I got the Science Fiction bug very early. I started with juveniles. They featured young men, fortunately, or unfortunately, pulled into extraterrestrial adventures and doing well. I’d spend hours reading about our current capacity for space travel and how soon it might be where I could rocket off into adventure. This led to discouraging estimates of how old I’d be before an interplanetary adventure was possible. I stopped making estimates and just enjoyed the stories. 

By the time I got to college, Sci-Fi had influenced my studies in anthropology. I felt alien societies had to be more diverse than the pure rip-offs of human society I was reading about. And even if you based things on human society, they couldn’t all be based on the stereotypes used by SF writers. Despite huge anatomical, historical, and biological differences, there was too much uniformity.” A kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply as time goes by.” Well, all that kissing and boringly similar kinship structures to a few human stereotypes drove me away.

I retreated into Fantasy literature: terror, swords, dark lords, curses covering entire lands, that sort of stuff. But you can only read so many novels that have based their whole rationale on a fallen Roman or Chinese empire, great evil, and obtuse villains. So then we get the elves, dwarfs, and other Tolkien knock-offs.

It was in grad school that I developed an interest in the alternative worlds. Twists on those also utilized the Sword and Fantasy tropes, but it was all dressed up in different costumes. Editors must have gotten the message through to writers that bland knock-offs of Rome were boring. We got some variety with knock-offs of medieval empires, Norse, and others.

So if NASA or a private firm called me up and said, “Lou! We have a flight to the moon reserved for you!” I might not go. I am involved in reading the seventh installment of the Tadisqian War by Banf. The interdimensional system eaters are invading “Old Earth.” The forces arrayed against evil must rally behind Lord Tanquil to beat them off.

And you want me to go to dull old Luna?

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