Where I get my ideas from, or hiding behind the sofa.
I’m a science fiction fan. Hardly surprising since I was exposed at an early age. I was 8 years old when the BBC first started showing Dr Who. There’d been nothing like it on TV up to that point. And best of all, it was aired on Saturday afternoon at around tea-time.
There are several memorable things about that first episode, some of them memorable for all the wrong reasons. November 23rd 1963 was the day after President John Kennedy was shot, and Dr Who was lost in a swell of International shock and mourning. So much so that the BBC showed both the first and second episodes the following week on the understanding that many people would have missed it. Soon, I, like thousands of kids all over the UK, was peeping over the sofa-back at monsters— in particular, Daleks— which soon became Christmas toy staples for the next few years. Some, however, I was happy to forget, like Eldrad’s hand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hand_of_Fear) and Quill from Fury from the Deep. Geek alert!
This was ‘science’ as we’d never seen it before and I was hooked.
There was not so much fantasy around in those days, on TV at least. But of course there was in books. The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe was one of my earliest. I soon progressed to bigger tomes like The Lord of The Rings and lots of stories by Ray Bradbury, as well as swapping Marvel comics at school. And then there was the inexplicable. Roald Dahl’s tales of the unexpected, M.R. James ghost stories (which I also still read), fed my voracious imagination. And can I recommend Robert Aickman’s Dark Entries? M R James on mescaline.
But the interplay between science and the supernatural was the thing that really fascinated me. Especially when it came to deciding which would get the upper hand. How many times have we seen or read about ghostly images mysteriously not showing up on film despite the camera flashing? When that happens, it’s clearly the supernatural that wins. But mysterious noises from the other side appearing over the radio? There we have science somehow hearing what we humans can’t.
As civilisation becomes increasingly sophisticated, it is only to be expected that technology’s interaction with the supernatural changes too.
In the 400Lb Gorilla, the two worlds are inextricably linked. If anything, I suppose I’m writing science fantasy. In other words, sheer weirdness. if you like I’m as much a weirdsmith as a wordsmith. I have to thank a lot of people for getting me here, the good doctor for one, as well as a few fawn’s and the odd dwarf and elf.
It’s Who’s the Lord of the wardrobe, Jim, (but not as we know it).