2050: Interview with J. Zornado

With the publication of When Immortals Reign a few months ago, the final chapter of J. Zornado's epic 2050 saga - an adventure over ten years in the making - comes to a thrilling close. I use these terms (epic, saga, thrilling) for convenience, but I tend to agree with 2050's publisher: "Words like "epic" and "saga" don't do enough to describe this read, so I'm going to invent a word: epsagaic (or saepicga)."

And Epsagaic (or saepicga) it certainly is. 2050 is an overwhelming effort, bold in scope and execution, and in the tradition of the best sci-fi/ sci-fantasy. From the first line to the last, the action spans centuries and continents, inner and outer space, and it dismantles key conceits of western civilization along the way. If a trilogy-length Zen koan were possible, this might be it.

The story is complex but accessible. The main character is Vilb de Solenthay:

"Vilb's story explores a post-apocalyptic Antarctica, which, though habitable, has fallen into perpetual drought. The lack of water and food has set the new "Little Earth" on a course for crisis, and Vilb holds - though he hardly knows it - both its cause and its resolution."
"With explorations of both Earth of 2050 and the new world he lives in millennia later, Vilb Solenthay and a memorable cast of characters continue to unravel the mysteries of Little Earth." And finally:

More plot details are revealed below, but I took pains to remain as spoiler-free as possible. This necessitated not discussing some of my favorite bits of the story, but it's worth it to preserve new readers' unfolding its mysteries on their own. 

My own journey with 2050 began a few years before its publication. I took a few of J. Zornado's classes when I was an undergrad, and he became a friend as well as teacher over the course of my matriculation. When the first book appeared, I was living in Chicago (one of the locations of the story) and was absolutely blown away. I'd heard many of the concepts in private conversations (I vividly recall the author describing The Power of M to me during a visit to his office circa 2003) but to see it all come together officially - and with such power and eloquence - was deeply rewarding. And I was rewarded anew a few weeks ago when I got to the end of Vol. 3. 

Friends, this is groundbreaking work. Do yourself and favor and take the plunge. At the moment, it's relatively off-the-radar, but something this evocative likely won't remain that way for long. I was pleased and humbled when he agreed to sit down (metaphorically) for an interview here at the Omnibus. 


DSO: The first volume in the trilogy was published by Speculative Fiction Review, if memory serves, and then Iron Diesel Press republished it when they put out Volume Two. Now Merry Blacksmith Press has put out the complete trilogy in handsome new editions. How did putting the story out this way impact the writing of it, if it did?

JZ: From the beginning I knew I was only going to be able to do one volume at a time, and given the type of story I am telling, I had no guarantees that I would see it published. As I shopped it around Volume One changed. I revised and rewrote large chunks of it—mainly to streamline the story and to shorten it. One hears so many contradictory things when trying to publish - for example, one hears that publishers are worried about length and literally measure the width of a book to see how many will fit on a shelf in a book store; that was back in the day when there were book stores! At the same time there are books of high fantasy that are many hundreds of pages long. In any event, it made sense to bring Volume One down to about 400 pages, which meant tightening up a couple of sub-plots, and so it took the form it currently has.

As far as Speculative Fiction Review, I found this publisher from California, and he was accepting manuscripts to put out first as ebooks, and so Volume One originally appeared as an ebook, then because of sales and reviews, SFR did a paperback edition, which you can still see at Amazon.com. In spite of the fact that SFR went out of business, the original version continues to haunt the internet.

Publishing Volume One with SFR was very encouraging, and so the plans for Volume Two continued to take shape in my mind. I’m not sure what would have happened had Volume One not been picked up initially. After all, it’s difficult to dedicate fourteen years to a project if no one is interested. Still, I think I’m crazy enough that I would have pressed on with or without a publisher at that stage, but I’m glad for the shot in the arm along the way.

Iron Diesel Press re-issued Volume One and then published Volume Two, but the publisher went back to school and decided the industry was just too much work and not enough reward. But that said, like SFR, IDP encouraged me along the way, and so Volume Two came out about six years after Volume One originally appeared. I knew then that Volume Three was only a matter of time, though at that point I had no publisher for the trilogy.

SFR edition (l) and Iron Diesel edition (r)

When I finished Volume Three I began to search for opportunities for publishing, and I found Merry Blacksmith Press out of Rhode Island. It’s a great small press with a real insight into the kind of story telling I’m doing, and the tradition from which a lot of what I’m doing comes. Merry Blacksmith Press re-issued Volumes One and Two, and then in the spring of 2015 published Volume Three for the first time, and for the first time the trilogy is complete. It’s a very satisfying and exciting moment. We will see if the work finds its audience.

DSO: I'm sure it will. You've described the trilogy as part journey quest, part meditation. Would you say Vilb's journey is a metaphor for each of our own existential journeys?

