This picture of astronaut Tracy Dyson has been out for a while now but I just stumbled across it a few days ago. This is the sort of image that comes to mind when I think science fiction. Silly, huh? Not starships flashing through slipspace or laser stand-offs orbiting neutron stars. No, this is what we can do today. Why does that say science fiction to me? It must be the inspiration factor. Seeing what we can do pushing my imagination into what we will do, what we should do.
I have a folder filled with inspirational images I scan through every so often. Things to keep my subconscious chugging along on new ideas, yet not forgetting the old ones. Everything from characters to landscapes to, yes, starships.
There's always been something about staring down at the earth from a space station that's always held a special place, though. Here's the image that held that spot until now. A dual-wheel space station similar to many seen on screen, most notably the one featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey. True, the ISS is no Space Station V, but it fits my bill just the same. (I don't where I got this image exactly and my search for attribution failed. Thank you whoever you are. And that you NASA and Tracy Dyson for this new piece of inspiration.)
I've placed a couple of stories of my own on such stations. "Colors in a Box, Some Missing" as featured in the Confluence 2010 program book is one example and "Scrap," soon to be reprinted in Joe Jablonski's Undead Space, is another.
That folder of images plays a part in almost every story I write and with shots like Ms. Dyson's, there's bound to be more set in the near future looking down on a certain cloudy blue planet.