Tag Archive: spacefaring


In the first two articles of this series, I have put forward some thoughts for what life might be like for freelance, civilian space workers as a sort of thought-exercise and the foundation for some of the characters and events in my novel in progress, codenamed “PSA”  With this episode, I describe the main elements of the idea.

My spacers started out as good-natured, friendly, heart of gold types, but I needed an edge, or something that I felt like I could call them mine. So I made them superstitious, stressed out drug addicts trying to make their way in a cruel, unforgiving universe. I think they’d be  a little… “touched” to put it nicely.

Copyright Ken McCulloch 2012

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Spacers, especially in recent years, have ended up being lovable scoundrels, possibly because of latent Han Solo fantasies being brought to light. Shows like Farscape, Firefly, Babylon Five and to some extent, even Star Trek, the average professional space-farer is rugged, tough when they need to be, but all good on the inside, even when doing bad things like kicking bad guys into jet turbines. Sqooosh!

As mentioned in a previous article, my current novel in progress (still official untitled, but labelled “Karyss” or “PSA”) features, in part, the crew of a dubious freight vessel. They started out as the cliché spacer crew – tough, but good hearted – simply because in terms of the overall novel outline, they just weren’t that important.  When I finally started fleshing out that outline into a first draft, they evolved, and I needed some conflict. Don’t we all?

I began with the idea that spacers are going to be products of our environment. We do what we do because we have to and we can. Some of us have hated our jobs, but we continued to do them because we had to and because we could. The trucker of the future won’t be much different: they’ll like some aspects of the job, but hate others. That gets them into the business, but what happens when the worst of the worst happens, when the spacer’s real character comes out? Worse things happen at sea, right? So Even Worse things happen in Space!

Raft of the Medusa, Théodore_Géricault
Based on a true story (and cannibalism to boot!)

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