In this second article about my inspiration of Rayguns and Rocketships, I look at the literary influences on the game. I attended college at California State University at Long Beach. In my junior year, an annex to the library opened up on campus. This smaller library contained a private collection of science-fiction novels. Over the summer, I decided to take advantage of this library and read every science-fiction novel I had ever heard of. Starting with Isaac Asimov, I read my way through the classics of the genre.
My favorites ended up being the space operas – novels that weren’t rooted in hard science, but rather focused on swashbuckling adventures and the stories often had a touch of fantasy to them. These novels definitely had a big influence on my taste in sci-fi and the creation of Rayguns and Rocketships.
SCIENCE FICTION TALES: INVADERS, CREATURES AND ALIEN WORLDS by Various
This was one of the first science-fiction books I remember reading. One tale from this anthology stuck with me in particular. It was about a boy had to fight off a boarding gang of space pirates. I distinctly remember learning how deadly a simple knife was to a space-suit in outer space.
A PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs
John Carter hasn’t fared too well in movies but the original tale written by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Earthman John Carter kicks butt as his sword-fights against armies of Martians, space beasts and other baddies to reunite with his love Dejah Thoras, the original space princess.
THE BOOKS OF SKAITH by Leigh Brackett
Eric John Stark is another classic sci-fi hero, written by Leigh Brackett who helped write the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back. This trilogy of books finds Stark rescuing his kidnapped foster father, conquering a dangerous pack of dog-creatures and going on the run from a traitorous crew on a jungle planet. Swashbuckling space opera at its best.
VOYAGE OF THE SPACE BEAGLE by A.E. Van Vogt
The crew of the science vessel, the Space Beagle, travel to strange planets, meet strange creatures that try to kill them. The stoic-ness of the crew as they fight off these galactic horrors definitely influenced my taste in space-heroes that are tough, capable and no-nonsense.
DEATHSTALKER SERIES by Simon R. Green
Deathstalker is a swashbuckling adventure about a man who tries to clear his name when he is betrayed by the evil Empress of the galaxy. Simon R. Green’s universe is filled with every archetype of science fiction: Space Pirates, Clones, Cyborg armies, robots, sinister alien races and more!
- By Scott Rogers