One of the people who got me started in my love of spec fic was D. C. Fontana. When I was a child in the early seventies, I’d sneak down to the tiny black and white television in the basement, hunched over in a corner hoping nobody would catch me and laugh at me, and watch the classic series of Star Trek when it came on reruns. The show’s writer would come up on the screen:
And I would worship the ground he (had to be a he, right?) walked on. Every storyline was completely new and utterly mind-blowing. Space exploration, aliens, the future – all of this enthralled me. I went to the library and looked for stories by D. C. Fontana and that led me (in a roundabout way) to Fontana Science Fiction, a publishing imprint of the time which had nothing to do with her but was producing leading edge spec fic. In between Star Trek and my newly discovered library books, I was in heaven.
It wasn’t until years later that I discovered that the D stood for Dorothy. She started out as Gene Roddenberry’s secretary (at that time it would have been ‘of course’) but went on to write teleplays for just about every show on the television in the sixties, seventies and to some degree the eighties. Not just sci-fi like Star Trek or The Six Million Dollar Man – she worked on Bonanza, Dallas, Kung Fu, Streets of San Francisco, even The Waltons. I watched all of these when I was growing up.
She helped write the first episode of The Next Generation, ‘Encounter at Farpoint’ (which is being remastered and looks wonderful), and wrote some episodes of DS9. She wrote fiction under the pen-names of Michael Richards and J. Michael Bingham as well.
With the wisdom of hindsight, people have looked back and criticise Ms Fontana’s work as being unimaginative, over soap-operatic, ‘trite’ and ‘naïve’. But back then, I was excited and her episodes of Star Trek were the best television I’d ever seen. It was something completely different from anything I’d seen before, and I wanted more.
She led me into the vast world of speculative fiction, and completely changed my life. I wish I’d known at the time that she is a woman; it may have inspired me to start writing much earlier in my own career.
Kylie Chan married a Hong Kong national in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony in Eastern China, lived in Australia for ten years, then moved to Hong Kong for ten years and during that time learnt a great deal about Chinese culture and came to appreciate the customs and way of life.
In 2003 she closed down her successful IT consultancy company in Hong Kong and moved back to Australia. She used her knowledge of Chinese mythology, culture, and martial arts to weave a story that would appeal to a wide audience.
Since returning to Australia, Kylie has studied Kung Fu (Wing Chun and Southern Chow Clan styles) as well as Tai Chi and is now a senior belt in both forms. She has also made an intensive study of Buddhist and Taoist philosophy and has brought all of these together into her storytelling.
Kylie is a mother of two who lives in Brisbane, and her website is at www.kyliechan.com.
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