Dear Cynthia

I began writing Dear Cynthia in 1977 during a period of emotional loss.  I conceived of the story, as told in fictional letters, as literary fiction in a science fiction setting, a concept that placed me at odds with the expectations of agents and critics.  They told me that you could not combine the two categories.    I cross boundaries in my writing, and did not see why you could not write a novel that would appeal to literate readers who also watched TV and went to the movies, who took cognizance of Star Trek, for example.

I noticed that crew aboard the Starship Enterprise had very little use for paper.  Instead, they walked around holding personal devices much like what we use today, though the stories were set in the 23rd Century.  In the late 1970s,  before the digital revolution, nobody was talking about that kind of technology popping up in the general culture any time soon.  But I could see how someday the world of books would change.  From the vantage point of my story, which begins in 2045, the world of paper books is largely a thing of the past.  Max, the narrator of the tale, looks back fondly on them as he writes letters from deep space to Cynthia, his former wife on Earth.

I hope you enjoy your trip through my galaxy.

For nine years the starship Solar Queen has been voyaging through space on its mission to discover the outermost bounds of the universe.  Bored with the mission and hedonistic lifestyle aboard ship, Max, a former scholar and now ship's librarian, takes up a fountain pen in hand and writes to Cynthia, his one and only wife in his first life on Earth.  "You and I were lovers and lovers of books," he writes. The letters are fed into the ship's computer and shot out at hyperlight speed toward distant Earth.  In this story the past has more weight, more resonance, than the present, in 2045.


Aided by a scrapbook, Max reminisces about his suburban childhood, high school in the 1960s where he and Cynthia were sweethearts, and later to the Institute of Life where both were reborn as clones in the 21st Century.  Cynthia and Max went their separate ways: Max going off exploring in space and Cynthia remaining on Earth.  As Max reminisces to Cynthia, he fends off advances from Vandora, his predatory supervisor aboard ship.  A gorgeous stowaway will complicate his life.  A warp disaster will shake the mission to its core.  Will Max ever see Cynthia again?



Hudson Owen is a published poet and essayist.  He is a produced playwright in New York City, where he has acted professionally.  He lives in Brooklyn.