IWSG: Why Space?


For today’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, I want to talk not so much about writing in general but about the topic I write about specifically. Read my blog or the articles I write for Sci-Fi Ideas or the stories I’ve written for my Tomorrow News Network series, and you’ll soon realize that I am obsessed with space.

A friend recently asked me why I care so much about space. The question, so bluntly put, left me tongue-tied. I could only think to say that space is… eh… well, really awesome. I can’t express how embarrassed I was to have such a lame response.

Of course, I could have said that I care about space for professional reasons. I write science fiction. I need to know about this stuff. It’s part of my job. But that feels like an incomplete answer. I’d still care about space no matter what sort of work I did.

I could have told my friend about the limitless material resources space could provide and the need for humanity to expand beyond the cradle of the home planet. Space offers us a future (a really awesome future!). Yes, I could have said that. It’s certainly what I believe, but that’s still only a partial answer.

Why am I, James Pailly, so personally obsessed with space? That’s what I think my friend was really asking. And the full, honest answer is that space humbles me. Planets and stars are so far away, split by a cold and endless night. Everything is so big, and I am so small.

Sp01 Tiny Humans copy

Yet at the same time, space makes me feel special. Life in our universe is surely rare. Intelligent life even more so. Space reminds me how lucky I am—how lucky we all are—to be alive.

So what’s your personal obsession, and does that obsession drive you as a writer?

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Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop for insecure writers like myself to share our thoughts and feelings about what it means to write. Click here for more information and the see a full list of participating blogs.

11 thoughts on “IWSG: Why Space?

  1. I’ve always been obsessed with space too. I think for me it’s always represented the future, freedom, and optimism. No doubt that comes from a combination of growing up in the wake of Apollo and early exposure to Star Trek.

    What’s been a semi-obsession for me in recent years is figuring out what would actually bring on the space age, and if humanity does make it to the stars, what would that likely look like.


      1. I’d definitely like to see a new series like that; not warmed over Star Trek, but something that envisioned the future as it seems likely today.

        But I suspect what the space age really needs is a bootstrap economic incentive, similar to the spice trade for the age of exploration. Mining asteroids might eventually turn out to be that incentive.

        Many see colonization as a valve for over population, but unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to be it, at least not until we can modify ourselves for other environments. Right now, it’d be cheaper and easier to colonize Antarctica and the oceans.


      2. I agree. We need an economic incentive for space exploration.

        Moving just five or six people to another world will cost a fortune. Moving any significant amount of the world’s population is way too cost prohibitive. It won’t happen unless the space economy proves itself profitable enough to absorb those costs.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nothing wrong with obsessing over something just because. As long as its a healthy obsession 🙂 I kind of obsess over zombies, and love to write about them. Maybe its just because they are so unreal to me, the thought just fascinates me. Space is fascinating too; just wondering what is out there, if there are other humans, or other sentient life, and just the sheer size of the universe begs to be worshipped. No wonder it inspires your writing.


    1. One of the things I enjoy in a good zombie story is the way the characters are forced to rely on their own wits to survive. All the support structures we depend on in our modern civilization are taken away. It’s sort of a test of how resourceful we humans really are on our own, and I’m always left imagining what I would do in that sort of scenario.


      1. I know what I’d do. I’d hide behind somebody with a big gun. Or maybe a flame thrower. I promise not to scream, but you know, heat of the moment and all that. I’m not sure why cell phones, electricity, running water, and other conveniences don’t work just cuz zombies eat people though. Mind boggling.

        Liked by 1 person

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