Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category
Something especially interesting was kicking around the twittersphere last week. Something about a new military science fiction anthology edited by the very talented Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak, and published by Apex Publishing. you know how sometimes you catch something out of the corner of your eye, and you just have to see what it is, you just have to learn more? The War Stories Anthology is that thing. And what better way to learn about it than by chatting up the editors and the publisher?
Not sure if a military scifi anthology is for you? Chances are you’re already reading Military Science Fiction, you just don’t know it. Enjoy Ender’s Game? How about Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga? How about Max Brooks’ World War Z? Dune by Frank Herbert? John Scalzi? Ever play Mass Effect? or Halo? see? you’re already a fan!
Jaym and Andrew have already talked extensively about this project, over at Reddit, over at Fantasy Book Critic, at Toonari Post, at Book Life Now, at Dribble of Ink, and elsewhere. If the Kickstarter succeeds, an especially unique anthology will see the light of day. Military science fiction is so much more than any hokey Baen Books cover art would have you believe.
My guests today:
Jaym Gates is the editor of the zombie anthology Rigor Amortis, which was a Barnes and Noble Top 10 pick in 2011, and short fiction author (published in The Aether Age: Helios). She is the publicist for the Science Fiction Writers of America, Candlemark & Gleam and Pathfinder Books. She helped launch several Kickstarter projects, including Geek Love, the highest-funded anthology in Kickstarter’s history.
Andrew Liptak received his Master of Arts in Military History from Norwich University (the nation’s first private military academy), and has written extensively about military science fiction for io9 and SF Signal, and has written for such websites as Kirkus Reviews, Geek Exchange, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and magazines such as Armchair General and the Norwich Record. He is currently an editorial assistant for Lightspeed Magazine.
Jason Sizemore is the owner and operator of Apex Publications, a small press publisher dedicated to producing exemplary works of science fiction, horror, fantasy and non-fiction.
The Links you need:
Let’s get to the interview!
This interview is part of SciFi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads. Many of you have a smile on your face right now, because it’s always Sci Fi Month here at Little Red Reviewer (and fantasy month, and new weird month, and all-sorts-of-speculative-fiction month).
Today I’m thrilled to interview Gareth L. Powell, who is best known for his Ack Ack Macaque books. I’ve seen these books at the local bookstore, and every time I do a double take. is that really a gun toting monkey? why yes, yes it is. Mr. Powell was kind enough to answer my questions, so let’s get to the interview!
Q. Please introduce yourself, and tell us a little about your Ack-Ack Macaque series. A fighter pilot who is a cynical monkey? This I gotta know more about!
A. I am the author of four novels – Hive Monkey, Ack-Ack Macaque, The Recollection and Silversands – and the short fiction collection, The Last Reef and Other Stories. I am currently writing my fifth novel, Macaque Attack, which should be out in January 2015.
Ack-Ack Macaque and Hive Monkey are the first two thirds of my ‘Macaque’ trilogy, dealing with the exploits of Ack-Ack Macaque, a technologically upgraded monkey who drinks, smokes and swears, and thinks he’s a World War II flying ace. The books are a mixture of murder mystery, thriller, and alternate history cyberpunk.
published in 2011
where I got it: purchased new
It’s been a while since I read any Vonnegut, but as soon as I saw this book I knew I had to have it. Sure, I’ve read plenty of Vonnegut, but I could count on one hand the things I knew about his personal life: he was very close with his sister, he studied chemistry, he was a prisoner of war in Dresden when it was bombed by the Allies. I accidentally learned that his family thought he was very strange. *
The Last Interview actually contains six interviews, spanning thirty years, from 1977 to 2007, and it’s interesting to see what changes over the years, and what says the same. In the first interview, a special edition of Slaughterhouse Five is coming out, and he’s been asked to write a special introduction for it. In a later interview, Playboy is interviewing Vonnegut and Joseph Heller at Heller’s home, and in a yet later interview, Heller has already passed away. Vonnegut’s opinions on war and family never changes (he’s against the first, and for the second).
After the small talk of “what are you working on now?” and the like, every interviewer wants to ask the same thing: what was it like being in Dresden? Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut’s most famous work, was inspired by his experiences there, and all the interviewers want to know what it was really like. And in his casual, newspaperman, just-the-facts way, Vonnegut tells them. that Dresden was a beautiful city. and then it was gone. He wonders how he survived it. He offhandedly remarks that due to the profits of Slaughterhouse Five, he actually made money off the bombing. Like when I was reading Slapstick, I had no idea if I was supposed to laugh or not.
Other topics that come up again and again are Vonnegut’s feeling that everyone should have an extended family, and that the closest he came to studying writing was being the editor of the student run newspaper at his high school. he was pushed into studying chemistry, and then after returning from the war he studying anthropology. He jokes that when asked where the best new authors are, he says something along the lines of “not in the English departments”. ouch. but as always, brutally honest.
Today it’s my pleasure to be able to interview M. L. Brennan , the author of Generation V, a new urban fantasy that’s been all over the interwebs these last few weeks. M.L. took the time to answer my gauntlet of questions, and responded with some downright brilliant answers. Also, will you be at WorldCon later this year?
