Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Go Ahead, Aim For the Stars

During last month's A-to-Z Challenge, I highlighted a number of authors that have inspired me over the years. Many of these authors broke new ground, tried new things and were often met with lukewarm receptions.

Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing about John Carter traveling to Mars in 1912. He described large flying ships, planetary atmospheric processing plants and Tharks, the six-limbed and not so little green Martians. When was he inducted into the EMP Museum's Science Fiction Hall of Fame? 2003. Talk about patience!

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And let us not forget the great Jules Gabriel Verne. In the 1860s & 1870s he was taking readers 20,000 leagues under the sea, around the world in eighty days, to the moon and even to the earth's very center. Verne had to wait until 1999 for his induction to the Hall of Fame. He was often perceived as a children's or (gasp!) genre author.

Isaac Asimov's robots with positronic brains showed up in his short stories as early as 1939. (Who knew Lt. Commander Data was so dated?) They appeared in his novels by the 1950s. Keep in mind that we didn't even have pocket calculators until the 1970s.

In the 1930s and 1940s we had C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and the rest of the Inklings discussing literature and creating hobbits, ringwraiths and vistas like Narnia, among so much more.

These writers were visionaries. They were in many ways ahead of their time. Much of what they accomplished wasn't always appreciated until years later. And they were but a few who dared to write what none had written before.

The take-away? Possibilities are limitless. Let yourself dream and break new ground.

Go ahead, aim for the stars!

47 comments:

  1. Just goes to show...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Great post, Jeff! :)

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  2. So inspiring! It can be easy to forget sometimes that greats like this weren't always considered...well, great!

    I'm off to aim for the stars now. ;)

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    1. Aim well, Heather. They're within your grasp.

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  3. I had no idea that Jules Verne wasn't inducted into the Hall of Fame until 1999. It's unbelievable what all of these literary geniuses had to go through. I love how you tied this in with A to Z, and ended with a bang!

    Julie

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    1. Agreed. Far too long. Thanks, Julie!

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  4. Love it! So inspiring :) Anything is possible and you won't know until you put yourself out there!

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    1. Who knows, the today's oddball scenario might be tomorrow's topic in literature classics.

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  5. I'm glad you mentioned Tolkien (one of my favourites)

    Lynda R Young
    IWSG co-host

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  6. You never lose if you try. Authours who go into the unknown are brave and wise. Nice IWSG post today.

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  7. Aloha Jeff,

    Spot on advice, my friend, spot on :)

    (Although I do hope I'm around to see a little of the fruit of my labor :)

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    1. Let's hope we all can witness a little fruit.

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  8. I've sat in the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford where the Inklings met. Just being there was inspirational.

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    1. That can be nothing but inspirational. I could get lost in that moment for sure.

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  9. Let yourself dream and break new ground

    Love it! It's so easy to hold ourselves back, to worry about doing something that hasn't been done before because what if no one likes it. Well, what if they love it?

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  10. Isaac Asimov was one of my favourites along with Ray Bradbury and C.S. Lewis. Asimov at least had the satisfaction of seeing some of the things he wrote come to pass, I remember the intro into a short story collection in which he wrote about exactly that. It seems we might have a new one amongst us from reading what you have written.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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    1. (:::blushing:::) I'm glad that you're enjoying it.

      Asimov was fortunately to witness it. I'd wager Shakespeare never expected folks to be reading his stuff 400 years later. It just goes to show that anything is possible.

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  11. It's breaking that new ground that concerns me. Do I have it in me?

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    1. There is much in you, Alex--all of it great.

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  12. What's the saying? Aim for the stars and you'll never come up with a handful of mud!

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    1. Ooops...maybe it's reach for the stars.

      Oh well, same idea ;)

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    2. I bet "mr seckman" knows. :)

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  13. Aim for the stars but keep your feet firm on the ground, my grandfather used to say. Not meaning you can't fly, but to keep your eyes open for possible deceiving clouds that might take you off course. Breaking new grounds? I'm up for breaking whatever you invite me to break, hahaha. :D

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  14. Sometimes I have to tune out all the voices-- internet, social media, etc--and just find my dream, here the voices I'm meant to respond to. We each have something original and unique to offer-- our gift and manifestation of creation. Here's to finding and exploiting it! Great topic, Jeff.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. That is a problem these days, blocking out all the distractions from modern connectivity so that we can focus on the connectivity required to get words on the page.

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  15. Wow, you seriously just mentioned like...all of my favorite writers. Those are some big names to live up to. But hey, you never know until you try.

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    1. Yeah, that was a serious load of heavyweights, but those names are irrefutable proof of what is possible.

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  16. All their originality really paid off, even if the powers that be couldn't figure it out for several decades. But, they don't matter, anyway. Only the readers do and they all caught on right away.

    I didn't know Data's brain was so dated, either! I still don't really know what a "positronic" brain is, after all these years.

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    1. The positronic brain is still a closely guarded national secret. I could tell you, but then...well, you understand, right? ;-) But yes, their originality did indeed pay off, for some more quickly than others.

      And things change over time. The "genre author" label no longer carries the same heavy stigma of years ago. Vampires were done and dismissed decades ago only to be re-envisioned and re-popularized. Our unique twist on something today could be what starts the new trend tomorrow.

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  17. I agree! Me might as well reach for the moon! :)

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  18. Hi Jeff.
    Good to know the progress in the a to z challenge
    yet another challenge is just finished, This is not
    the end of it, our journey goes on. keep going
    Have a wonderful time ahead.
    Best Regards
    Ann

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    1. Thank you, Ann. I'm glad we got a chance to meet. Here's to our continuing journey.

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  19. I think one of my writerly insecurities is that I won't be able to come up with anything groundbreaking in the first place.

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    1. But the groundbreaking can go any place we want. Inner space, outer space, other dimensions, anywhere!

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  20. Those writers are all pioneers. Did it all start with Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, or is that a different genre?

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    1. I think aiming for the stars can be any genre, Richard. It's all how we choose to interpret and apply it.

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  21. Jeff, what a great post! Inspirational and informative. It's amazing what was once considered to be sci-fi has become scientific reality. And all of those authors have been my mentors, of sorts.

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    1. Very true about scientific progress. And thanks for the compliment.

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  22. Great post! It's fun to read Lewis' descriptions of the "spaceship" in his science fiction trilogy.

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    1. Yes! I kept pausing to consider how many things he imagine did/can come to pass--in one way or another.

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  23. Hi Jeff,

    Finally, at almost three in the morning, I get to your blog. You mention so many notable authors that inspired you to keep your writing passion motivated.

    And no, I'm going to be completely serious this time. Indeed, good sir, aim for the stars, just mind Uranus on your way there.

    Gary :)

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    1. I've got to get off the urn upon which I sat first. :)

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