Looking Back: In the 1980s, Photon was one of two popular arena games using light guns and sensors in an SF-flavored variation on Capture the Flag. Taking a page from The Last Starfighter, the creators of Photon attempted to launch a syndicated television series about the adventures of Bhodi Li, a human teenager recruited by means of the game to fight in an interstellar war. Two different book tie-ins--an "adventure novel" series for young readers and a young adult series--were launched at the same time. Peter David (writing as "David Peters") was hired to pen the adventure novels, which ran to six titles before being cancelled. I was hired by Berkley to write the lead title for the young adult series (though while it was being written, it was repositioned as a normal SF release).
Thieves of Light (my title) was ostensibly to be a novelization of the pilot for the television series, which was produced by DIC Animation City. When the bible and script reached me, I was aghast--the script was juvenile in the worst sense, and Bhodi Li's fighting companions included a giant lizard and a talking duck. Taking some liberties with the source material, I managed to turn in a military-SF coming-of-age story which I would not be embarrassed to have appear (or reappear) under my own name, and to do it in under sixty days. I still consider both parts of that achievement a small miracle. The pen name, however, was part of the plan from the beginning--I was only in for one Photon novel no matter how well they did, and editor Susan Allison wanted a house name that could be used for the whole series. I contributed the "Michael" and she contributed the "Hudson" (from her address at the time, I believe).
The Photon television series was cancelled during its first season (I had been told after just one episode was broadcast, though I've seen a list of eighteen episodes). I have never seen any of them; the show was not carried by any stations or cable networks available in my area.
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Last Revised: July 07, 2009