Tag Archive: Thunderbirds


Gerry TB-1

Gerry Anderson holding the model of
“Thunderbird-1”

2012 has been a tough year for the greats of science fiction with the passing of Ray Bradbury, Ralph McQuarrie, Jean Giraud ‘Moebius’, Harry Harrison and now Gerry Anderson, who recently passed away due to Alzheimer’s disease.

To SF aficionados the works of Gerry Anderson are well known and revered, but I’ve found that a lot of people don’t actually know Gerry’s name in connection with his work.  They grew up on a diet of UFO, Fireball XL-5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, had their minds blown by Space:1999 (most likely because of the iconic 1970s design aesthetic of the ships, sets, etc) and might even have followed up with Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Terrahawks, Space Precinct…  If they didn’t know him from all of those (and more!) TV shows, then they definitely knew him as the guy who brought in “Super Marionation” and all those “creepy puppet” TV shows.

thunderbirds-puppetsGerry’s show productions and the people he hired to make it happen, such as the famous SF model-maker Martin Bower, revolutionized SF on TV. I’d wager that show for show, person for person that more lives have been touched by Gerry than Gene Roddenberry did with Star Trek. Obviously, Star Trek has had a much deeper and more heartfelt impact on the world at large than Gerry’s TV shows, but its hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of one of the many shows Gerry created.

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Work continues on my in-progress novel, the first part of which mostly takes place aboard a space freighter. I find my best “world building” comes from writing about things and letting the ideas fall out as I go along, as I have previously written about here. I have found some of that very challenging during the course of the novel, mainly as I felt it required some aspects of knowledge that I didn’t have immediate access to and dealt intimately with the spacecraft the action takes place in and around. Its one thing to conjure up an image of what it might be like, but to “realistically” write say, an action sequence that is logically consistent with the layout, furnishings and equipment  one might find in such an environment took a whole lot more planning.

By the time I reached that point, I was still wrestling with “issues” of how the overall ship was laid out internally. I felt that I needed lots of answers in a very short time and because of this, progress became stunted and slow. I found myself in a mire of technical details that I might not really need.  The best constructed worlds aren’t full of intricate details of everything, they are full of the right details of the things that are important.

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