Guest blogger: Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. on Star Wars and steampunk

(Editor’s note: I’m beyond busy this week between travel and the release of Star Wars: Kenobi — thanks for the great response on that, more pictures and links to come! Here, I present my first Guest Blogger — Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., one of my fellow authors at 47North and the creative mind behind Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders. Enjoy!)

Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.

I am 50 years old. JFK is my birth President. To most of you reading this column, I am
ancient. I am Obi-Wan Kenobi shuffling
out of the desert. I don’t feel so old,
but there you have it.

Being of this age, one
of things that happened to me was the arrival of the first Star Wars  movie. I was 14 years old in the summer
of 1977, ready to enter high school (in Canada) and a serious science-fiction
nerd. It wasn’t so cool to be a sci-fi
nerd then, but Star Wars would do a lot to change that. A steady diet of Star Trek reruns fueled my
addiction to that point, along with plenty of books by Asimov, Heinlein,
Bradbury, Wells, Verne and LeGuin. Great
stuff.  But Star Wars blew the lid
off. On the weekend that Star Wars
opened (it wasn’t a big deal yet) my family was on vacation, driving to a
timeshare condo in Florida. I forced my
parents to stop, marooning them and my sisters at a mall as I walked across the
parking lot to the cinema where the movie was playing. 

Star Wars was it. It was the perfect science-fiction space
opera with effects that blew the mind (and largely still hold up today). I saw the move 36 times in the theater, often
sitting through two or three showings in a row with my friends. We would mumble the dialog before the
characters said it, annoying other patrons.
We developed out own set of dialog and inside jokes so we could make it
through yet another viewing of the move. Crazy? Yes. George Lucas owned us. I waited for the next two films with a
heightened anticipation which I have rarely felt with any other trilogy except
Indiana Jones.

Star Wars did not
replace Star Trek for me, but rather opened a new door in a different
universe.  I still hold on tightly to
Star Trek, to James T. Kirk and Spock, and that show will always be my first
love as far as science fiction television goes.

Even today, as I write
my steampunk adventure series, The
Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin
(RomulusBuckle and the City of the Founders is the first installment), I can feel
the influence of Star Trek and Star Wars flowing through my brain goo and
oozing into my writing. When one is bred
on such stuff dreams are made of it is impossible to escape, I guess. And that’s a good thing. My series follows the bridge crew of a
zeppelin with characters you can easily draw Star Trek parallels to, including
a somewhat stoic alien. The captain is a
swashbuckler, a man created in the time-honored tradition of Errol Flynn’s
Robin Hood, Han Solo, and Captain Kirk.

All hail the ancient
archetypes we find brilliantly reborn in Star Trek and Star Wars. They explore what is best and worst in
us.  And experiencing that journey
through the self is what we read stories for. 
And write them, too. 

I’d like to thank
John for hosting me here on his blog and if you stuck with this post all the
way to the end I thank you too!  You can
follow my misadventures at
or on Twitter @RichardEPreston.