Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Space Crash - my first novel

In keeping with yesterday's post about finishing coloring books I started when I was 9, here's a little oddity I've been meaning to share for a while. Many people know that my first published novel (Here, There & Everywhere) was not my first novel, and that I'd actually released a few more as POD titles in the years before. A smaller set of people know that the first of those POD titles, though, wasn't my first novel either, and that I'd actually written something like five or six (or seven or eight? I don't remember) novels before that, dating back to college, which will never see the light of day.

But few people know that the novels I wrote in college weren't my first novels, either. In fact, I wrote my first novel nearly three decades ago, at the age of nine.

It ran to 426 words on three and a half handwritten pages, and it was entitled Space Crash.

Here, for your delectation, is that novel. (Click the images to embiggen, or just read the transcript below if you can't make out my nine-year-old cursive penmanship.) In transcribing this epic, I have left in all misspellings and typographical errors, including the (bafflingly) misspelled title on page 1.

Also note that the following in no way bears any resemblance to any theatrical films that might have been released two years before in 1977. No resemblance at all.


Space Chrash
by Chris R.

In our future there is a place in time and space. On Venus two there is a boy named Jim Spacerider, and his father Bill Spacerider. They live in a dugout in Cantena Five. They were rebel troopers. Jim’s mother died in a *Space Crash near Cantena Five. He and his father were okay, but she was dead.

They then joined the rebel gorillas. There were a princess named Mary Wildsun and she was beautiful. She was on the rebel force. The empire was evil and strong but the rebels were strong, too. Later Jim and Bill went to the

rebel statoin on Valtar in the Crab Nebulae. They went there in Star Fighters. “Were in the Crab Nebulae, now,” said Jim cheerfully! The empire leader was named Dick Vaber.

He was evil and strong. The leader of the rebel’s was Ben Vaber, they were brothers to blood, not heart or brain. Ben was smarter. Ben had seven medals. Dick had five. Ben had one hundred five stations, Dick had ninety nine. Ben had 2,340,798,910 men.

Dick had 530,102,803. But Dick was the strongest man in the univirse. Ben used his wits instead of strength. Jim and Bill went to see Ben Vaber and Marywildsun and a friend named Brooke Starraider. Brooke had a droid named Jenny and she looked like Shirley Temple. Nobody knew it but Dick had captured Jan, mother of Jim

wife of Bill. Everybody thought she was dead, but she was captured by Dick. When they got to Valtar the search began to find what happened to Jan. Mary, Brooke, and Jenny took galaxy Five and Four. Bill, Jim, and Ben, Two and Three. They took Laser bows and Atomic arrows. “Nothing,” cried Bill who was mad at Dick for killing Jan. Brooke, Mary, and Jenny had found Dick’s base on Saturn Four. They went inside and saw a small planet inside an outer false planet, which was unusual.

It was the only one like it. They contacted Jim, Bill, and Ben to come, but the startroopers trapped them. The other rebels came to fight back. Whith laser gun’s in there hands, the startroopers lost the battle. Then

Ben saw Dick and said “So we meet agin brother.” They both drew Atomic arrows and Laser bows, and they had a battle. Ben won and Dick died. Jim saw a cell and opened it and saw Jan inside. They called Bill, Ben, Brooke, Mary, and Jenny and they got away to fight another day.

the end.
And to complete the set, here's the back cover.

Admittedly, the plot tends to wander a bit. In my defense, though, the addition of my three younger siblings as supporting characters (Brooke Starraider, Mary Wildsun, and Jenny the droid who looks like Shirley Temple) was at the insistence of my dad, as I recall, an early example of editorial interference.

I like the rebel gorillas, personally.
/throws roses
Aren't the rebel gorillas perfect? Honestly, can't you just see them? Brachiating through the trees with bandoleers slung over their chests, cigars in the corners of their mouths, wearing red bandannas and berets and shouting Marxist slogans...

Just perfect.
I think you're really onto something with those rebel gorillas. Rick Klaw is probably in ecstasy at the thought.
Him and Mark Finn both, Bill.
I can see them now, but you'd better act quick, it seems like the sort of thing that Jeff Parker would jump on, and we don't want that now do we? I kid, Parker is a heck of a nice guy and a great friend to the talking-gorilla crowd.
As for your story I find that you were, perhaps, heavily influenced by the early Ballard, crossed with a slight hint of Ellison and Burroughs The Naked Lunch, but then who isn't at nine years old?
Seriously, interesting look into the formation of a writer, however it does not make me want to look up my youthful works, I remember them quite fondly and am unsure they would survive the burden of reality.
Hope you are taking care.
Thanks, Greg!

But yeah, aside from the Marxist rhetoric, I think that Ken "Gorilla Man" Hale is pretty close to the image I've got in mind, cigar and all. Damn that Parker for being preemptively awesome!
"He and his father were okay, but she was dead."

This is perhaps one of the top hundred most perfect lines ever set to paper.

Your best work by far! My favorite part is the Shirley Temple droid. I keep picturing the Joan Rivers Threepio from Spaceballs though.
Absolutely priceless!
No way is that at all like another story we know. Come on, it's totally original!

That's probably my favorite line in the thing, too, Bill.

I'm tempted, the next time I do a reading at a convention, to read this instead of a chapter of whatever my new thing of the moment is. I'd have to figure out some way of getting all the mispellings and malapropisms across, though.
It was conventional wisdom around the Roberson house at the time, Jen, that my youngest sister looked like Shirley Temple, largely by dint of her curly hair.

To be honest, though, I think I'm picturing something closer to Bernadette Peters in Heartbeeps.
You're right, SMD! I did introduce the innovation of "Laser bows" that fire "Atomic arrows."

Though, admittedly, the idea of firing atomic bombs attached to arrows doesn't seem all that wise, in retrospect...
Okay, I've tried to read this three times, but I break down laughing every time I get to "Dick Vaber." I just can't...go...on...

thanks for posting this!
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