A little micro fiction

“Skin-tight leather? Are you kidding me? How am I supposed to move in this?”

“It’s protection!”

“Against what, mosquitoes? Do you have any idea how hot and sweaty and sticky that’s going to get in a fight?”

“What do you want to be, the Superhero in Sweats?”

“Now that’s not a bad idea.”

To Boldly Go

As a mother of a now 3-year-old daughter, I tend to watch a lot of movies aimed at young girls. And my daughter fits the trope perfectly – her favourite things are princesses, faeries, and My Little Pony. She more or less came into these interests on her own; I didn’t really let her watch movies or TV shows until this year, and when I let her sit in front of the TV, she has pretty strong opinions about what she wants to see. Yes, we might have been the ones to originally introduce her to these things and allow her to continue watching them, but I try to offer her a well-rounded selection to choose from. And I’ll admit it, I just don’t want to let her watch something I can’t stand.

Oh, sure, there are exceptions – she likes some gender-neutral things like Winnie the Pooh, she has seen and enjoyed Thomas the Tank Engine, she does have a particular interest in Disney’s Planes, and she loves watching me play Mario Kart – but primarily, she likes the girly things. In fact, when it comes to Mario Kart, she insists upon me playing a princess as driver.

I don’t think Disney princesses are bad role models. Nor do I want to try to mold her into liking the things I prefer; I would rather she decide on her own what she likes. (Yes, this means I do not believe that putting Star Wars or Firefly costumes on kids far too young to be watching those is “parenting done right.”) But after watching so many of these movies and shows targeted to young girls, I find myself yearning for some variety. Why can’t we have a simplistic, kid-friendly story with a happy ending that takes place in present day, or the future?

So the bug bit me. I want to write one. I want to write a middle grade or younger story about a space princess. Or something like that. I want the main character to be female, because there’s not enough of that out there and I want it to be someone my daughter can relate to, and I want her to be independent and the hero, but not at the expense of her femininity. I want little girls like my daughter to read/hear this story and think that girls can do anything.

But beyond that, I didn’t know where to start. I got stuck trying to think of the theme or message of the story. I don’t want it to be about the girl learning that she can do anything, because then the conflict would center around the assertion that she can’t, which is not the message I want to send. But then, what should the theme be? I tried looking to my daughter for inspiration, but – fortunately for her and unfortunately for the sake of a story – I just don’t see any problems in her that might help to be resolved through another medium. Maybe I’m just overthinking things, but as someone who tends toward dark endings, complicated conflicts, and villains that are more grey than black, a story like this is quite a leap.

Then, my daughter gave me an idea in another way. I was listening to music and she asked me what song was playing, as she tends to do. It was an arrangement of a track from the Metroid video games. I immediately saw this as an opportunity. I showed her one of my Metroid game cases and told her about Samus Aran, fearless and strong warrior for justice in space – and female.

And I was overthinking things, because that’s all I need for this story: a space heroine. I’ll just go to a new galaxy and let the girl save the day. The rest is just details.

It’s still going to be quite a challenge for me to write, especially if I want a story I can read to my daughter. But just as I believe there’s too much stagnancy in speculative fiction for adults, I think too many kids’ stories are the same, and the best way I can combat that is to write something new.


Jeremy, the star of Eyes of a Dragon, holds a special place in my heart.  Not to say that my other stars don’t, but there’s a unique aspect to him that really sets him apart from all my Damians and Jakes from my other stories.  A distinguishing characteristic that really defines him in a way that not many other descriptors do.

He is a hero.

He’s not an antihero, or a reluctant hero, or just a protagonist thrust into center stage by circumstances beyond his control, as my other stars are.  Granted, there’s some of each of those in him, but this is a man who fights for justice, who selflessly protects others, who willingly accepts his duty to save the world – metaphorically speaking – at his own expense.

Eyes is kind of my pet project, at least it has been since it was reincarnated from its original rambling form written in middle school.  It’s my quintessential fantasy, a swords-and-sorcery epic with heroes struggling to defeat a menace that threatens the world.  After so many failed attempts to write it, I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I’m actually writing it successfully this time.

And so, Jeremy holds a place in my heart that none other can touch.  Because it’s hard not to want to root for the good guy.

Finished another book this weekend that I kept forgetting to review here.

Medusa’s Child, John J. Nance – This is a thriller novel about the crew of a small cargo airplane that inadvertently finds itself transporting a thermonuclear bomb to the Pentagon designed to create an EMP that would knock out computers from coast to coast.

I am a fan of fantasy and spend entirely too much time in another world in my own mind, so I think it’s safe to say I have a pretty active imagination, and I’m fairly good at suspending disbelief.  But in this novel, I found the threat to be a bit overblown.  A twenty megaton nuclear warhead is a bit out there to begin with, but also adding in an EMP powerful enough to destroy every computer in North America, all homemade by a disgruntled former government nuclear scientist?  It was hard to get into.

As the novel went on and the focus shifted more from the effects of the weapon to the more immediate concern of disposing of it safely, it improved a little bit, but the writing didn’t exactly shine.  Honestly, it read like a run-of-the-mill Hollywood action movie, straight down to the no-nonsense President who is the only one with the guts to do what needs to be done.  It was alright for a used book sale find, but it’s not a keeper.