Posted by Literary Titan
The Martian Hermitage is another entry in your Master Defiance series, and makes you a prolific science fiction writer. What draws you to the science fiction genre and makes it perfect for you to write in?
The boundaries when writing Science Fiction are mostly ethical paradigms, and one must be careful not to cross into the impossible world of magic and fantasy. The genre allows speculation about the future of science, technology and humanity. It also provides, by extension, a vehicle for indirectly flagging issues and concerns in our present-day world. In other words, an author can lobby a bit for change so that, for instance, a dystopian outcome might be less likely to occur. But this must be done without preaching to readers. I think the best way to do that is to make darn sure the story is fun and interesting to read, with lots of twists and turns, and believable, mostly likeable, characters.
The science in your stories always feel fanciful yet grounded. What type of research do you undertake for your novels to have an authentic feel?
I mostly search the web when I am uncertain about science or technology that I think would help a story. For instance, for Martian Hermitage, I thought the banter between astronauts when they fire up rocket engines would be illuminating and entertaining. I leaned heavily on Apollo mission transcripts for that. But I also find I research a lot of non-technical matters that I believe will make a story more colourful and intellectually entertaining. For example, for Martian Hermitage, I took some inspiration from the sci-fi classic A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter M. Miller, Jr., 1959). I thought it would be fun to put knowledge-hoarding monks back into space, and weave a symbiotic relationship between church and state into my story. This required learning a bit about Catholicism, monasteries, and the canonization of saints. All of that I found fascinating, which made the writing process more rewarding. I hope it works for the reader too. (I think it worked for Miller, but he may have over-used Latin… most people will need some kind of translating app to really appreciate his one and only novel).
This book is filled with very memorable scenes. What scene did you have the most fun writing?
I really enjoyed writing the chapter where the Promoter of the Faith (a.k.a. the Devil’s Advocate) interviews the alien, artificial intelligence entity that was discovered in an alien, artificial cave on Mars. The young priest is a Doubting Thomas, and wants to find evidence that a candidate for sainthood was in fact unworthy. But the AI entity responds to the priest’s overly-aggressive interrogation methods by playing an astounding video and audio recording of the candidate from the time of the Romans. As a result, the advocate’s horns completely disappear, and the priest is transformed into a true believer, and a much happier person.
When and where will The Martian Hermitage be available?
Pegasus just told me the book will be published on April 29, 2021. You can buy it in paperback form directly through:
It will also be available on Amazon (with my other books) in both paperback and ebook formats. Just search on my name to find it.
Posted in Interviews
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