Space-Western?

I’m drawing near to the conclusion of Trinity. I have 69 pages to work through, although reality will probably drive that number to 75 or 80. This is the second draft, which means expansion. My second draft is like the Mongol hordes of writing.

But, I’m coming up for a breath of fresh air.

Putting nose to grindstone can be productive when there is a deadline, however, it is a great way to make my eyes want to melt out of my head.

As I’ve surfaced, I’ll answer some questions that I’ve asked myself throughout my writing. If you guys have questions, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them. But in the meantime, I’ll tackle a few that have rattled around in my pan.

Why space-western?

A lot of people have this perception that space-western, as a sub-genre of science fiction, is something that popped up when Joss Whedon decided to create Firefly.

In reality, the idea of the space-western was around long before Malcolm Reynolds strapped on his piece and took to the skies.

A space-western has more to do with the frontier than it does with horses or yee-haws. The original Star Wars trilogy could easily fall under the umbrella of space-western. They live on a lawless, frontier planet where the blaster represents order more than imperial entanglements. The Millennium Falcon, a cobbled together space-ship, represents the seat-of-the-pants heroics needed to succeed in a place where laws are more of a guideline. In fact, Han Solo and Eastwood’s Blondie are cut from the same cloth, although Harrison Ford brought a touch more rugged charm to the character.

Space-westerns have been around in literature for more than a century. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series, Icarus Hunt, and The Beast Master are just a few that I have personally come across. There are countless lists out there of others. The space-western is a fairly well entrenched sub-genre of Sci-Fi.

Then we can look at space-westerns on the screen. Firely is a cornerstone, but there are countless others. Dark Matter, Farscape, Flash Gordon, and even Star Trek can fall into the category. Battlestar Galactica was a sci-fi version of the classic western Wagon Train. Just about any science-fiction with the lone hero rolling into town on his metal steed can tip the cap to the westerns of our youth.

For me, the draw is the concept of a hero standing on their own two feet and dictating what the future holds. Whether it’s manipulating a ruthless situation through skills with a gun, or overcoming danger through wits and wiles, or even the concept of protecting the less fortunate, the space-western is a trope where a character is not defined by their society. In fact, most heroes tend to buck or dominate their lawless society and turn up their nose at the concept that some far off government can do a better job than the locals.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure how Atom ever managed to survive in the emperor’s court. Maybe I’ll have to write about that.

Later this week, I’ll toss out a sample from Trinity to whet your appetites.

In the meantime check out Genesis, keep on reading, keep on surviving, and keep on flying the black.

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