8 Mar 2011, By Matt Staggs, hellhole, kj & bh, mostly kj

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8 Mar 2011, By Matt Staggs, hellhole, kj & bh, mostly kj

Postby D Pope » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:50 pm

http://suvudu.com/2011/03/interview-wit ... lhole.html
< I can't tell if there's any Brian in this or not.>

Interview with Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert, Authors, "Hellhole"

By Matt Staggs on March 8, 2011
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Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert are the authors of Hellhole, a new
science fiction novel of planetary danger, hardship and an ancient alien
legacy. Hellhole goes on sale next Tuesday.

Naming a planet Hellhole is a pretty bold move. Does it really live up
to the name? How bad can it be?

Technically, it’s named “Hallholme” after an old military commodore who
defeated a rebel general (one of the main characters), but it doesn’t
take long for the colonists to nickname it, more appropriately, Hellhole.
Of all the newly opened colony worlds, this one is at the bottom of
anyone’s list — struck by an extinction-event asteroid several centuries
before the story starts, the ecosystem is wrecked, most of the native
life exterminated (not that it was compatible with Earth biochemistry
anyway), and now plagued with storms, seismic events, volcanic
eruptions. We think it lives up to its name.

Who are the main characters in your story and how bad did their lives
have to be for them to end up on Hellhole?

General Tiber Adolphus led a desperate rebellion against the corrupt
galactic government, but he failed and is exiled to the worst colony
planet, which is supposedly a death sentence. But through his sheer
determination and command skills, he manages to survive and keep
the colony alive. Other dregs of society come to Hellhole for a second
chance — a con man looking for a new opportunity, a divorced
woman and her son ready to start again from scratch, a wrongfully
convicted man sent away for a life sentence, a battered woman
trying to escape her abusive lover. And all sorts of outlaws, religious
fanatics, anybody with no place else to go.

They’re an interesting bunch. Did you have an idea of how you wanted
them to evolve in the very beginning or did they come to life on their
own on the page?

As collaborators, especially on such a large and complex book, we
both need to have a very clear blueprint of the whole story so we
can each write our separate chapters. We meet and brainstorm
our full plotline thoroughly, chapter by chapter, and we develop
the characters, the history, and the planets. However, in the
writing of the 600+ page manuscript, a lot of details come to life,
small changes turn into course corrections. And the characters
grow through the draft and the editing process.

Buried alien civilizations are a popular trope in literature, from fiction
like H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness to purported
non-fiction like Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods? Were either
of you familiar with these or other works? How did you conceptualize
the civilization in Hellhole?

We were familiar with the classics, and dying alien civilizations have
dated all the way back to The War of the Worlds. However, the alien
presence in Hellhole is, we think, a unique and exciting take on the
idea, something we haven’t seen done before. It’s much different from
just a few mysterious old relics buried in the ruins (but since it’s a
surprise in the novel, we can’t reveal it here).

I’ve seen Hellhole described as “militaristic.” Military-themed science
fiction is a fun subgenre, but sometimes it’s hard for authors to get
the right tone. How did you do this in Hellhole?

Maybe the “militaristic” label came from the fact that our main
character is a deposed military general, but Hellhole isn’t what we
would call “military fiction” in the mold of David Drake, David Weber,
Lois McMaster Bujold, or RM Meluch. This is more of a colonization
story, a survival story of hardy pioneers, and a brewing political

Will we be returning to this universe again? What’s next?

Hellhole is the first in a trilogy, and we have the whole story arc
mapped out. We have just completed and delivered The Sisterhood
of Dune, part of a new Dune trilogy, and we’ll be alternating universes
each year, a Dune book and a Hellhole book until the two trilogies
are finished.

When a brand knew urinal puck showed up in the bathroom of my studio, I knew what I had to do.
D Pope
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