A Trip Down Memory Lane to a Galaxy Far, Far Away


I don’t know if it was the Force, but something definitely awakened this past week when I FINALLY went to see the latest Star Wars episode, “The Force Awakens.” I’ve been a Star Wars fan since seeing the very first one back in May of 1977. I find it incredibly amusing that George Lucas was worried that it would be a flop and kept a low profile for its release, fearing humiliation if it did. Right. A flop that has spanned four generations, at least in my family.

I saw this latest one with my 42 year old daughter, who was three years old when the first one came out. Way back then, I was 29. Now she could take her three year old grandson to see it. That does something to me on so many levels that I’m not sure I can even describe it.

First of all, on an intellectual level, I marvel at anything that maintains its popularity for that long. Of course if you like old movies, you can find them, whether it’s on Netflix, the cheap video bin at Walmart or Turner Classic Movies. But few single titles can sustain that kind of audience. The only one I can think of that might even begin to compete would be “Gone With the Wind” which my mother saw when it was released in the 30s, then I enjoyed and subsequently my children. But it comes and goes, waning and waxing in popularity, whereas Star Wars has NEVER being invisible. In 39 years. Give that some thought.

I’ve always wanted to be a novelist, but I seriously wonder if I’d be writing science fiction if it weren’t for Star Wars. My initial idea for “Beyond the Hidden Sky” came from the opening scenes of that first flick, where R2D2 and C3PO blast off in an escape pod. The first step toward any story is “What if?” and for me that comprised “What if a rebellious teen-aged girl moving from one planet to another with her family got blasted off accidentally in an escape pod?” The result of that premise launched my Star Trails Tetralogy of four novels and a companion volume which number over 1500 pages. I know other authors similarly inspired.

I really enjoyed this latest episode, which was reminiscent in style and energy to the original trilogy. I really liked the new characters, at least the good guys, particularly Rey and Finn. My all-time favorite from the series was “The Empire Strikes Back” and, quite honestly, I wasn’t quite as enchanted by the more recent three. “The Phantom Menace” put me to sleep, actually, and the two after that were so-so, in my opinion. But this latest one resonated, right from the blasting of that iconic theme introducing the now-classic opening crawl. Instantaneously, I was back in 1977.

My eyes tend to water in places like the grocery store and Walmart, plus it’s allergy season here in Central Texas, so it may have only been that effect, which had me wiping my eyes from that point on. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog (see “RIP Columbia: Picking up the Pieces”) how memories are stored in both your head and heart with those that reside in the latter coming back full-force, replete with a physical reaction, when stimulated. Clearly, that’s where my memory of Star Wars resides.

That feeling of being taken back in time, coupled with lightspeed flashes of all that has transpired in my life since 1977, had a profound effect.

Not to digress, though I tend to do that a lot, but I remember reading about a study several years ago where they investigated the effects, if any, on rest home residents when they were exposed to music that was popular when they were young. Interestingly enough, the oldsters figuratively got younger! They acted younger and the physiological indicators such as blood pressure and such improved as well. It’s like when all those old feelings come back, your body responds and reverts to that place in space and time.

Time certainly is an illusion, something I may understand slightly better that some folks since I have a physics degree. I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun playing with such possibilities in my novels. But here on planet Earth, so far we haven’t conquered time. I may have been 29 when Star Wars was first released, but now I’m a great-grandmother. Believe me, I don’t feel that old, and I certainly didn’t feel that old watching Episode VII earlier this week.

At least I didn’t until Han and Leia came on screen. Seeing them OLD reminded me that I, too, was OLD! How could that be? I was jolted back to the present and that rush of nostalgia slammed through me like decelerating from lightspeed. I tend to be pretty hard on myself, expecting to look and have the energy I did when I was say, well, to be reasonable here, even 50. After all, I don’t feel that old inside my head. But I am. I look it, no matter how much I try to deny it, and my body feels it, particularly my right knee which functions similar to an odometer.


Yes, something happened when I saw Han and Leia in all their 60s glory. Time marches on and waits for no one.

Will this movie have a similarly profound effect on me like the first one? Maybe. It’s made me acutely aware that time is not standing still. If there’s anything I want to do before I die, then I’d better figure out what that is and get to it. I’ve already been reminded of that a few times recently when contemporaries of mine have passed on, which is starting to happen with increasing frequency. It’s time to forget about the things I didn’t do in the past 39 years and concentrate on what I want (or could) to accomplish in the years I have left.

They say that your life flashes before your mind’s eye when you die. Perhaps compressing 39 years into a nanosecond was a freebie from the Universe, reminding me that time, indeed, does not stand still. I remember a similar feeling the first time I heard “Sunrise, Sunset”, that sentimental song from “Fiddler on the Roof,” back when my children were still young. Now they’re all grown and even their children are grown or will be soon. It’s incomprehensible that I have a grandson in the U.S. Marines with two others married and having children of their own.

buellerquotePerhaps Ferris Bueller said it best when he declared “Time moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That was in 1986, a mere 30 years ago. Matthew Broderick is no spring chicken these days, either.

