I first met CJ Henderson at the Opus Fantasy Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado several years ago. He was sitting behind a table selling an impressive number of story collections, all of them featuring one or more of his stories. As it turns out, CJ was a long way from his home turf in New York, but he travels to quite a few conventions over the year hawking his wares. You can read more about this in the June-July 2010 issue of the SFWA Bulletin where CJ has a great article called “Hitting the Road.”
Since I first met CJ, he has sold a number of stories to me for Tales of the Talisman magazine. I invited him to submit a story for the first volume of Full-Throttle Space Tales — Space Pirates and asked him to return for Space Horrors. He also introduced me to Danielle Ackley-McPhail, who you’ll meet in the next post of this series.
Before I turn it over to CJ, let me remind you that there are only two more days to take advantage of the special pre-order discount for Space Horrors. Click the link for the Flying Pen Press Space Horrors page for details.
CJ Henderson here. My story “Oh Why Can’t I?” is the fourth tale I’ve written in the “Tales of the Roosevelt” series. It all started with me being invited to a sci fi military anthology, Breech the Hull. Not being a sci fi military writer, my first inclination was to let this invite pass. But, the editor and the publisher were both close friends, so I had to come up with something that wouldn’t embarrass any of us.
I won’t go on at length over what it took for me to get started, but I finally did get a touch of inspiration, and I wrote the story “Shore Leave,” which I believe was the world’s first scifi military musical comedy. It was so well received, people started asking for more. So, in the anthology Space Pirates, I placed the second story in the series, “Space Pirate Cookies.” “Everything’s Better With Monkeys” went into the anthology So It Begins, and that brings us to the story in this present volume. Well, actually, there’s already a fifth story written which will appear later this year: “A Meal Fit For God,” which will run in By Any Means, the third book in the “Defending the Future” series.
In this particular story, I decided to pull out all the Classic Trek references I could. Couldn’t figure out how to have a guy in a red shirt die, but there are little tributes throughout. The stars of these stories are usually two sailors, Rocky and Noodles. Think 1940s buddy picture comedies, and you’ll have the idea. Though we always see these two, each story has seen more characters introduced to the series.
Before writing our entries for this blog, we were specifically warned not to do any spoilers. I don’t want to start chattering about the details of this story, because I’ll probably ruin something for someone, so instead I’ll just talk about the entire series for a moment. I think, much like Classic Trek as opposed to those series which followed it, the Roosevelt stories are not so much about science fiction, or the military, as they are the human condition. It’s not that I set out to do this, but being called upon to look back on what I’ve done so far, that’s essentially what the core of each tale so far has been about … what makes us tick, what makes us different, what makes us worthwhile.
I don’t want to ramble on forever, so I’ll wrap up by saying, if anyone out there has read any of the Roosevelt stories and wants to comment on them, or wants to read some of my other fiction, come on over to www.cjhenderson.com. There are always short stories posted for folks to read, and the “Contact Us” spot is easy to find. I’ve had great fun writing these tales, but then, I usually have a lot of fun with whatever I write. So, anyone that jumps in and buys Space Horrors, yes … there’s one sci fi military horror musical comedy in the mix … and I hope you like it. Whether you do or not, come on over and let me know.
Thanks for your time.
– CJ Henderson