Science Fiction & Fantasy

FEAR CITY by F. Paul Wilson

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Nonfiction

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

We last heard from you with “And Then Some.” Now that we’ve seen more with this addition to Erm Kaslo’s tale, what can you tell us about your process in creating such a serialization? With so many stories to tell, what was the dividing line between teasing another story and keeping us firmly rooted in the current?

The process is largely intuitive. At this point, I’ve written five Kaslo Chronicles episodes (about 38,000 words), and I’m starting to see the shape of the story. But I still don’t know how it ends. To keep the readers “in the current,” I’ll do what I almost always do: Tell the story from the viewpoint of the principal character. In this case, it’s Erm Kaslo, a highly competent practitioner of the detective arts, who must adapt his skills and personality to a universe that has abruptly changed its ground rules.

The idea behind a “sleeper” is very intriguing, and in an economic climate where availability begets funds, it sounds very probable. What inspired the concept behind the sleepers? Would you ever travel like that?

It was a concept I alluded to in one of my other Archonate stories (I don’t remember which), and I thought I’d give it more of a looking-over. It is, essentially, interstellar hitchhiking (first conceived of by Douglas Adams). In my youth, I hitched all over the place, but I wouldn’t take my chances on a sleeper. Space is too big and cold.

Last time, we discussed characters and which ones you identified with, and the characters in “Sleeper” are just as incredibly vivid and well-crafted as in “And Then Some.” Now, with focus on this story and the exception of Kaslo, which was the most intriguing to write?

Diomedo Obron interests me. In the rational universe, he’s a dreamer and a mark for a con-man like Binnie Varshun. But after the change, his innate abilities fit him for the role he will play as a thaumaturge, and he begins to grow. That will make the relationship between him and Kaslo more complex, I think.

With more added to the universe through “Sleeper,” what is your method of keeping the locations clean and precise? Without giving anything away for future stories, how in-depth has the universe already been created and what can you tell us about it?

This story is set in my far-future space-opera-ish Ten Thousand Worlds, a civilization extending up and down our arm of the galaxy. I’ve probably written close to a million words in various novels and short stories set in this universe, all of them at about the time that the big change from rationalism to sympathetic association (magic) is about to happen. Readers who find the setting interesting might visit my webpage and read the excerpts from other works set on Old Earth under the Archonate, as well as others of the Ten Thousand Worlds.

With the serialization in full swing, what can we expect from Kalso in the future?

A certain amount of derring-do, and plenty of complications.

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Patrick J Stephens

Patrick J Stephens recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh and, after spending the entire year writing speculative fiction, came back with a Master’s in Social Science. His first collection (Aurichrome and Other Stories) can be found on Kindle and Nook.

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