Hello. You probably don't know me, but I'm the greatest science fiction writer of all time. You've probably read a lot of my stuff without even realising. No, I'm not Isaac Asimov. Nor am I Philip K Dick. I'm Billy Fateswinger and I've never published a book. I was, however, resposible for the Argos catalogue between 1983 and 1995.
I'd always been fascinated by sci-fi as a child and started writing short stories in my early teens during the late 1970s. Sadly science fiction died a death in the decade that followed. After seeing Star Wars, people got fed up with science fiction. "It's all a bunch of nonsense" they said. The only thing people were interested in were period gangster movies like Once Upon A Time in America and re-showings of that Godfather one. "It's so real." they said.
I was the hottest new sci-fi author in the world and nobody gave a damn. Publishers wouldn't even look at something unless it could potentially be turned into a film starring Robert De Niro. Desperate for work I replied to an add in a phonebox which simply said "Sci-Fi Writer? Out of work? Call this number."
It was Argos. They needed someone to come up with a list of items to fill their catalogue with. I know you've always assumed that they make the catalogue after the items have been invented and brought to market, but it's really the other way around - the catalogue comes first, then the products. They wanted us to come up with crazy concepts, the kind of things people would want to buy for Christmas.
I was a natural. In the interview I quickly fired off the idea for a Mr Frosty Ice Machine and a car that could transform into a humanoid robot. I spent the next twelve years sleeping with the finest women, eating the most delicious drugs and living the life that the sci-fi writers thought was lost forever.
Sadly it all went wrong in 1995 when I messed up. During an LSD binge I conceived of a machine called the Sega Saturn. After the success of the Sega Megadrive/Genesis I thought it couldn't fail. And a games console that uses CD-Roms - What a sci-fi twist! I assured the bosses at Argos that this machine would be the biggest selling thing of all time and they spent a lot of money making it. Their warehouses were full to the brim with them. Nobody could have predicted that come Christmas 1995 only one would be sold in the entire world.
Billy Fateswinger, Isle of Man.