Science fiction has been in my blood for a long time. I'm a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Blake's 7, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Buck Rogers, Max Headroom, Red Dwarf, Star Cops, Space Above and Beyond, Alien Nation, Quark, Stargate, and many more. In terms of science fiction novels, I loved Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat novels, Asimov's Robots and Foundation books, E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series, Warren Norwood's Windhover Tapes, and many others.
The Alliance for Sentient Lifeforms is my contribution to science fiction. Just as other authors have drawn inspiration from those who came before, I am drawing from other science fiction universes, my own wishes and dreams, and my own experiences and beliefs to build the Alliance universe. I hope that as my writing skills improve and my universe is fleshed out, you'll enjoy it as much as some of the stories that have come before it.
I've heard it said many times that writers should write the books and stories they want to read. For me, the desire to create the Alliance universe comes from a number of things I want to see in science fiction stories (and universes):
- I loved the vision of the future that the original Star Trek series promoted - a future where mankind had overcome its many faults and wanted to help other species do the same. The more-recent Star Trek series incarnations did away with this and had human beings lying and cheating, the Federation doing "black projects", etc. I want the Alliance universe to show by example a future we would want to live in, one where humans achieve their potential and overcome things like prejudice, racism, corruption, and greed. It's not mankind as it is, but mankind as it ought to be. We won't get there overnight, but we'll get there.
- Joe Straczynski did a fantastic job in Babylon 5 of having an overall series story arc, character arcs, and individual episode story arcs. I'd like to accomplish something like that in the Alliance universe. I hate story universes where everything "resets" at the end of the episode, so that won't be the case in Alliance.
- I always thought Star Trek: Enterprise missed the boat on showing how the Federation got to be what it was. We know that the first missions to space probably involved a lot of humorous and sometimes devastating mistakes. Maybe a starship captain gave advanced technology to a friendly alien, only to learn that the alien used that technology to wipe out another alien race. This kind of event would lead to the famous Prime Directive. The "Early FTL" Era of the Alliance universe will deal with this kind of thing.
- Star Trek's Borg, Stargate's Replicators, Babylon 5's Shadows, and other "ultimate enemy" species in science fiction often seem to me like they're defeated far too easily or simply. Yes, your enemy may have a weakness in a certain area, but once you've exploited it a few times they will adapt their tactics or technologies to defend themselves. When the Alliance encounters its first real threat, we're not going to find a "silver bullet" solution that eliminates them.
- I liked Asimov's Foundation idea where, somewhere out in the universe, is a hidden storehouse of all human knowledge and technology. It's a variation on this idea that starts our Alliance universe into motion.
- Creating my own science fiction universe gives me the freedom to explore ideas and concepts that wouldn't be possible in an existing science fiction world. Of course, I doubt that it would be easy to get permission to write a Star Trek, Babylon 5, or Stargate story anyway...
- As someone who works with technology for a living, I know that technology doesn't always work properly. It doesn't always work reliably. It doesn't necessarily work the way we think it will. We can become too dependent on it. We can be distrustful of it. And that's just the stuff we come up with ourselves. How would we cope with mixing alien technology into our own? I want to explore that.
- As with any good sci-fi series, I want Alliance to have the ability to show the full range of human experience - love, hatred, rage, friendship, fear, and humor.
This is where I'm coming from, and what the Alliance universe will be based on. I hope you'll join me for the ride and have a good time with it.