A Rising Star Feature
by Melissa Minners
Dr. Brad Aiken is a physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He has been the Medical Director for Rehabilitation at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Florida since 1989. Although medicine is his chosen profession, Brad Aiken has yet another passion – science fiction. His first, short story, The Instant, caught the eye of his college professor at Boston University, and Aiken was encouraged to publish the tale. However, Aiken chose not to publish the tale, pursuing other interests. Several years later, Aiken became absorbed in his writing anew and there was no turning back.
Aiken has found writing to be a release from the day-to-day stresses of his profession. “I find that writing is an escape from the harsh realities of medical practice,” says Aiken. Writing allows Aiken to constructively escape reality, allowing him time to relax and recharge, which enables him to pursue his medical practice with that much more energy. Brad Aiken’s chosen writing genre – science fiction.
Fascinated with science fiction since his early childhood, Brad Aiken cites many works as inspiration for his writing. Television shows like Lost in Space and Star Trek, Jules Verne tales, stories by Isaac Asimov, the creations of George Lucas, and even real life events such as Armstrong’s landing on the moon all combined to inspire Aiken’s writing career. Aiken says that science has had a tremendous influence on his love for science fiction. Studying the world around us opens us to up to the possibilities available through imagination. Science fiction allows people to dream up solutions for the world’s problems without the constraints of modern day scientific knowledge. It also allows people to ponder the possible problems that can be brought about by the introduction of new technology.
Aiken has written several short stories and two novels, The Starscape Project and Starscape: The Silver Bullet, which are part of an action adventure series taking place in the 26th century. The lead characters of Aiken’s novels are not your ordinary action heroes – these characters have a strong intellectual presence as well. Aiken has an impressive talent for the flashback, explaining many occurrences in his novels using this helpful tool. Action and adventure, an interesting and intelligent plot, combined with wry humor make for incredibly enjoyable, fast-paced and intense reads.
Brad Aiken encourages everyone to explore the genre of science fiction. He believes that many people find themselves opposed to the idea of reading science fiction because they have images of the horrid “B”-movie science fiction films of the 1950’s and 1960’s etched in their minds. The idea of reading a science fiction novel seems silly to them. However, Aiken stresses that although there are poor examples of science fiction, truly good writers have the ability to create incredible works based solely on good writing skills – creating interesting characters, scintillating plots and jolting action.
How does one begin to create a science fiction novel? Well, Aiken insists that his inspiration for Silver Bullet came in the form of a vivid dream that he was fortunate enough to remember when he awoke. He set about quickly outlining the tale, but took seven years perfecting it before deeming it ready for publishing. Aiken is a method writer, meaning that he submerses himself in his characters, seeing the action play out through their eyes, actually experiencing the characters’ reaction to the situations around them.
Aiken is in the process of creating a new Starscape novel, but has aspirations to use many of the medical issues he deals with on a daily basis in a near-future science fiction tale. To that end, Aiken is currently working on a novel about a scientist whose use of nanotechnology to cure brain injuries is at odds with a covert government operative who has more sinister purposes for the technology. The novel is set 50 years into the future of Baltimore.
With short stories that have earned recognition in the 2002 Short Story Contest at SffWorld.com and the 2003 National Short Story Contest South Florida Chapter of the National Writers Association, a popular sci-fi novel series in Starscape, and a new and intriguing sci-fi novel on the way, Brad Aiken definitely qualifies as a rising star.
Information for the article gathered from The Miami Herald.com: Indie Spotlight – Writer Spotlight: Brad Aiken, South Miami News – Brad Aiken: Conquering New Worlds, www.bradaiken.com and Brad Aiken himself.
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