Infinite Horizons was the name of a little website I put up years ago for some of my original science fiction writing. It started back when I was at York University, because I couldn’t think of much else to do with the website space I got as a computer science student.
It stayed with YorkU CS for a while, until my accounts got closed after I graduated, and then I used a couple of different free web hosts for the next two years. In the spring of 2001, when I moved into my own place and got cable internet, I put Infinite Horizons up on my ISP web space, but never gave out the link to it anywhere, so it’s just kind of an archive mirror on the dark web now.
The one complete project on Infinite Horizons was “Voyage: Triton”, which I finished before putting the site up, during my freshman year at York. All of the rest of the writing up there was related to the Star Patrol universe – a chapter and a half of a first novel, and a lot of other little snippets and unresolved drabbles. A lot of them were written in the summer of 1998, when I was taking an adult extension course in Creative Writing as an elective, where the curriculum was big on writing stream of consciousness, so when I was doing a class exercise I’d just start on one of the story ideas that I had running around in my head, and never really finish it. That was the same course that started my career in Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction.
But I still have a fondness for the Star Patrol setting, and went back into it a few months ago as a short Blogisode serial. My first attempts were definitely a little immature – I don’t think any of the characters were really Mary Sue level, but the female romantic lead, Melissa Dempsey, was definitely inspired by an unrequited crush I had on another student. But as I kept trying to get the story down in type, Melissa evolved into something else – a sensitive, competent, slightly insecure Irish woman with a dark secret in her childhood.
And the somewhat crazy thing about Star Patrol was how wide those inspired plot notions of mine spread – over a significant fraction of the galaxy, but more importantly, over a cluster of characters spanning four generations:
- The original crew, centered around six ensigns who went through the Academy together – Brett Walker, Melissa Dempsey, Victor Kane, Gary Peterson, Carla Jones, and Jody Quinton. Together, they make contact with several alien races, including the mystical Brei’ans, and the deadly telepathic Imperion, and are involved in forming an inter-species Alliance to shore up defences against Imperion conquest.
- The second generation stars Brett’s son, (and Melissa’s,) Michael Walker. Michael and his sister have just joined the service when the Imperion war starts, and Michael has become romantically involved with Karen Pauling, a law student from a rich family, who’s being groomed for a political career. The three of them end up becoming critical to several stages of the Alliance victory. After the war ends, Michael’s a hero, and Karen encourages him to stay in Star Patrol and explore the new Alliance territory, but he ends up resigning, and going to study with the Brei’an elders – and finds himself having to fight for Karen’s heart.
- Michael and Karen’s son, Jonathan Walker, gets a very unique opportunity and responsibility as a child, as his life is joined with that of an insubstantial alien intelligence who otherwise can’t participate in our universe. (Not that his mother was exactly happy about this development, but that’s another story.) There’s a human girl his age in a similar situation, Jennifer Herald, grand-daughter of Jody Quinton, and the two alien life forms are already mated, though Jon and Jenny were strangers. They’re expected to become brilliant masters in Star Patrol Intelligence, but end up leaving the service early to follow their own, completely unexpected path.
- Ian Walker, Jon and Jennifer’s son, grows up seeing a lot of the Alliance with his wandering parents, and makes some good friends on an isolated planet, where the young settlers are restless and discontent under the strictly planned society that their parents planned out for their world. But he chooses to follow a great quest within the halls of the Brei’an masters, to search for the missing Timesgate portal.
I do want to write more of Star Patrol, maybe try to finish a novel-length manuscript in Nano or JulNoWriMo, or one of those events. I’m a little concerned about getting back into writing something that I sketched out so many ideas for when I was younger, because I’ll have to change some of those plans now that I’ve become a better writer. Still, getting back into an imaginary world all my own that inspired me so much, and still engages my creative sense with so many ‘what if’ questions when I think about it now – that’s gotta be a good thing, right?