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Escapist Realism

When my friends and I were teenagers and drunk on Star Wars, we tried to figure out what so fascinated us about the film. We decided it was the suggestion of more going on than what we were being shown. The film created a universe that existed beyond what the camera was focusing on. As teenagers, it reminded us of how big our real world was and how little of it we were actually allowed to see.

Do you remember when Darth Vader was choking that crewman on the Rebel Blockade Runner at the beginning of the film? If you look in the background, you see Stormtroopers gathering up prisoners. Stuff is happening behind the main action. We thought that was cool. Of course there were other things we liked about the film. We loved the “used car” look of everything not on the Death Star. Again, this suggested a universe of possibilities beyond the story.

We didn’t know it at the time, but what we were liking about Star Wars was what writers refer to as world building. My friends and I were totally taken by the realism of the universe that Lucas gave us a glimpse of. We didn’t care so much about the main story, we were captivated by the universe of Star Wars. It was a place we desperately wanted to go and visit. It sure beat the dreary 1970’s.

In writing my Space Opera novels I try extra hard to create that interesting background. To make you feel like you are in a believable place that is just as real to you as the characters who inhabit it. When you pick up a Ken McConnell novel, you know that you are going back to that Starstrikers Universe where all kinds of things are going on and have been for thousands of years. My goal is to make that universe so real to you, that you lose yourself in the story. You keep turning the pages to see what else happens, and ignore the urge to pee, or to eat. And when you finish it, you immediately start looking for the next book so you can return to that world.


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