Author Jim Robb takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Jim’s story is: Olivia and the Asteroid Pirates.
I’m Jim Robb, and I wrote the story, “Olivia and the Asteroid Pirates”, which will appear in “Space Force: Building the Legacy”.
Back in my university days I accidentally found my way into the sport of fencing. One of the members of our club was a fellow student, a good friend — I was best man at his wedding — and one of the most challenging opponents I ever faced. His favourite tactic was the attack in second intention — he would make a false attack intended to draw an anticipated response which he would parry, and then proceed to win the hit with his counter-riposte. He had adopted this technique, he told me, after reading about it in a novel titled, “Scaramouche”. He in turn taught it to me, and it served me well.
This also served as my introduction to the works of Rafael Sabatini, the author of “Scaramouche”. Sabatini wrote some three dozen romance and adventure novels in the first half of the 20th century, several of which were made into swashbuckler films starring the likes of Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn. Once I started reading Sabatini’s stories I quickly became a fan. I was even lucky enough to find a first edition of his 1932 novel, “The Black Swan”, in a second-hand bookshop in Ottawa.
“Olivia and the Asteroid Pirates” is very much a tribute to Rafael Sabatini. As such, its title character shares her surname with a character in “The Black Swan”, and the leader of the asteroid pirates uses the name of that story’s hero as his nom de guerre. There had to be romance and, of course, a happy ending.
Most importantly, I had to find an excuse to make swordplay an integral part of a story set in the early part of the next century. My major break with the swashbuckler tradition came because I didn’t want Olivia to be a mere damsel in distress, so she became a combatant in her own right. I owed that much to my wife, my comrade-in-arms both with épée and C7 rifle.
The story is also my way of saying thanks to my friend Ken. You can be sure he’ll be getting an autographed copy of the book.