In this Author Spotlight, we asked author David Farland to tell us a bit about the background of his story for Lightspeed, “Against Eternity.”
Over twenty years ago, when I was writing my first novel, On My Way to Paradise, I had a dream that my brain was trapped in the body of a giant tank-like spaceship, and that I was fighting a war on an alien moon—trying to hide in a crater as enemy ships hunted me. In the dream, an ally ship came and fought beside me, and though my companion ship was destroyed, I made it out alive, and decided to just abandon the war. So that became the inspiration. What can I say, I get those kinds of dreams when I eat too much pepperoni pizza.
Why did you decide to write this in second person?
A few months ago I was teaching a writing workshop, and we talked about the comparative advantages of writing in first or third person. At the time, I pointed out that there was nothing wrong with writing in second person, or even writing in future tense, and gave an example of what you might do. It occurred to me then that I should write some second-person future-tense stories just to show people what was possible. I can see how this could work extremely well for horror stories, for example, or thrillers, or even romance.
Battle drugs resulting in people “going postal” on the streets is a bleak thought. It’s easy to imagine plenty of people willing to give up most of their bodies for an opportunity at something different, like “becoming a ship.” There’s also a parallel between those addicted to the drugs and the character who becomes an Aspire-Class; they’re each looking for something else. Was that parallel drawn intentionally?
Absolutely. We often trade our lives for other opportunities. Think about it. A person who goes to work from nine-to-five trades time with his wife and family, time that might be better spent in other pursuits, for a little security. A teen who goes into the military in order to get a college education is betting his life that the trade might be worth it. So we all do this from time to time.
In this particular case, I’m envisioning a world where the possibility of becoming virtually immortal exists, but the price is so high, few people are willing or capable of paying it.
You write both science fiction and fantasy. What does writing science fiction offer you more than other genres?
Actually, I like to read science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers, but also read a few other genres. I recently won the Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year by writing a historical fiction piece, and I have a thriller that I hope to complete soon. So I like a lot of genres.
Do you prefer one over the other?
To tell the truth, I’ve enjoyed writing for the middle-grades and teens the best, I think, and I tend to favor fantasy just a bit more than science fiction. I’m not sure if I’ll write any more historicals, and when I tried writing thrillers, I discovered that I kept wanting to do something that was a bit more imaginative.
What’s coming up next for you?
I recently completed the screenplay The Runelords, based upon the first novel in my series. I’ve had a lot of very strong interest in it, and I suspect that we’ll get the movie into production this fall.
I also just completed Nightingale, a young adult contemporary piece that plays with some science fiction tropes that used to intrigue me as a kid—questions like, “I wonder if there could be any near-human species still alive on Earth, coexisting with us, the way that the Neanderthals once lived with our ancestors?” or “What would the next step of evolution be for brain development?”
Right now, I’m back trying to finish the ninth and last book in the Runelords series. It’s called A Tale of Tales, and I plan on getting it done in the next couple of months. It should be released next year.
Last of all, I’ve been asked to work with a German company to create a massively multi-user online role-playing game. I’ll be helping to create the world, the races, monsters, character classes, and so on, with the idea of making this a property that will also work for novels. I’ll then be writing a series of books based in the world. So this will be an interesting project because it will let me begin developing a world in conjunction with another company, creating an intellectual property that is primed to move into a couple of mediums at once. This should be a big challenge.
Beyond that, I’ve go so many novels that I want to write, I don’t know where to start next!
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