I started reading Science Fiction novels when I was in school. At the age of fourteen, I was a bit of a rebel. We had compulsory Religious Education and I had no belief in God and regarded the R.E. classes as brainwashing. For some reason, my parents would not write me a letter withdrawing me from the class so I went and saw the teacher and explained my views. I told him that I had no intention of doing any work. I was adamant and dug my heels in. We came to an arrangement. I would give out the bibles at the beginning of the lesson and then sit quietly at the front and read. So it was that in R.E. I worked my way through the entire works of John Wyndham. In my view, a much better use of my time.
From that time on, Science Fiction became my preferred reading.
As a youth I read avidly, consuming three to four novels a week. My favourite writers were the likes of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, James White, Arthur C Clarke, James Blish, Robert Sheckley, Philip K Dick, J.G Ballard, Ray Bradbury, Gordon R. Dickson, Jack Vance, C. L.Moore, A.E. Van Vogt, Fred Saberhagen. Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut jnr, and Larry Niven, though in practice I read any Sci-Fi I could get my hands on.
Every Saturday I used to browse the second-hand book shops and buy up any Sci-Fi books I didn’t have. They were dirt cheap and I soon amassed a sizeable library.
I still love those old books and that library has followed me around through move after move.
I suppose my favourite Sci-Fi writer is Iain M. Banks. It was so sad that he died young.
Looking back I realise that this love of Sci-Fi probably started as a boy when I was an avid reader of comics such as Wizard, Adventure and Eagle. I was drawn to the Sci-Fi.
What drew me in was a combination of the science and the world of all possibility. It unfettered the imagination. While retaining a grounding in the laws of science we were free to explore human nature in the future, the past, any part of the universe, and solve all the problems that held us back. On top of that one had adventure, intrigue, love, philosophy and the full gamut of human experience. It took writing into a new dimension.
It certainly stimulated my mind. I had a head full of ideas and, at the age of twenty, began to realise that I too could write novels. I had the ideas, I could invent the characters and settings. I could devise the plots. So I started writing.
I would say, to use a cliché, that I never looked back; but in truth, I looked back, forward, up, down and sideways. I became a Sci-Fi writer. There were no limits.
Welcome to my world