‘Armored’ Interview with Sean Williams and John Jackson Miller

March 27, 2012 at 12:03 am | Posted in Books, Interview, Sci-Fi | 2 Comments
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To help promote the release of Armored today, we interviewed a couple of the authors featured therein. Several of the authors in the anthology were Star Wars authors, including John Jackson Miller, Sean Williams, and Michael A. Stackpole. We managed to get a hold of Sean and John, here’s what they had to say.

Your short story “The N-body Solution” stood out from a lot of the other stories as the setting felt very fleshed out. Was the universe for the story a setting you’ve used before or plan on using again?

Sean Williams: When I was writing this story I wasn’t consciously connecting it to any of my other created universes, but as soon as it was finished I could see how it could be. I have a series of stories and novellas set in a multi-dimensional mine or maze–“A Map of the Mines of Barnath”, “A Glimpse of the Marvelous Structure (and the Threat it Entails)” and “Inevitable”–and I’ve been wanting to set a novel there for a long time. “The N-Body Solution” fits. I’ll get around to it one day.

What was the spark that spurred your idea and direction for the story? Was there a particular element you started with first and then expanded out from?

SW: A lot of the ideas in this story came from older works I’ve never managed to finish or ideas I had floating around doing nothing. The names Nadia Ei and Alex Lombard, the planet Cyernus with its multiple suns, the Loop of matter transmitters stretching across the universe, the woman hardwired to feel only positive emotions, the pun on “Corps” as a body of soldiers who mentally merge as a single identity–these were nothing much on their own, but I did want to use them, one day. What drew them together was the idea of the armor, the shell within which it would be so easy to hide, emotionally as well as physically. Who wouldn’t want to crack it open and have a little peek? The emotional arc flowed out from there, sparking off all sorts of new details, like the culture of the world these travelers are trapped on, the enforcer’s backstory, all that. You know you’re onto something when one single idea triggers so many others, and I’ll always be grateful to JJ for striking the flint.

Any fun facts you’d like to share?

SW: I don’t know if this counts as “fun” or not, but I’m in the final stages of writing my PhD thesis at the moment, a thesis on the history of matter transmitters since their first appearance in print in 1877. It’s a trope I’ve been obsessed with ever since the first story I ever wrote, and here it is again, 23 years later. There are just so many ways it can be used to mess with your characters’ heads! I think it’s the perfect the perfect SFnal trope, and I’ll probably keep using it until someone finally builds one. . . .

In “Human Error” you created the antagonists The Great Spore. Any plans to do more with the Spore and their threat to the galaxy?

John Jackson Miller: “Human Error” is my first original, non-licensed fiction in a long time, and I do intend to do more with the Surge Team at some point in the future. There’s a lot of possibilities in that milieu for fun action stories, not just involving the Spore; I’m looking at possible venues right now.

The story was a lot of fun to write and John Joseph Adams has collected a star-studded collection of authors for the book. It’s fun to be in that company!

In the course of the story, starfish space suits and maple syrup came into play. As strange and random as it sounds, did these things just pop into your head or was there some inspiration there that led to the odd humor?

JJM: Funnily enough, I was having lunch at a pancake house when the idea developed — there’s your syrup connection! It was Midsouthcon 2011 and my friend Cathe Smith and I were discussing the logistical difficulties that an interstellar organization might face. Being shipped the wrong suits of armor was her idea, as I recall — it sounded like a hilarious dilemma, so I ran with it. The story takes it seriously, of course — there’s a very real threat involved. But this is the kind of fiction I like writing — serious, but with a wink.

We want to thank Sean and John for taking the time to answer our questions. If you haven’t ordered a copy of Armored yet, you can check it out on Amazon via Screen Sharing and Barnes & Noble. You can also find out more about Sean Williams and John Jackson Miller on their sites: seanwilliams.com and farawaypress.com.

Posted By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.


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  1. […] See this interview for the background to Sean’s powering up! Share […]

  2. […] more to come. I’ll have some notes on the story soon, but in the meantime you can check out my interview on it with Roqoo Depot,  as well as my interview on the book’s main site. All the authors have interviews […]

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