12Oct.12 Historical Meets Fictional: kja by Mark Schelske

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12Oct.12 Historical Meets Fictional: kja by Mark Schelske

Postby D Pope » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:20 pm

http://www.fantasy-matters.com/2012/10/ ... ional.html

When the Historical Meets the Fictional:
An Interview with Kevin J. Anderson

Today, we are very excited to feature an interview with Kevin J. Anderson,
best-selling author of the Saga of the Seven Suns series, along with many
of the Star Wars spin-off novels and Dune prequels. Fantasy Matters
contributor Mark Schelske caught up with him to talk about the re-release
of The Martian War, a novel that offers a new perspective on H.G. Wells'
classic novel The War of the Worlds.

Mark Schelske: You’ve written for bestselling science fiction franchises
such as Star Wars and Dune. So what has it been like to return from
galaxies far, far away and sit in Wells’ time machine? How was the trip
back to the Victorian era to play in H.G.’s sandbox?

Kevin J. Anderson: HG Wells is one of the main reasons I became a writer.
War of the Worlds is the first movie I remember seeing, when I was 5 yrs
old, and it changed my life. War of the Worlds and The Time Machine were
the first two adult novels I ever read (I think I was 8), and I have loved
Wells's work ever since. I've been writing "steampunk" Victorian/Wellsian
SF for a long time (since my Gamearth trilogy 1989-1990), but I have also
explored a lot of other literary landscapes. With my earlier novel Captain
Nemo and Clockwork Angels (with Rush drummer Neil Peart) I have really
enjoyed the unabashed sense-of-wonder of what the early masters of SF
came up with.

MS: The historical context of the book is filled in by the non-fictional
characters of H.G. Wells and Percival Lowell. How much time did you
spend researching them?

KJA: I read many biographies of both and, as I said in the previous answer,
I have been fascinated with the life and imagination of HG Wells for a long
time. I took a road trip to Flagstaff, Arizona, to spend a day at the Lowell
Observatory (where much of the novel takes place), the Arizona meteor
crater, just to get a feel for the place.

MS: You do an excellent job of integrating characters from other stories
by H.G. Wells. Was it your intention from the start to borrow from The
Invisible Man, The War Of The Worlds, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, and The
First Men In The Moon?

KJA: Yes, I wanted The Martian War to be a tour-de-force mashup of the
"greatest hits" in Well's fiction. While plotting the story, I reread all of Well's
classics, tried to get at the nuggets that made the stories so seminal to
the genre. I wanted The Martian War to hit all the high points.

MS: Lowell and Moreau seem to be an odd couple who balance each other.
What inspired you to pair these two together?

KJA: One fictional, one historical, and both with similar fascinations but
entirely different personalities. After researching the real Lowell and getting
to know his personality, he seemed to be a perfect partner and foil to a
domineering abrasive scientist like Moreau. I put them together in the story
and watched the sparks fly!

MS: Given that Dr. Moreau’s diary is pivotal in telling your story, is he your
favorite character by Wells? Or is there another who wasn’t featured in
your story?

KJA: Most of Wells's characters were first-person narrators, so you didn't
get a real sense of their personalities. There are other great ones who
didn't appear in this novel (the parson and the artilleryman from War of the
Worlds are two examples), but Moreau was so larger-than-life, and so
different from the expected "eccentric scientist" character that I had to
give him a major role.

MS: Did you have any hesitation with this project knowing that a beloved
masterpiece, War Of The Worlds, would be the template for The Martian
War? Is that your favorite book by Wells?

KJA: No hesitation at all. As I said, that is one of my favorite books of
all time. I've read it over and over again, listened to the Orson Welles radio
drama, seen the movie dozens of times (the real one, not the Tom Cruise
one!), listened to "Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of War of the Worlds" more
times than I can count, even saw it live in Melbourne, Australia. I wanted
to do a novel that captures the breadth and imagination of Wells.

MS: Now that you’ve tackled technologies from the Victorian era, how do
they compare to other technologies you’ve written about? Are heat-rays
of the Martians as magnificent as the lightsabers of Jacen and Jaina at the
Jedi Academy on Yavin 4? Are the canals on Mars as grand as the
mechanized underworld of Ix? Is a cavorite sphere as improbable as The
Brain Interactive Construct used on Krypton?

KJA: Unquestionably, yes! I can't describe just how much fun I have on
the job. You just listed some of my best projects and I had a fine time
with all of them. When I take on a project I immerse myself in that world,
in the cool parts of it, in the technology and the rules. then I just have a
terrific time with the story, and I hope the readers have a terrific time with
what I come up with.

MS: Likewise, now that you’ve expanded upon the race of Martians and
Selenites, are they as relevant today as other alien species you’ve written

KJA: I think the idea of a species becoming so complacent, so much of a
"user" and so incapable of normal survival is deeply relevant. Wells used
the similar idea many times, the Selenites, the Martians, even the Eloi and
Morlocks. It's the dark side, and the downside, of superior and specialized

MS: The 1938 Orson Welles radio adaptation of War Of The Worlds caused
a sensation. The news bulletin format led people to believe an invasion was
actually happening. What if other descriptions of the invasion had been
documented around the world by people like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, etc.?
It seems like you answer that question in your next book War Of The Worlds:
Global Dispatches. Could you tell us a little about this project and what other
authors will be involved in its release next year?

KJA: If the Martian invasion had actually happened in 1898 as described in
Wells's novel, what would other great writers have written at the time?
David Brin and Gregory Benford write a story about Jules Verne's account
of the Martians in Paris. Mike Resnick writes about Teddy Roosevelt and
the Martians; Dave Wolverton gives Jack London's account of the Martians
in the Yukon; Robert Silverberg gives us Henry James's version. We have
other accounts from the eyes of Mark Twain, Joseph Pulitzer, the Dowager
Empress in China, H. Rider Haggard in Africa, Mark Twain, Pablo Picasso,
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rudyard Kipling, Albert Einstein, Leo Tolstoy,
HP Lovecraft, even Emily Dickinson, even a piece with Percival Lowell from
The Martian War. And great authors, too—in addition to the ones already
listed, there's Connie Willis, Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Barbara
Hambly, Allen Steele, and more. It's a really innovative anthology.

MS: And just for fun, do you think the NASA lander Curiosity will find life
on Mars?

KJA: Probably not tripods...

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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