Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yo ho! A Pirate's Life For Me!

Hi all! This is David Lee Summers swinging back through to talk a little about the kind of influence pirates have had on me and my life and writing.

Before Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swan set sail aboard the Black Pearl on movie screens, my characters Ellison Firebrandt, Carter Roberts, and Suki Mori were raiding starships on the pages of my novel, The Pirates of Sufiro. In The Pirates of Sufiro, one of the ideas is that it costs too much for space faring civilizations to build fleets of ships to go attack one another. Instead, they issues Letters of Marque -- privateer's licenses -- to individual ship owners who then generally disrupt the commercial ship traffic of their enemies. Firebrandt, Roberts and Suki were caught and marooned on a planet they dubbed Sufiro, where they ultimately had to deal with everything from con-men to white collar pirates.

My fascination with pirates didn't stop with The Pirates of Sufiro. When Desmond, Lord Draco needed transportation in Vampires of the Scarlet Order, he hitched a ride with the real life Irish pirate Grace O'Malley.

Perhaps it's not surprising with the way pirates keep coming into my work that I was eventually asked to edit a collection of space pirate stories. So, look for Firebrandt, Suki, and Roberts to return to the printed page in the story "For a Job Well Done" that will be in the anthology Space Pirates later this summer. In addition to my story, the book features stories by Neal Asher, Robert E. Vardeman, M.H. Bonham, and many more and is scheduled to be released at the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver.

The thing is, pirates don't just appear in my fiction, they seem to have a way of appearing in my real life, too. As I mentioned in my last guest post here, I recently returned to work at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The telescope scientist for the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope loves pirates, so the telescope's control room has pirate magnets and pirate mugs. I felt right at home during the interview!

So, where did my fascination with pirates begin. Ironically, I think my first inspiration was the very same thing that inspired the creation of Jack Sparrow and his crew that I mentioned at the top of my post. I grew up in Southern California and went to Disneyland as often as I possibly could (which really wasn't that often, since it's not exactly an inexpensive place to visit!). My favorite ride at Disneyland, as you might guess, was The Pirates of the Caribbean! "Yo Ho! A pirate's life for me!"

For those who would like to learn a little more about my books, the links above will just take you to the book section of my home page. In my earlier guest post I mentioned that this was a very busy week. Well, one of the things I'm doing is working at the WIYN telescope, surrounded by pirate stuff and looking up at the stars. Who knows what kinds of story inspiration this week might provide!

Thanks once again, Ginger, for letting so many of us raid your blog!

1 comment:

Bob Vardeman said...

I can certainly thank Jack Sparrow for reviving piratical interest. Besides "Eating Vacuum," I've also done stories for three Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms anthologies. If you want yet a different take on modern pirates, I'd done that too--available off my website store.

Arrrrr!
Bob

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