Yesterday's blog about the masters of SF and their enduring importance to the field started me thinking about what inspired me to become a writer in this particular genre. I'm a child of the '60's. I grew up with Lost in Space and Star Trek (the original). I loved the B movies of the '50's that played on Friday and Saturday nights on the local independent station. Day of the Triffids terrified me and, to this day, I still have to remind myself that looking at a meteor shower won't cause me to go blind and be eaten by walking Joshua trees. TANSTAAFL and "Klaatu barada nikto" were phrases as familiar as my own name. Still, while all of that had an influence on me, it was just the seed, the germ of an idea that had yet to sprout.
What brought that germ of an idea to light was the space program. NASA. Project Mercury and the space race against the Soviets. Would we land a man on the moon before they did? It was the stuff of dreams and daydreams and it sent my imagination soaring.
It seems hard to believe that, come July 20th, it will be 40 years since Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. Forty years since he uttered those words literally heard around the world thanks to technology that hadn't existed 20 years before: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
I was 11 years old that day. That's the day I knew science fiction could become science reality. It was also the day my imagination took flight, rarely to land for long. Even though I did the "responsible" thing and finished school, went to college, had a career -- or three -- my imagination never stopped flying. I hope it never does.
So, what is that one moment, that one image that inspires you to this day to do what you love?