In “Art of War,” humankind is engaged in an interstellar conflict with an alien race that salvages our artwork to learn more about us. Do you think hostile aliens would take the time to loot the Louvre if Earth were invaded?
Who knows what aliens would do? They are alien. However, if they happened to conquer Paris anyway, I can see invaders studying artwork to learn more, just as archeologists now certainly study the art of any culture they are hoping to decipher.
Captain Porter is always on the verge of stress-induced seizures. Why did you choose to give him this condition?
I get tired of perfect, always capable heroes. Porter was born with this condition, and he has made a life for himself despite it, and despite the Mother From Hell. That is admirable. That is, in fact, heroic.
The Teli offset their violence by creating art. Are there any parallels between that mindset and the way we go about our lives today?
A few years ago, sociobiologist Geoffrey F. Miller published The Mating Mind, a book whose premise is that human art evolved, in accordance with Darwinian evolutionary theory, to gain a sexual advantage. Basically, art came into being to impress girls—the same reason that the peacock expends energy to grow a gorgeous, functionally useless tail. This may not answer your question, but it’s pretty interesting.
Was this story challenging to write?
Not as much as some, because there was less science to research. Since I’m not trained as a scientist, I have to do a lot of research whenever a story demands technical details of physics, astronomy, or biology.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a young-adult SF novel, Flash Point, coming out in November from Viking. The publisher is excited about it, and I am, too.