Jack Webb, age 20, US Army Air Corp
1950s: the cowboy hat disappeared in later years
Fishing off Honolulu
There’s been a widespread discussion on the web these past few weeks about women writing science fiction. Today is Father’s Day here in the USA, so I’d just like to say the person most responsible for getting me interested in science fiction was this man right here, my dad, Jack Webb.
These days I think most dads know they need to encourage sons and daughters both to believe in themselves, to try new stuff, to be smart, self-reliant, and to develop an adventurous spirit. Back in the sixties and seventies, when I was a kid, that was still fairly rare if you were a girl.
My dad though, was ahead of his time. Because he was always looking for the next adventure, I grew up variously on the back of a motorcycle, riding horses, getting ill on fishing boats, hiking, camping, and flying between the Hawaiian Islands in little two and four-seater airplanes. My dad was also always sharing his interest in science and gadgets, and would never bat an eye when I would proclaim that I was going to grow up to be a primatologist, or an aeronautical engineer, or go to the air force academy. Never once do I remember hearing, “Girls don’t do that sort of thing.”
He was also always reading, fiction and non-fiction both, but always lots of science fiction, and naturally I followed along.
So for better or worse I blame my dad for setting me on the path to writing science fiction. It starts at home, guys, as most of you young dads already know.
My dad read all my books. He was my biggest fan and quite convinced I was the best writer out there, as a loyal dad should be.
He passed away five years ago at the age of 82. He lived a very full life.