On Rutger Hauer…

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly.” 

Actor Rutger Hauer passed away this week at 75.  His career spanned six decades, appearing in over 100 films and television series in the U.S. and his native Netherlands. Like so many geeks, and children of the 80s, Hauer holds a special place in our collective psyche. As I think about his long career, there are two films/roles that stand out, and I still draw inspiration from today. 

In Richard Donner’s Ladyhawke, Hauer plays Navarre, a former captain of the guard who reluctantly befriends a young thief (Mathew Broderick) to help break a curse that forever keeps he and his lover (Michelle Pfeifer) apart. Ladyhawke changed my definition of what fantasy could be, and was so different from the stories I was reading at the time. Magic and dragons weren’t required to tell a good story. Crossbows could be just as effective as swords, perhaps more so. Heroes were more human when they were flawed. And fantasy could be funny, as evidenced by the laughs sprinkled throughout the film thanks to Broderick’s cheeky performance as Phillipe. 

And can we talk about the music for a moment? While the score by Tangerine Dream is much reviled, I adored it for how different it was from the typical orchestral fare. 

But by far my favorite performance, and perhaps the role for which Hauer is most famous is Roy Batty, the lead replicant in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir classic, Blade Runner. He set the bar for all artificial life made in the image of man. His performance is a marvel filled with a raw intensity, projecting rage and rapture in equal measure. But in the end he is more human than human, and we feel only sympathy as he draws his last breath, failing to circumvent the artificial limit set upon his life by his creator. His last words in the film make for one of the most memorable scenes in science fiction cinema:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Thanks for shining so bright Rutger. You will be missed.

New short story “Forever Bound” available today!

I’m excited to announce that my new short story “Forever Bound” which received an honorable mention in QSF’s new Migration anthology is available online today!  Migration features 300 word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

“Forever Bound” is a short tale of how not even death can sever the ties that bind, and is the fifth story I have published in QSF’s anthology series, which includes Discovery, Flight, Renewal and Impact.

So what are you waiting are you waiting for? Get a copy of Migration at the links below:




Fifty years ago…

On a humid July morning In 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin climbed aboard the most dangerous vehicle man had ever built, on a voyage to the moon.

I was two and half years old. I remember that day, or at least have convinced myself that I remember it, sitting in front of an old black and white television watching a streak of light hurtle towards the stars.

Like most boys growing up, I was fascinated by all things space (and dinosaurs of course). While interest in the Jurassic and Cretaceous eventually faded, the love of space and space travel, did not. Astronomy books, science-fiction novels, movies, I couldn’t get enough. I was a certified space geek.

When I went off to college I decided to study aerospace engineering, with the dream of working one day for NASA or JPL, but soon realized I was sorely lacking the discipline necessary for that field of study—more specifically, the math. And there was a lot of it. So I decided to pursue writing instead and switched over Journalism, which had only slightly more math than majoring in English. But my interest in all things space never waned.

Barely a year into my studies I watched horrified as the shuttle Challenger exploded in front of all our eyes, the ship and her brave crew scattering across the Atlantic. I didn’t attend class that day, not even the Astronomy elective I was taking. I remember President Reagan’s moving tribute later that evening: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God…”

There have certainly been other triumphs and disasters in our quest to explore beyond this pale blue dot we call home, but for me, none quite so much like the day humankind took their first steps on the moon.

Looking back over these past 5 decades as a man in his early 50s, I had hoped by now we would have at least planted a flag, any flag, in the red sands of Mars. But unfortunately, no. In fact it’s been 47 years since we last walked the on the moon. And now with less years in front of me than behind, it seems unlikely that either will happen, or happen again, in my lifetime.

But I am a space geek. And I am hopeful.

(Revised from a blog post I wrote on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing)