Monday, April 26, 2010

Damien Broderick traces the trajectory of most SF people:

From the back pages of DB's new collection and memoirs, Climbing Mount Implausible: The Evolution of a Science Fiction Writer

Where To Next?

Here I am, then, exactly half a century after I fled my family in search
of purpose and God and found science fiction instead. I've been thought
retarded or at least slow, and a prodigy. My first extended stint of
writing, done when I was 17, researched in the university library, was a
short history of St. Joseph--husband of Mary, and about whom almost
nothing is known except his cuckoldry by the Creator--that I wrote
hoping it would be published as a slender pamphlet by the
wonderfully-named Catholic Truth Society. It was my whimsy to title it
The Man God Called Dad, and to nobody's surprise it was declined.

Four years earlier I had auditioned for a role in a serial broadcast in
the early evening as part of a children's show from the Melbourne AM
radio station 3DB (no FM back then). I was terrible, but they allowed me
into the studio to watch the rehearsal and then the five or 10 minute
live-to-air reading, sound effects done by rustling paper or hitting
gongs or blowing across a microphone to mimic a storm, and I kept coming
back night after night, as my parents worried frantically. I carried
home with me as many of the discarded scripts as possible, like
passports to a finer world of the imagination. I was besotted by the
lovely young middleclass girl actors in their expensive school uniforms,
and envious of the strapping boys. The serial had a bizarre title "the
Fakermagangees," named for the fictional kid adventurers' club. How I
wished to join such a club! At 13 or so, horny for the first time, how I
wished to frolic with those juicy girlets on their expeditions around
the world, into space (if only in an extended dream sequence) and
through time! Instead, I rode home to the outer suburbs on the jolting
train through the winter night and turned for consolation to the lurid
sf comics and magazines my parents deplored, sublimating my envy into
dreams of, you know, voyages to other worlds, time travel to more exotic
epochs, mental communion with welcoming gestalt super-beings. And in
time I turned all this to advantage, making up stories of my own, even a
few radio plays that I attended during rehearsal and performance,
knowing that the words these actors mouthed (brilliantly or clumsily)
were finally, truly, my own, come back to me, transformed and audible
across the whole continent.


K. A. Laity said...

LOL -- "most SF people"?

Todd Mason said...

All? Not in the details, but in the shape of the curve, I'd say.

K. A. Laity said...

It just seems to singular to me: religion and radio drama.

Todd Mason said...

Similar appeal, after all.