Not long after I started reading science fiction, I bought Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume 2B, a collection of stories edited by Ben Bova. I got that collection of stories because it had a story by Iasac Asimov, who I had been introduced to by way of his novel, The Gods Themselves. That collection of stories also introduced me to Bova, James Blish, Algis Budrys, Theodore R. Cogswell, E. M. Forster, Frederik Pohl, Clifford D. Simak and Jack Vance…that volume provided a rather mind blowing expansion of my science fiction horizons. Jack Vance eventually became one of my favorite authors, but I mention that “Hall of Fame” volume here because of the story by Theodore Cogswell called The Spectre General which introduced me to the concept that published science fiction could be humorous. At the time I only knew of humor in science fiction from television, particularly The Trouble With Tribbles.
I think it was after reading The Spectre General that I first started to realize that I lack the ability to name characters. One of the characters in The Spectre General is named Schninkle. In a story full of soldiers with names like Krogson, Dixon and Blick, what could be better for comic relief than a stray Schninkle?
While reading the science fiction story No. at Novelas, the fiction wikia, I could not get images of ReBoot out of my head. Normally I am too busy being serious to include much humor in the science fiction I write. Evil aliens who are somewhat doltish about their invasion of Earth seems to be a sub-genre of science fiction, and No. includes a rather bumbling alien who is intent on enslaving humanity. I’ve often wondered why aliens would come half way across the galaxy to enslave humans and conquer Earth…I mean, besides all the girls. If I had been a more avid movie goer then I might have figured this out sooner. As explained in No., the big attraction is movie theater popcorn. Not to eat…all the fatty flavoring makes good rocket fuel. I’m glad we have that settled.