the British-based Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of 2014, but has been slow to find an audience in the US. I’ve just finally gotten to read it, and have some thoughts.

First and foremost, as others have said, don’t mistake this for a science fiction story. If you expect science fiction with all the tropes that implies, you’ll be disappointed. If you're avoiding it because you're worried it might be too science fiction-y, take a chance on this book. It does take place before and after a plague wipes out 99% of the world population, but it’s not a book about science fiction ideals, utopian or dystopian society. If anything it’s about malaise and learning to forget the good old days.

Is it a good story? Yes. Is it without its problems? No.

Former Astronauts and the Causes They Champion

After years of training and in some cases as little as days in space, astronauts need to decide what to do next with their lives. Many will get a second chance to go to space, with all the training that that new mission will entail. But eventually, you’ve done your last space flight. Being an astronaut is, still, a very high profile position. Do you use that position as a platform to champion a cause or to move yourself into a longer-term career?

I want to look at some of the astronauts who have decided to champion causes, and what they’ve done.