Anyone who knows me, knows I am a huge James Cameron fan, such that Aliens, The Terminator, The Abyss and Avatar are firmly locked into my brain whenever I write. This is because his work is so visual and whenever I think of someone trying to bring my work to life Cameron is my go-to guy.
But everyone talks about these movies.
Here, I’d like to mention some weirder ones, or less talked about, that also had an impact on my writing. You’ll note that they are all from the 1980s, which is not happenstance. For me, the 1980s provided some of the best, or at least most imaginative, sci-fi and fantasy movies ever made, and it is a hill I’m willing to die on.
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Okay, okay, so yep – it’s a Cameron movie but not as director, just the effects guy. Which is probably one of the main reasons I like the movie — because besides its silly plot and blatant inspiration from Star Wars, it left an impression afterward.
Importantly, much of the technology used by the different characters had a unique look and feel. And that is important when I write sci-fi; how does circumstance affect my world.
Straight up bonkers, this movie couldn’t make up its mind as to whether it was science fiction, fantasy, a swashbuckling pirate adventure or none of them. But one thing is for sure: everyone knows Krull.
It had its moments, from Slayers screeching horribly when they died, to the awesome Glaive weapon that I totally wanted. So why did it influence my writing? Because it did try to mash up several genres. The idea was there. And as such, I try to mix up genres a little in order to appeal to more than one audience.
Enemy Mine (1985)
I love Enemy Mine. Based on a novella by Barry B. Longyear, this is the first movie on my list where I’m not going to start off with some hidden apology. It’s brilliant, and showed me how a sci fi space story could revolve around just two people—and that story was rooted in what it meant to be human, or indeed Drac.
Not only that, but it was progressive with Jerry self fertilizing to become pregnant. My own stories are very character driven (as opposed to larger intergalactic epics).
I will admit that this “cartoon” scared the [insert expletive] out of me. When Tetsuo loses his temper and control of his power to become a giant blob of flesh that destroys everything, I think I hid behind the couch. But, overall Akira introduced me to Manga, Anime, and the unbelievably complex stories that go into these Japanese works of art. As a result I have visited Japan many times, own five-hundred year old katana and strive to be able to weave complex storylines into one seamless thread—something on which my reviewers often comment.
How does this tie into my latest work Dark Dweller? Well (takes deep breath): it is an extremely visual (with bespoke paintings) sci-fi meets Greek mythology story, in the first person present tense of four characters, that attempts to tie together multiple complex threads from the big bang to consciousness. See what I did there?
Dr. Gareth Worthington is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and thrillers. Also a scientist, he currently works in the pharma industry. Gareth is an authority in ancient history, has hand-tagged sharks in California, and trained in various martial arts. Born in England, he has lived around the world, and now resides in Switzerland with his family. Dark Dweller is published on February 28th by Dropship Publishing an imprint of Vesuvian, more information can be found HERE