There are so many different takes on Science Fiction. From outer space and aliens to microscopic travels into the human body. By definition, science is “the intellectual and practical study …of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”.(Dictionary) Science knows no bounds which makes science fiction equally endless. That’s why I find myself asking science fiction authors what their inspiration is. What field of study do they pull their stories from? Where do they go for inspiration?
Every answer has been different. Every author has chosen to explore another small facet of our amazing universe.
So it is with R Roderick Rowe who has, among other things, chosen one particular aspect of the human condition to draw from.
As a science fiction writer, where do you get your specific inspiration from?
I’ve read Science Fiction my entire life (well since the 5th grade when I was getting into trouble for reading too much). My inspiration comes from what SF was available then. I cut my teeth on Isaac Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon. And then I discovered Heinlein. And Marion Zimmer Bradley. Heinlein’s “Farnham’s Freehold” put a zeal into SF for me. This was human nature at its worst and its best and trying hard to survive in between! I read “Stranger in a Strange Land” and realized a true connection with humanity when I learned that someone else could envision that Man could become much stronger with a true connection to “Self”. “Time Enough for Love” has marked me forever. There are so very many things I feel connected to when I follow the life and times of one Lazarus Long who had so many aka’s that an entire book could have been written about each! Finding humanity in a computer has never been so well done as it was done here. Finally, I discovered Darkover and was lost. Then at a much later point in time I began to read Sheri S. Tepper.
All of these listed authors are strongly represented in my work. I tempered Heinlein’s drastic need for complete and utter isolation of Stranger in a Strange Land to achieve ‘mental’ powers by building a society that cherished the elements of humanity along with developing stronger spiritual connections to the universe around them. I took Michael Valentine Smith as a starting point for Jamari, my young protagonist. I humanized Jamari where Smith was ethereal though. Sturgeon’s Godbody is very probably the single strongest impetus that makes Jamari who and what he becomes. And I found that book via Heinlein’s introduction. I don’t necessarily talk about ‘sex’ in my books. I talk about eros. That’s slightly different than Eros and the reader will get the chance to discover that distinction. Bradley’s world of Darkover showed me some interesting ‘takes’ on human ‘psychic’ ability. In that world, it’s a physical ‘thing’ that brings about these ‘ablilities’. In Jamari’s world, it’s long, dedicated study and deep inner searching that unlock the inner secrets of man and thereby enhance His interaction with the world He inhabits. Sheri S. Tepper deserves a full page of praise in her works that strive to discover the flaws of man; of man vs. woman; of man vs. world. And then builds a storyline that highlights the flaws while at the same time leaving room for the beauty that is humankind to triumph. Any potential reader who has read these authors will find connection from their works to mine.
Tell us about the science behind your story in relation to the technology that we have now.
The Tribe started its formation in around 2020 so, the starting technology at least has similarities to today’s times. The highest ‘tech’ they have is a Hydrogen Generation device (that was recently perfected by the U.S. Navy in their search for Oxygen). The Hydrogen Generator uses electrical power to separate H from O, saving the H for needy times. They get their electricity from solar panels and a Hydro-powered dam and turbines, very much from today’s technology. Though in Jamari’s time, there’s only one working turbine left and the other two hydro outlets have been converted to direct mechanical impulse to drive devices in the Blacksmith’s Hall at the base of Milltown Dam. Another aspect of water power is somewhat reverse-engineered. They built a canal system to deliver water from the dam to irrigate fields in the valleys below. Rather than waste the potential of that flow, they designed a wheeled device the connects to a water-wheel. The turning of the water wheel turns gears to drive a conestoga-like wagon upstream to bring crops home! At the lower end of the canal, there’s a hydro powered elevator that used the energy of water falling to drive an elevator that lifts the wagons up to the canal level for their journey to the tribal seat 3 miles upriver.
What are the biggest challenges you face writing in your genre?
Making my work fit into a genre in the first place! I value the ‘human’ connection that all the writers I admire have achieved. They were all ‘humanists’ at heart as evidenced from their works, yet they created Science Fiction from whole cloth and built a genre that was at first maligned and finally became the recognized pre-cursor to today’s technologies! Where they were inventing a genre, I’m compelled to find the limits of that genre and to test them a bit. Asking the age-old question, ‘what if?’. What if in the world of the future, the decreasing reliance on technology can actually become a good thing, can lead to greater human growth and advancement? What would that look like? Here’s the one that’s the most difficult of all: how can sexuality be brought into play? Very few of the founding fathers of Science Fiction were able to fully fathom what we take for granted today in sexual world that has begun to, albeit with great reluctance and fear, to accept and embrace more than just heterosexual monogamy. What might THAT look like in this future world? How far can it go before it’s no longer Science Fiction?
What do you hope to accomplish this year as an Independent author?
I’m finishing up the final book of The Manhood Rite’s Trilogy. It’s been in Dev Edit for a month and I’m working those details into a stronger work that I’ve found some promising Beta Readers to review. I’m hopeful that Paradigm Lost: Jamari and the Founder’s Sons will be released by mid to late August. It’s currently sitting at 97,700 words and more likely to grow before it shrinks.
Jamari Shaman has been submitted for the Eric Hoffer Award and is in the final stages of deliberation for the 2017 year now.
Rowe currently resides in the coastal town of Winchester Bay, Oregon where he owns a 51 foot commercial fishing boat called the Ceres. He was a nuclear power plant operator in the U. S. Navy in his earlier years and now has downsized from the mainstream in order to partake in his life-long dream of writing. You can find his books online and can keep up with the latest news on rwcollinspublishing.com.