Scroll to the bottom for info on how to enter into a giveaway for this brand new book. note: Giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Sorry, international shipping is killer, and not in that fun vampire way.
LRR: Did you always want to be a writer?
ML Brennan: Writing is always something that I’ve really enjoyed, going all the way back to a very young age, but I didn’t think about it seriously as a career path until late high school, and even at that point I came at it sideways. Thanks in a very big way to The West Wing, I decided that I wanted to be a political speechwriter, and I headed to college with the intention of going into writing and political science. I lost interest in going into politics around my second year, but at that point I was majoring in writing, so I decided that a better career option would be to become a lawyer. I pursued that all the way into my first year at law school, which was the point when I finally just gave in to the inevitable and realized that what I really wanted to do was write fiction. So I left law school and headed into an MFA program.
So I guess the short answer is that while writing has always been a big part of my life, the idea of actually being just a writer was something that I really struggled with and against – largely because I grew up in a household where money was very tight, so I’ve never had a very romantic view of the life of a struggling artist. I envisioned having a secure career and writing in my off-hours. That ended up not happening – my day job that pays the bills is pretty unreliable and the pay fluctuates hugely, but it does give me the time I need to write.
LRR: Who are some of your favorite writers?
ML Brennan: Gosh, that would be a very long list! Emma Bull, Brandon Sanderson, Anne Bishop, Sharon Shinn, Sheri S. Tepper, and Orson Scott Card are all longtime favorites. Lately I’ve really been enjoying Cassie Alexander’s Edie Spence series, and I got a sneak peek at debut author Django Wexler’s incredible military fantasy The Thousand Names, and I can tell you that I’m already dying for the sequel!
LRR: Give us the quick rundown on Generation V.
ML Brennan: Sure! The elevator pitch of my book is that Fortitude Scott has a useless degree, a minimum-wage job, a cheating girlfriend, and a roommate who stiffs him on the rent. And he’s a vampire… mostly. But when a little girl is kidnapped, suddenly he’s the only one who is willing to try and do something about it, so he teams up with a wise-cracking shapeshifter and heads off for a rescue mission that will very likely kill him.
A lot of what I was trying to do in this book was explore the ideas of heritage and responsibility – Fort is a vampire who doesn’t fit in with the rest of his family because of the empathy he has toward humans. He’s afraid of whether growing up will involve losing that empathy, but at the same time it will mean becoming stronger and faster, which right now are traits that he very much lacks and needs!
LRR: How can someone be “mostly” a vampire? Isn’t that something that’s fairly cut and dry?
The other day I got to interview Gillian Philip, author of one of my favorite new novels, Firebrand. I got talking on twitter with Seth MacGregor (the main character of Firebrand), and managed to convince him to answer a few interview questions too. He claims Gillian doesn’t let him have any fun, but he has got a weakness for twitter, Joss Whedon TV shows, modern conveniences, and finding trouble.
Gillian never lets you do anything fun? I find that hard to believe. I also find it hard to believe she could stop you, if you really wanted to do something. I’ve never interviewed someone like you before. be gentle with me.
Hi Andrea! Oh, Gillian’s such a control freak. At least she’d like to be, and she thinks she has a say in anything I do. Ha. Given what she puts me through, I think I deserve a bit of fun. And thank you for interviewing me. She-Who-Would-Like-To-Be-Obeyed has tried to make me promise I won’t flirt, but hey, I have given no oath, and all that.
Unlike many other Sithe, you can actually physically feel the veil, you can pull it and pinch it, hold it between your fingers. What does it feel like? you wouldn’t um, do anything to harm it, would you?
I’m absolutely not supposed to be able to do that, so this is between you and me, okay? I mean, the Sithe don’t burn witches, and they have a healthy respect for them, but… they tend not to be all that fond of them. So anyway, yes, I can feel the veil. It’s kind of… elusive. Sometimes it feels like very, very fine silk; sometimes it’s so fragile it’s more like mist. Or like mist would be if you could touch it, if that makes sense. It isn’t visible.
And no, I wouldn’t harm it even if I could. It’s too valuable as a defense. I am tempted to tweak it a little, just occasionally; like, say, if a gorgeous full-mortal blogger is asking me questions and I want to hold her attention.
But I can’t damage it, or tear it. There’s no-one on earth who can do that, even if the blasted thing is dying all by itself.
Can you tell me more about your water-horse? the first time you met it (her? him?) was one of my favorite scenes in Firebrand.
Ah, thank you! That is one of my favourite memories, I’ve got to say. I think I fell in love with that kelpie before I’d even seen it. It’s pretty hard to master a water-horse; once you get on one you can’t get off, and they’ll only answer to the right bridle and the right mind, so I was kind of proud I didn’t get killed.
My blue roan isn’t exactly Champion the Wonder Horse; if he found a kid in trouble he’d probably eat it instead of going for help. He’s voracious and he’s violent – great in a fight – and he can be fickle. He’s not as obedient as Conal’s horse, and I wouldn’t trust him with puppies or small children. But he’s loyal to the death and I love him.