Thursday, 28 September 2006

The curse of spaceships

When I find time these days, I am working on the final volume of the Lamb Among the Stars Series, which has the working title of The Infinite Day. A substantial part of the plot involves spaceships and travel on them. I had never realised until I started writing some of the material exactly how challenging it is to write about space travel.

I don't mean the awesomeness of the scale and grandeur of the cosmos, I just mean the depressingly boring and claustrophobic nature of travelling in space. It takes days, if not weeks, and there's nothing to see. Just stars and black stuff. And more of it. And the spaceships themselves tend to be dull functional things. So the entire narrative has to really revolve around people and words and relationships. Only no one leaves, and no one visits. In fact, it's pretty much like writing a drama set inside some large rather drab office. Spaceships seem to be quite the most boring setting in the cosmos. There is more going on in even the most run-down and remote Welsh village than the entire star fleet of some civilizations.

Some people marvel at how they could axe Star Trek. I'm amazed that it ever lasted so long.