Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Space Cowboy

Oh, I love me a good space cowboy. I know for sure that when we do finally get out there into the stars, the cowboys will be some of the first pioneers to buy a ticket. They'll push the boundaries of the cosmic plains and blaze the path for civilization to follow.

I've never seen space or alien planets as a sanitary, scientific place. Nope, it's always been rugged and wild lands waiting to be explored and conquered.

My interest was piqued first when I read the short story, The "Tale of the Adopted Daughter" included in Robert Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love". Then there was, of course, "Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future" by Mike Resnick.

(If I remember right, this came out a couple years after Star Wars and my Han Solo crush.)

Actually, most Mike Resnick novels have a distinct western feel to it if you're looking for some good reads.

For the final installment in The Telomere Trilogy, "End of Eternity", I knew I had to insert a crusty old space cowboy. Hence, Lane Rafferty, from the desert city of Ballarat on the planet of Inyo.

And Lane has a grudge to settle with the immortal space captain, Noah Bonney. He tracks her across two galaxies just to get it.

The old door across his office slammed shut. From below his black, curved brimmed hat Laken Rafferty lifted his head enough to see who'd entered. Little Vick, the mousy small man, squirmed and wrung his hands. Rafferty sighed, kicked his crossed feet off the desk, and tipped his hat back.

"What you want? I'm busy." Rafferty sneered as the dim idiot looked on, confused. "I was joking, you jackass."

"Oh," Little Vick managed a weak smile, "yeah."

After a moment of silence, Rafferty narrowed his eyes to glare at him. Little Vick jumped as if electrocuted and stumbled forward closer to the desk, the sand from his boots grinded against the wood floor.

"Message in from Reilly, sir." Little Vick tapped on the desk cube and an old, old image popped up. "She's on her way into the region, sir. To this system to be exact."

Rafferty stood, placed his fists on the desk, and bent forward. "She's in the region? You sure?" Vick's head bobbed up and down in eagerness. "Silver Fish... interesting."

"Passin' through is more like it. Hoppin' from Space Leap 589 to Space Leap 425. More interesting, she has her daughter with her. Recently confirmed as one to."

Rafferty's body jerked in shock. "His and hers?"

"Yup. Reilly himself notified they raided one of his sites about a week or so ago and are now headin' this direction."

Rafferty didn't like Reilly, but an ends to a means was an end to a means. No matter the devils you had to play with to get there.

"But..." Vick wavered and then added with a quiver in his voice, "They in league with the Demons of Asatru, sir." He shivered and touched his chest before pointing to the sky with a prayer. "The demons will be meeting them at Space Leap 589 to deliver somethin', from what I understand."

Rafferty wouldn't go into battle with the demons, knew no one who would. It didn't mean he couldn't wait 'em out... way clear of the delivery. Quite a distance, a good five rotations from space leap to space leap. "Get on it and prep two mid-size vessels ordered from Gatro. Set up my Bat Ray and tell Reilly I'm headed out. I'll fly solo to meet the vessels."

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Well, I hope you liked the excerpt. Sometime in the future I'll do a full length novel set completely in the space western subgenre.

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  1. Interesting post. I too like space cowboys. I my critique partners tell me that's what I write, space westerns. I call it spaceopera but it's the same thing.

    Loved the excerpt, too.

  2. Yeah, I can see that, Cynthia. I think space opera lends to the "wild west" feel of frontier conquering. This frontier just happends to be the stars.

  3. Yeehaw! Congrats on finishing out the trilogy. The genre of science fiction was originally patterned off the old westerns, so having a space cowboy is kind of a nod to the history of sci-fi.

  4. Oh, I didn't know that Allie! I love learning new things. No wonder it just seemed to fit so well.

  5. That's a neat concept of the space cowboy. Sounds like a lot of fun to write!

  6. Thanks Patty! It was fun and fueled my desire to write a full space/frontier western. *sigh* when I find time, however.