I’m Writing a Sci-Fi Story For This Guy

Ten year old Cliff Galbraith in front of the United Nations building in NYC, after parade for Apollo 11 Astronauts in 1969

While he had many interests including cartoons, pro sports, art, rock music and comic books, this guy loved anything to do with space travel. Astronauts, space ships, science fiction or fact. It didn’t matter whether it was Neil Armstong on the moon or Charlton Heston on the Planet of the Apes. He read everything from Issac Asimov to Arthur C. Clarke to H.G. Wells. He was drawn to TV shows like The Outer Limits, Lost in Space, Star Trek, Space Angel, Astro Boy, Fireball XL-5, The Invaders, et al.

But the Apollo astronauts were his greatest passion. He’d cut out their pictures from newspapers and magazines and hang them on his bedroom walls. He’d draw them and their space crafts, and make little comic books of their journeys.

From time to time, I’d wonder what this little guy would say if he could meet the adult version of himself. What would be his reaction to the notion that he would one day be able to create animation or edit written stories on a personal computer? I think he’d ask me why I ever stopped drawing space ships, and when was I going start again?

This picture was taken by my mom, who took me to see my heroes in late summer 1969. She also taught me how to draw, and introduced me to Picasso, Dali, and Ruebens. Thanks Mom.

What I’m Reading This Week


I just finished Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep” which I felt would help me with writing for Rat Bastard. The book is very similar to the Humphrey Bogart film, it just has a lot more details. It’s hard not to picture anyone but Bogart as the cool-as-a-cucumber private dick Phillip Marlowe. I love the language, the terminology, the smart talk. At one point, Marlowe is questioned by a local hood, who never uses Marlow’s name, he simply refers to him as “soldier” — a kind of a put down, implying he’s a just a grunt in a much bigger picture. “What’s your angle, soldier?” he asks Marlowe. A great tough-guy taunt.


Now I’m on to “Stanley” a reconsideration of the life of Henry Thornton Stanley by Tim Jeel. According to Jeel, Stanley got a bum rap up until now. He’s been branded a racist, opportunist, exploiter, and henchman of King Leopold II. But Jeel got a rare look at the archives of Stanley’s diaries, and found a much different man — A man who cared deeply for the people of Africa and a true love of the continent. His bravery was unparallel, and may have been the greatest explorer in modern history. I’m just getting into the book, but it’s a fantastic read so far.

“Spook Country” by William Gibson


I think this could’ve been a pretty good short story: A new, underground artform called “locative art” uses a network of GPS technology as its method of display. Former lead singer of the band “The Curfew” Hollis Henry is hired by a new “Wired” type magazine to write an article on the new artform and hunt down the secretive hacker who makes it all possible. There’s Cuban agents, CIA, and a billionaire involved in the search. But it drags on. Gibson loves describing everything — even things he’s alread described. A coat is no long a coat, it is Paul Smith coat, and it’s the Paul Smith brand coat every time the coat is put on or taken off. Jeesh. If not for the former rocker angle, I would’ve put it down after the first 75 pages.