OMG, where has all that time gone?


I ♥ Sci Fi

Beyond the Hidden Sky Cover

I’ve been a science fiction fan for as long as I can remember. It started when I was in grade school and discovered H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Robert A. Heinlein. I couldn’t even begin to name my favorite sci-fi books. The list would be far too long, though I did attempt to include a few on Amazon’s Listmania which you can find here: http:/www.amazon.com/Favorite-Science-Fiction-Stories/lm/R2ZY3ZD3AXZJXG/.

My love of the genre was further fueled by the original Star Trek TV series (yes, I’m that old), then years later by movies such as Star Wars and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. I absolutely loved Back to the Future I and III as well as ET: The Extraterrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind,and Alien which all maintain a solid grip on my list of favorites. Needless to say, these movies were popular upon release and continue to live on via cable and satellite TV, Net Flix and, of course, DVDs. Obviously, lots of people at least like sci-fi enough to be considered a fan. After all, the nerd population alone cannot explain the success these flicks enjoyed at the box office.

But there are fans and there are Fans. To be a Fan takes your dedication to the next level. I remember someone cozying up to me one time in church, no less, so she could whisper in my ear. I expected her to tell me my slip was showing or I had a massive run in my pantyhose but instead she asked somewhat conspiratorially, “Are you a trekkie?” I’m not sure how she could tell, but clearly it showed, if not my slip, and this otherwise rather spiritual woman recognized me as one of her own.

That alone probably doesn’t necessarily qualify me as a Fan, only weird. But I’m sufficiently obsessed with sci-fi that I’ve actually been to a few Sci-Fi Conferences, or Cons as they’re affectionately called. No, I wasn’t tromping around in chainmail (much less ONLY chainmail) or dressed like Princess Leia, but I definitely understand the humor behind Bimbos of the Death Sun. Surely you’ve heard of it–no? Okay, nevermind. Let’s just say it’s a cult classic in the Con crowd. And actually, quite a few people go to Cons, but would the truth be known, there are two different categories of attendees: After all, there wouldn’t be sci-fi fans (or Fans) without sci-fi authors.

I’m not saying this to brag, but I’ve been writing science fiction since 6th grade when I penned (or rather penciled) stories on lined, yellow paper explaining our teachers’ origins (at least the ones we didn’t like). This has continued, though it’s no longer teachers who populate my tales, placing me in the “author” category. This, in turn, takes me slightly beyond Fan and qualifies me as a FAN. Unless you’re a total masochist you’re not going to turn out over a thousand pages of science fiction, some of which was done on a manual typewriter, unless you’re also a huge FAN.

But beyond that there are FANS. These people (mostly) are the ones so totally obsessed with science fiction that they live it. I, my friend, am here to confess that I am one of those. Initiation into this category is not for everyone. At the least, it involves numerous long nights exerting mental effort sufficient to spawn a brain hemorrhage. It’s multivariable calculus applied to electro-magnetic theory. Orbital dynamics and reference frame transformations. Deriving Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity as well as General Relativity plus knowing the difference between the two.

These are not problems that the average Star Wars fan or Fan would recognize if they hit them upside the head, especially if it were presented in mathematical notation. These are typical problems that physics majors confront as they attempt to discover exactly what the science comprises behind science fiction. Which is exactly what a person totally obsessed with science fiction is likely to subject themselves to.

Yes, I am that weird. I got a bachelor’s degree in physics as part of my obsession for science fiction. Then I was lucky enough to work at NASA for over twenty years. And now I’m retired and finally get to fully return to my first love, science fiction.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You don’t have to be crazy to work here but it helps.” To paraphrase, “You don’t have to be a physicist to write science fiction, but it helps.” Not only does it help but it provides you with a plethora of great ideas because the more you know about this stuff the weirder it gets. It’s a total blast. Writer’s block? Nah! Just read the latest research and you’ve got more ideas than you could develop in fifty lifetimes.

Surely not all science fiction fans are physicists but I would dare say that the converse is true and the vast majority of physicists are sci-fi fans, Fans, FANS or perhaps even FANS in that sci-fi’s effect on them was similar to mine. And I truly hope that my attempt at this genre brings my readers (and hopefully fans) even a nano-bit of enjoyment. Whether I could possibly inspire any of them to become FANS like those early sci-fi genre pioneers did for me I’ll probably never know, but I can always hope I run into one at a Con someday or maybe in a galaxy, far, far away. Until then, may you Live Long and Prosper (RIP, Mr. Spock), May the Force be with You, and may you feel inclined to find me at the links below.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6481953.Marcha_A_Fox

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Author Website: http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com

Bublish Author Page & Book Excerpts: https://www.bublish.com/author/view/3111

Twitter: https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

Blog Page: https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/ (Be sure to check out my Physics Explained Blog)

Tumblr: http://startrailsiv.tumblr.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/marcha-fox/86/440/326/

Google+: google.com/+MarchaFoxAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kallioperisingp/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZsgOqTmtMFutwU3lt4RByQ