One of the things which influenced the beginnings of me as a writer of speculative fiction was the disintegration of Skylab and its consequent descent to the Earth. I still have the articles I clipped out during my pivotal 15th year. There was so much that fascinated me and sparked ideas; what if the metal had absorbed some kind of knowledge or experience and could now transfer it? What if something had hitchhiked? How would the landing of a piece of Skylab affect Country Australia? Suburban Australia? City Australia? I never wrote a Skylab story, but thinking about all these things, without being restrained by ‘what really is”, led me to the sort of stories I still write today.
I had forgotten all this until we went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on our trip to Washington. Seeing it, large in the centre of the hall that way reminded me of how excited I’d been at the time, and what huge affect it had on me as a story-teller.