Saturday, 10 September 2011

Scifi heroes and real life heroes

September 11th is one of those dates which will be remembered for centuries. Like most people I can remember exactly where I was, at work in France, when I first heard via a telephone call that a plane had crashed into a building. By the time I got home from work, the towers had fallen. When I saw the images on TV I felt sick.

Like many writers of science fiction I have 'heroes' who do battle with nasty people or aliens, usually against almost unsurmountable odds. They are there saving others. But what impressed me about 9/11, and still does today, is how heroic normal people were. The firemen in particular - easy to say it's their job, but no one was ever trained for what they faced. And the people who downed one of the planes rather than let it reach their target... I work in safety in the aviation business, and I'm on a plane pretty much once a fortnight. Imagine normal people, sitting on a plane, just trying to get somewhere, having a normal day, then realizing what was happening, and, however they did it, having the courage to stop the hijackers, saving hundreds and possibly thousands of lives, and giving up their own.

Sometimes it's hard to write scifi, or any fiction, that matches up to how heroic humanity can be when it's pushed into a corner. I take my hat off to them, and though I didn't personally know anyone touched by the calamity that was 9/11, like millions of others, I'll pause tomorrow to remember them. True heroes.

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