Just For Fun: My Top Ten Villains!

  While, at least in theory, we cheer for the victory of the heroes, it is often the villains that define a work, and certainly the villains tend to get the best lines, best music, and commonly the coolest "style" in a work.   This probably partly stems from the fact that villains are more "free" than the heroes; they get to do what they want rather than what they should or must. In addition, the villains tend to be in control, the ACTIVE force, in the story, at least up until the end; the heroes spend much of their time reacting [ Continue reading... ]

Spheres of Influence: Chapter 19

  And it was DuQuesne who'd left Wu alone, wasn't it? Where was *he* when all this went south?   ------     Chapter 19.      One Sky Gate located,DuQuesne thought in satisfaction. And if we didn't just get lucky at the opening gun, we might have quite a few Sky Gates leading to a bunch of places.        It was true that there was some danger inherent in that, but overall it was probably a good thing; more options, more possible places to explore. As long as one of them doesn't lead to the Molothos homeworld [ Continue reading... ]


  Well, you know, heroes aren't very much fun without some villains to bother them...   -----   ix.      He paused just before entering the huge glass-fronted office, checking his shadowy reflection in the doorway, making sure his hair was perfectly arranged, his hat just so, his white suit precisely as it should be. Appearances mattered, after all.        He pushed the door open and walked in, long-legged stride accentuated by the clean lines of the suit. The secretary looked up and smiled. "Dr. Fairchild! Mr. [ Continue reading... ]


  Preparations were complete...   -----     vii.      "You okay, Rich?" The tone of his voice spoke volumes more than the simple words.        "On the beam and in the green, Marc." Seaton looked at him from the other acceleration couch, duplicate bank of controls mirroring Marc's own. At DuQuesne's glance, he nodded. "Dot and I talked it out the last few days. She wasn't happy, but she's accepted we have to do this, and supports me. Don't worry. I'll pull my weight."        "And more. Sorry to have asked [ Continue reading... ]


  Our friends had made a few discoveries...   -----          "Good Lord, Richard, it's huge!" Dorothy Vaneman looked with awe up at the immense battleship-gray hull that curved up and away into the sky, seeming to lean out over them ready to fall over at any minute. "I thought this was supposed to be a test vehicle, a little thing!"        "Well, Miss Vaneman, neither of us are particularly small, so the ship's got to fit our needs," DuQuesne said with a smile.        "I suppose you have a point, Dr. [ Continue reading... ]


  They'd had their accolades, now it was time to get to work...   -----   v.      "Blackie" DuQuesne squeezed himself, with difficulty, farther under the imaging tank – an N-th generation descendant of the original cloud-chambers used in early nuclear experiments, adapted for the specific task of reacting to the presence of liberated sub-etheric particles of the third order. He grunted as he found the loose connection – one of the grounding connectors had worked loose, probably due to resonant vibration; he had to pad these [ Continue reading... ]


  An unexpected meeting had turned into scientific discovery, and scientific discovery leads to...     -----   iv.      For the first time, and one of the only times, in his life, Marc C. DuQuesne felt small, almost intimidated and in awe, as he, Seaton, and Bryson walked across the stage to thunderous applause. Glancing to one side, he could see that Seaton's expression mirrored his own feelings – stunned disbelief, rising elation, and not a little stage fright. He found it comforting that there was something of the [ Continue reading... ]

Under The Influence: E. E. “DOC” Smith

    I deliberately waited for a while before posting this one. This essay is very similar to the one posted on my original website for Grand Central Arena, and I wanted to have time for other influences to be posted before returning to Doc Smith.   I first encountered the work of E.E. "Doc" Smith in sixth grade, in Shaker Junior High School. My homeroom and English teacher, Mr. Dickinson, knew I was a reader of science fiction, and was responsible for introducing me to two great SF writers of the old days. The first happened [ Continue reading... ]