I promised I’d post the Author Afterwords from StarBridge Book One, and here they are. The first was written when StarBridge first appeared, and the second, updated one I wrote last month for the new Ridan electronic edition of the book.
Hope you enjoy them!
AUTHOR’S AFTERWORD: 1989
One day when I was in the third grade, I went to my local library and discovered something terrifying: I had read all the horse books!
Horrors! A lifetime of desolate boredom stretched before me. Desperately I scanned the shelves, searching frantically for something new to read. My tracing fingers halted on a volume with a rocket on its spine. I pulled it out began turning pages, and within a minute or two, laid the book beside me instead of putting it back on the shelf. Rocket to Luna, by Richard Marsden, I believe it was. And within minutes, another joined it . . . Star Rangers, by Andre Norton.
I don’t remember which one I read first, but by the time I’d finished both, I was hooked. Science fiction was my passion. I read all the books with the rocket on the spine, and all the books by Andre Norton . . . and as the years went by books by Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, Samuel R. Delaney, Harlan Ellison, Roger Zelazny, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin . . . the list goes on and on.
In the early days of my science fiction reading, though I continued to devour space adventures eagerly, I began to feel that something was missing. It wasn’t until I was fourteen and read Andre Norton’s Ordeal in Otherwhere that I finally figured out what the missing “something” was. Females. Girls. Women. I wanted space adventures featuring female protagonists!
Not just girls who got rescued once in a while, but women who had adventures—the kind of adventures the male protagonists had. Why couldn’t there be female space pilots, or traders, or explorers, I wondered. It wasn’t fair for the guys to have all the fun!
Of course, nowadays we have Cirocco Jones, Ellen Ripley, Kate Harlin (from Anne Moroz’s No Safe Place) and dozens of other great female protagonists. Heroines abound in science fiction and fantasy. But in those days, until Andre wrote about Charis Nordholm (her heroine in Ordeal), women were conspicuous only by their absence.
Even in Star Trek, which I loved and watched from its inception, most of the females did little more than swoon over James T. Kirk. (You’ll note I said most. There were a few notable exceptions, such as “Number One.” Gene Roddenberry has stated that the network moguls turned pale at the idea of having a woman second-in-command. “Get rid of her,” they commanded. “And while you’re at it, get rid of that guy with the ears, too.” Oh, well. These were the same people who cancelled the show after its third season, on the grounds that it wasn’t popular enough, so that shows how in touch with reality they were.)
More years went by. I became a writer myself, and enjoyed having my female protagonists explore, lead, fight, spy—and even rescue the guys, from time to time.
Then, in 1985, my agent said that she thought the time was ripe for a series of space adventure books—and she suggested that I invent one. Thus StarBridge was born. I knew what I liked to read, and I knew from the popularity of my Star Trek books that other people liked to read the same kinds of stories. So I sat down to invent a universe where those kinds of stories could be set; books about adventure in space, featuring lots of interesting aliens, with the emphasis on character interaction rather than hardware.
Books like those old space-adventure tales that I’d loved as a kid—with one difference. You guessed it—the heroes of these stories could be either male or female. I had a lot of fun working with such a wide-open universe – a universe big enough that seven novels barely scratched the surface.
Here’s hoping you enjoy StarBridge, and the six novels that follow it: Silent Dances, Shadow World, Serpent’s Gift, Silent Songs, Ancestor’s World and Voices of Chaos.
—Ann Crispin, April 1989
AUTHOR’S AFTERWARD: 2011
I can hardly believe that it’s been thirteen years since I wrote the original StarBridge! In this case, it’s lucky thirteen, since the entire series is coming back out, thanks to Ridan Publishing. I am, in a word, thrilled. When I first began developing the StarBridge universe, in the late 80’s, I’d been writing professionally for only seven or eight years. Now I’m approaching my 29th year as a science fiction and fantasy author. Time flies when you’re having fun!
And the StarBridge series was fun. It was verged on indecent, how much fun I had, working on the universe, interacting with my co-authors (and friends) and developing those seven books. I’m just delighted that they’re coming back. Of course…it was a heckuva lot of work, I can’t deny that, either. I’ve never tackled a more ambitious project than creating the StarBridge universe and developing/helping to develop all the stories we set in it.
But you know…it was completely worth it. I’ve been proud of StarBridge all these years, and readers responded very positively to the series. Ever since e-books began their rise, I’ve received emails asking me about whether StarBridge would be re-released for e-book readers. I must have gotten a hundred or more. Some readers reported having read their original copies practically into shreds. Others told me they were missing one or more books in the series, and hadn’t been able to complete their collection. Still other readers wanted to give their kids the StarBridge series, but they were loath to hand over their own cherished copies, and their kids want to read everything off a screen.
Now everyone is going to get their chance to read the series again, thanks to Ridan and the whole e-book revolution.
Think of it…when I first wrote this book, there was no internet. There were no cellphones. If you made a phone call, you did it from home, not wherever you happened to be. Books were made of paper, either hardcover or paperback. If you wanted to carry five hardcover books with you on vacation, they’d weigh down your suitcase!
And, sadly, the Twin Towers stood proudly in New York, within sight of publisher’s row.
A lot has changed. Just thinking about it as I write this makes my head fairly spin.
What hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that science fiction readers still relish that sense of wonder and adventure that a well-told sf story brings them. When I developed this series, I thought long and hard about what I liked best about science fiction, and what I wanted to read about, and then I put it into StarBridge, and the books that followed after: Silent Dances, Shadow World, Serpent’s Gift, Silent Songs, Ancestor’s World, and Voices of Chaos.
If the series does well in re-release, there may be new, original StarBridge books yet to come. Kathy O’Malley and I have already begun thinking about a third book about Tesa. And one afternoon about ten years ago, I plotted a book where Rob and Mahree are reunited for an adventure in Sorrow Sector. I’d love to write that book someday. Frankly, the possibilities are pretty much endless…it’s a big universe!
Before I go, there are people who helped me bring StarBridge back, and I must acknowledge their efforts, and thank them most sincerely. I really, honestly, could never have done it without them:
Kathy O’Malley and Anne Moroz scanned most of the StarBridge books so they could be re-born as e-books. Thank you so very much, Kathy and Anne.
My collaborators, Kathy O’Malley, Jannean Elliott, Tom King and Ru Emerson proofread the OCR’d files and corrected them, to bring you fresh, newly updated versions of their books. Thank you, Kathy, Jannean, Tom and Ru.
Robin Sullivan and her staff at Ridan Publishing, who produced these wonderful electronic versions of our novels. Thank you!
Michael Capobianco, my husband, who helped me proofread books, and helped with many administrative details in launching this project and getting it finished on a pretty tight schedule. Thank you, Michael!
-Ann Crispin, November 2011