I adore Star Trek, always have. I am a massive fan of Capt. Kirk (still the best captain of the lot in my opinion) and a huge fan of William Shatner (proud Canadian that I am). I play Star Trek Online, and I own a fair amount of Star Trek memorabilia. It is safe to say that I am a Trekker. So it should come as no surprise that I always wanted to write a Star Trek story.
One of the things that has consistently struck me as strange is that in all these SF future worlds, contemporary culture never seems to have existed. No matter the future world, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, even Buck Rogers, never seem to have happened. Starbuck doesn’t remember Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers doesn’t remember Kirk, and Kirk doesn’t know what a lightsaber is. The obvious reason is probably to do with copyright issues, but when you are designing a future universe based on ours, it seems so strange to leave out the big SF shows that have formed our opinion of space travel. And if copyright is the reason, well, that’s just ridiculous. Isn’t SF supposed to incorporate all that we were and are, into what we will become?
So you could say that when I wrote my new novel, Willful Child, I took for my premise the simple idea that a guy in the future grew up watching the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her formidable Captain Kirk, and decided that this was who he was going to be. A child raised by TV, and one show in particular, who is then given a spaceship and sent off to find new worlds to conquer. What would someone be like if Captain Kirk was their sole role model? Someone who leaps into battle sure in the knowledge that they will be back on next week? Someone who is apparently irresistible to every alien female he meets? Someone who believes the chain of command applies to other people and not him? A captain of the future living with 1960s cultural aesthetics?
Anyway, this was a chance to write something as over-the-top as I could manage. To extend the logic of Star Trek to absurd conclusions and play with the tropes of the show. This is what ultimately led to the adventures of Captain Hadrian Sawback of the A.S.F. Willful Child. A man-child who has modelled himself on Kirk without the benefit of a more realistic role-model, set in a future universe in which humanity has become aggressively, obnoxiously complacent, and written using an episodic approach that allowed me to parody the show. A rollicking space adventure that would make people laugh. A spoof of the gross-out cringe-comedy kind, with something offensive to someone on virtually every page.
Hadrian is my take on a James Bond, a Flashman, a Slippery Jim DiGriz. Not dark enough to be an anti-hero, not heroic enough to be a traditional hero, and certainly not evil enough to be a villain. But he’s no clean-cut paragon of virtue. He has blind-spots and feet of clay. He craves adventure and wants to bring his universe toward the ideals of the show he grew up watching, seemingly unaware that the real world doesn’t work according to the narrative strictures of a TV show.
While Willful Child works as a stand-alone book, I envisage this as a series that will allow me to develop the characters in much the same way that they slowly developed over the course of the show (only, in a more insane fashion). This is the pilot, if you will, for the continuing adventures of Capt. Hadrian. If after reading Willful Child, you want more, then get on my case. That is, if you really want to read The Wrath of Betty and The Search for Spark. I buckle under that kind of pressure, every time. And to be honest, I can’t wait.
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