Catching Up With the Future
It was 25 May 1977. A work day, supposedly. But it was the opening day of Star Wars.
Jay Parry and Lane Johnson and I were editors at a magazine in Salt Lake City. We were conscientious employees. We worked hard. We often worked late. We gave an honest day’s work for each day’s paltry pay.
We were also novice science fiction writers. We would spend our lunch hours down in the miserable cafeteria in our building, drinking generic soda pop (you couldn’t guess the flavor if someone hid the can), and talking about our ideas for sci-fi stories that we would sell, launching brilliant careers that would turn us into the Heinleins, Asimovs, Ellisons, Silverbergs, or Nivens of our generation.
So when Lane suggested that we take a “long lunch” and see Star Wars, it actually caused a moral quandary.
A brief one.
(I suspect that Jay told our boss what we were doing and got tacit permission. He’s a better man than I am, and always was. But maybe not, in which case that was certainly the most wicked thing Jay ever did in his life, and his conscience is still bothering him about it, and it is so wrong of me to tell.)
When the time rolled around, we were out the door and walking down the street to one of those grand old theaters-the kind with only one screen and a very large seating capacity. With an actual stage, where you could imagine someone actually performing …