Hey man, what were you up this weekend?
Oh you know, same old. Got shit-faced, had irresponsible sex with strangers, blacked out and forgot the whole thing. I only know from pics and and confusing texts on my phone.
You spent it writing didn’t you.
. . . No. Shut up.
Every now and again I meet a novelist who brags their work is so powerful, it even makes themselves cry. How’s that for the weirdest chest-thumping you’ve ever heard? Also, it’s ridiculous. A novel is a personal thing: by necessity an author draws it from experience. Who will ever relate more to your own experience than you?
My relationship with science fiction began in the early 80s with tv shows like Buck Rogers [title truncated for brevity] and Battlestar Galactica. A hawk man with feathers for hair, a cylon standing in a darkened room somehow reflecting a terrifying amount of light. I remember thinking even as a child that the cylon on screen was not an indestructible killer robot but a person in a suit trying not hurt themselves. The appeal for me was the dress up, making one thing standing for another. The on-screen image externalized fears buried somewhere in my childlike psyche: fear of authority, fear of the dark, fear of any intelligence incapable of feeling pity for my tiny helpless self.
Once I saw a movie that opens on a layabout in medieval Japan who needs work. A war is on, so he decides to become a samurai. He picks up a sword somewhere and follows after whichever army marches past first. I’ve no idea which film this is. My best guess is Hidden Fortress, in which case it’s not one guy but two.