Hello, my name is Robert.
I write science fiction, fantasy and horror. I prefer writing in settings that I create because I’ve got the elbow room to characterize entire cultures and situations as well as individuals. I write escape fiction. Currently I have one book in print, Raven Dance. There will be many more, Sword of Arkatyr will come out in e-book form Fall 2012 and after that, a steady stream of other fantasy, SF and horror books at the speed I can edit them.
Having had a hard life, I know exactly what escape fiction is good for. It shows a way out of bad situations. It scales them up larger than life and gives ways to think about them that may work better. Most of all it’s a distraction against the relentless stress of unlivable situations that can’t be changed or demand long struggles to change.
I write science fiction because I write from life. I’ve seen technology change everything time and again over my lifetime, mostly to my benefit. I could not have survived in most earlier centuries. I’d have been dead by the time I was five years old. In the decade I was born, my physical disabilities would have made me a prisoner for life without parole. That’s just how birth defects were handled.
Today, I’m looking at a computer more powerful than the ones that launched the Apollo missions and I own this little thing. Back in the 1980s I imagined having a personal computer about the size and shape of a ring binder with the keyboard on one side and the screen flipping up, something I could carry around and use on battery anywhere I went.
I’m using that machine now. In the decade and a half that I was completely isolated by physical disability, essentially on medical house arrest, personal computers were the difference between total isolation and having a social life. For the abled, they’re addictive because you can control your social life. You can strictly hang out with people you like and comfortably ignore anyone obnoxious. Most of the Internet is set up that way, easy to filter out the jerks you run into at work or on the bus.
For the disabled, especially those without cars stuck in the suburbs where a car is a necessity, it makes the difference between whether you know anyone besides the people you live with or not. No matter how close you are to the people you live with or how well you get along with them, it’s too much pressure to demand they take the place of a full range of acquaintances, friends, family, community ties. That can distort relationships and damage them.
Back when I first read The Lord of the Rings, it was a cult classic that scared a lot of people. I mean, adults reading these stories with dragons and elves? Now everyone’s seen the movies and it’s part of our culture. Tolkein’s classic saga recreated a genre and it no longer purports to be history. It doesn’t have to be history to be myth and serve the real purposes of myth. Frodo inspires a lot of people.
Heck, I’m about the right age right now for hobbits to set off on great adventures. So here I am starting this one and the old professor’s poetry still moves my heart. The road goes ever on and I have no idea where mine will lead me, except that so far it’s led to much better than what I left behind.
What I write is escape fiction. Think about who doesn’t want anyone to escape – that would be jailers. Escape fiction lets you step aside from your life and see it from a different angle. That can give you heart or give you the idea that lets you change the situation while you’re in it.