Sex on Wings – Jo Zebedee

I’ve always had a soft spot for a nice, sexy space pilot. I blame Han Solo for it, mostly, but Barbarella – all thigh-high boots, wide-eyed and shocked by the evil Dr Durand-Durand – has something to answer for, too.

It’s not just the sexy ones; I even like the Buck Rogers of this world, and the never-seen outside of the pages of a book, Ellie Quinns. For me, frankly, no space opera is complete without a space pilot, blaster hip-holstered, dashing, irreverent, and unpredictable. (There might be predictable ones out there; they’re not real space pilots. Ever. No matter how low their intimate voice is, or how their eyes flash, they don’t know their landing bay from their orbital habitat.)

So, why do space pilots equal sci-fi to me?

Firstly, full disclosure. I say science and I say fiction and they’re not equal. For me it’s three quarters fiction and one quarter science, half of which is dodgy. I used to be embarrassed about that. What sort of sci-fi writer couldn’t give a stuff that faster-than-light travel isn’t possible, or that you can’t hear sounds in a vacuum? Surely these things matter? And they do, to an extent – mainly to ensure I’m not laughed at too badly. But, frankly, being constrained by little details like the speed of light doesn’t get you to the end of the Kessel Run in a half-decent time, and I always fancied a run at that.

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