Recently been asked about my tagline — Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, History, Mystery and Whiskey — and how I can juggle that many topics in a blog that is obstensibly about Doctor Who, Star Trek: TOS, and time travel. First, let me speak directly to the numerous people who’ve asked. And by numerous, I mean quite a few. And by few, I actually mean only 2-3 actual human beings, but they are people who exist in the stratosphere of human achievement, like an Einstein or a Phineas Cage. Well, truth be told, it wasn’t 2-3 people but was, instead, just one person, and I don’t think that he’s gotten any real noteriety. In fact, if you want to know the whole truth, he didn’t ask me at all. The reason is that he’s my dog, and English is not his best language.
Nonetheless, I’d be remiss as a writer, blogger, hack and fool if I didn’t tell you the idea behind this tagline:
- Science Fiction — Well, this one’s easy. I grew up on Monte Sano Mountain here in Huntsville, among rocket scientists, engineers, technicians, and a few renegade Nazis who decided a domestic life in the USA was better than digging mass graves in the USSR. So, the family and I — sans fascists — watched Star Trek. The original. A lot. And The Twilight Zone. And UFO. And The Prisoner. Curiously enough, what we did not watch was Doctor Who, even though the show’d already been on the air for 2357 years by the time we moved downtown. So, science fiction roots run deep in my family. That’s kinda odd, too, because if you were to look at me you’d see a button-down prep who is embarrassing his children quite a bit. So I must be doing something right, right?
- Fantasy — Isn’t science fiction just a subset of fantasy? I don’t generally read or like “swords & sorcery” fiction. When I refer to fantasy I’m talking about the stuff that’d make a good episode of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits or The X-Files or Lost. My literary heroes exist in a nebulous realm and I rub (or’d like to rub) shoulders with Gaiman, Ellison, Oates, Bradbury, Howard, Smith, Rowling, Pullman, and, yes, Lovecraft, speaking of whom …
- Horror — I read horror fiction and I have no idea why. If people know you read horror they go “ewwww” and back away without making eye contact. And I don’t blame them. Thank God for Kindles. But for some deep psychological reason I can’t figure out, I need to read horror. Horror movies? Not so much. Yes, if they’re really, really good, (e.g., Silence of the Lambs) then I’m there. But Saw IV? OMG. Not just no, but hell no.
- History — If I had focus on one subject this would be it. My favorite eras are an eclectic mix: The Civil War, presidential history, JFK’s assassination, the dyfunctional causes of World War One, the European theatre of World War II, ancient civilizations, and gnosticism. If you read history, remember to read it forward. No one at the time of the bombing of Fort Sumter knew what was going to happen.
- Mystery — Dashiell Hammit? Yes. Murder, She Wrote? No. As a rule I’m not a fan of genre mystery, but I do love character-driven stoires where they pull everything together at the end (good movie: The Usual Suspects). Having said that, there’s a fine line between mysteries and crime fiction. And for what it’s worth, I can’t stand police procedurals. I tried to watch NCIS once. Hated it. But I used to watch Dragnet. Go figure.
- Whiskey — neat.