When I was growing up, my father would read or make up science fiction stories when I went to bed. As I got older, I began to read short story anthologies and novels from some of the pioneers of science fiction writing. I was filled with wonder at the fantastic visions of the future. Just like a child’s imagination is unfettered by boundaries, these writers were able to make the unknown their own.
I grew with the writers, following the up and comers with their new approaches, styles, and understandings. More discoveries made for more scientifically accurate writing, and gave the next generation of authors the opportunity to stretch the boundaries of belief even farther. The advances in science however, revealed the folly in some of the earlier ideas that were put forward, making some of the stories that I was so fond of just a little more absurd. While the new technical knowledge gave credibility and possibility to the stories, I missed the early days when any idea was considered fair game.
I decided to write a series of short stories in the style of the early years of science fiction, where scientific knowledge wasn’t king and imagination drove the author to create something that a young boy could read and dream about travelling to the stars and having fantastical adventures, while falling asleep to the voice of his father…
(Addendum to post – November 28, 2020)
So, that was a year ago. When I wrote it, I was close to publishing my first book, a book of poetry. I had a few science fiction stories written, but at that point, I don’t think that I was planning on publishing it anytime soon.
While my poems were a therapeutic activity, which I decided to share because I thought that others could relate to many of the themes, or to simply entertain, my science fiction writing was pure imagination. Some of the stories came out fast and furious, others took longer to hone. My stories tend to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later (say what you will about my attention span). My early reading memories were of short stories – Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man comes to mind.
Not to leave poetry by the wayside, I included a series of poems I call Found. I envisioned these writings being stumbled upon by a traveler in a post-apocalyptic world. Remind you of the book: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr? As I was writing them, I realized that too.
Here is a sample:
I can feel it seep
Through my boots
My skin, it crawls
The pain, it lingers
Till I can barely feel
Vision is weak and fading fast
I do not know how long
it will last
Too tired to move, I take a seat
Nothing left to drink
So, I leave my body and this note to be found
Beside this shallow grave
in the rocky ground
And if the horror you can face
Please lay me in my final
When I was putting the book together, I couldn’t think of anyone but my dad to thank, so I wrote this dedication: To my father, who gave me the imagination to dream about the stars.
My mom told me that he teared up when he read it.
Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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