Books, news, & views from Karen Traviss

Belay those nukes

Sometimes you look at this sorry world and decide it's time the cockroaches had a crack at running the show -- but sometimes you find a really good reason for not pressing the button.
Those of you who actually know me understand that I'm not exactly a people person. I make Baird look like a sentimental, mushy, loved-up ball of fluffiness, as anyone who's sat through a news bulletin with me can confirm. My view of Earth tends to be nuke it from orbit – it's the only way to be sure – and every time I switch on the news, I feel validated. My favourite rant – "... and they'll be the first up against the wall" – now takes in such a vast assortment of oxygen thieves that I'm going to need a much, much bigger wall.

Every so often, though, I come across exceptional people who restore my faith in our species. They're selfless, decent, generous, honourable, and all the other things that humans really ought to be. In my line of work, most of the good guys I meet are in uniform or veterans. But quite a few are from general fandom, and my nuke-it-now reflex has been tempered considerably by a thoroughly good bloke from the Halo fan community.

Jim McCrea makes superb props, Spartan helmets in fact, and he's raised serious money for worthy causes like Child's Play by auctioning them. They're the biz, believe me. Jim very kindly offered me a replica that he'd made of the Spartan helmet on the cover of MORTAL DICTATA. He's one of the members of Stony Props and they make truly fabulous things, as that link will show you. Long story short, we decided this fantastic helmet would do far better service if it went to a young Halo fan who's been having a very tough time health-wise lately. The helmet went out to him last week and I heard from his family yesterday that he's loving it.

This is all down to Jim. His generosity and big-heartedness made a difference where it was really needed, and that's the most that any of us can do in this life. I apologise if I'm embarrassing him with this shout-out, but I think we all need to hear as much good news as we can get these days.

I've worked with big franchises for ten years, and the one thing that remains with me is how many wonderful, public-spirited, kind people there are in those franchises' fan communities, especially the costuming branches who do so much for charity, like the splendid folks in the 501st, and, indeed, Stony Props. I forget some of the franchises themselves very rapidly, but the fans – well, they never cease to impress me, and I've made some great friends among them.

So, Jim McCrea, and Stony Props -– thank you, and bless you. Your karma is topped up to the max.