JZ: Yes, I think that’s a good way of putting it. Vilb is a character decidedly “post-human,” yet his “post-humanity” is defined by many of the things that make us human. His fragmentation is key here, and his utter delusional confusion. That’s where we find him in Volume One—a creature of his times. He believes in the gods. He has doubts, but he works for his whole life to solve his doubts from within the very system of thought that plagues him. I think we all do some of this. But Vilb is a more extreme example—he’s two-thousand years into the future on a terra-formed Antarctica, but he calls it home and only knows what he knows. 

But there again is a big part of the opening scenes—the first seven or eight chapters of Volume One immerse the reader in the reality of Little Earth and the east coast called Ubernakia. That’s Vilb’s homeland. Vilb is constantly stirred by a restless desire he calls “Pilgrimage,” or the call to Great City. He meets Prav (cast out by Vilb's neighbors and childlike in appearance but with knowledge far beyond Vilb's) and comes face to face with the inexplicable and almost incomprehensible evidence for how his people live, and it acts like a trigger, and finally Vilb decides to set out, but doubt—and schizophrenic voices—haunt him throughout Volume One. His own doubts plague him, his memories plague him, his religion plagues him, and a Voice from Beyond that he cannot discriminate as separate from his own mind plagues him as well. Vilb’s ignorance is predatory rather than passive. To remain in ignorance was no longer an option, but the journey forward was a journey into darkness and unknowing. And so Vilb and the reader take the journey together, and the answers begin to come.

From the back cover of the Iron Diesel version of Vol. 1.

DSO: At one point Vilb says "All I have found are lies built upon lies - some very ancient lies, indeed, poetic and tragic, but lies nonetheless, meant to disguise the fundamental deception those with power perpetuate on the weak." In Vilb's case, in the world of the novel, this is literally true. Which of our own civilization's ancient lies (poetic or not) is the immediate issue in 2015?

JZ: Power and religion. Power and the War State. Forgive me for this, but I like a simplified version of Jacques Lacan thrown in with a dose of body-centered gestalt. I’m not sure if the experts in these fields would allow for such a combination, but it makes sense to me. 

Text from Volume Three.

So for example, on the one hand we have Lacan’s tripartite division of the human mind. It’s a booromean knot, in that three domains are wound together and functionally inseparable. But to discuss them I need to separate them. The knot represents the intersection of three domains of the mind, the Real, the Imaginary, and the Symbolic Order. The Real is a primordial “before” that cannot be named, but that stays with us as a longing for something we can’t find. If this is true, and I suspect that it is because Buddhism says something very similar, and in fact Lacan and Buddhism (especially Zen) talk about Desire and basic drive of the “subject” as Lacan would say. Children learn—from the very earliest moments—the vocabulary, feelings, and other things in their environment as the Real fades into the background of their dreams and the child-subject enters into the realm of the Imaginary. Identifications begin to take effect in the Imaginary realm in terms of disassociated symbols in the form of language and symbol. 

The Imaginary cannot be separated from the Symbolic Order for the Symbolic Order controls, shapes, and represents the Imaginary to the child-subject as “reality,” I.e., “normal.” Stupid is as stupid does. Even Forrest Gump knows that.

But we like to stay stupid, sort of like Vilb. It’s hard to see one’s own “normal reality” from an altered frame of reference. I think it's a really cool outcome of Speculative Fiction. It’s like going to a different country and looking back at your own. When we do—when I do—I see that our culture—American culture—is violent for obvious reasons. The child’s entrance into the Imaginary and Symbolic Order is, more often than not, traumatic—unnecessarily so. There are myriad arguments in favor of beating children into submission, but I think science is showing us that traumatizing children makes for traumatized adults, and for the misuse of power—and the greedy feeding of desire without restraint—as a primary goal. 

(Readers who are intrigued by this line of inquiry are encouraged to track down Joe's first published work, the non-fiction Inventing The Child. - DSO)

We need to restrain this greedy desire, in my opinion, or we’re done. So: we come into the world with Desire, and growing up makes us attach to the fulfillment of Desire. Lacan and Buddhism both agree: fulfilling Desire is not possible. This theme is deeply embedded in 2050.

DSO: Reminds of something Stephen King said about Needful Things, one of my favorites of his, that the American idea of life and happiness (that it's not just possible but desirable to have everything you want) is actually a kind of Hell. But it's not just the American way of life being satirized in 2050, is it?

JZ: Whatever critique I am doing it is not just about American culture, God no. It is about taker culture, multinational corporatism, and civilization's long conflict with its environment. American culture is built as an appeal to our addictions. Everybody’s buying. Everybody’s for sale.

(But) I don’t believe that any one particular ideology is to blame, rather it’s the power relations that inform institutionalized hierarchies. Children learn what they live, and in this culture they live in an Imaginary Realm defined by a Symbolic Order that continues to deny that all is one, that everything is connected, and that to milk the cow, you need a farm, and to have a farm you need the weather, and the soil, and to have the weather and soil, you need a fairly reliable climate, and so on and so forth. Today the powerful cling to the notion that power and the misuse of power are the same thing. The entire Abrahamic tradition lies behind the ideology that a few elite people have access to “divine” power, and so they have the right to use that power on earth to achieve the divinity’s end. It’s all a delusional use of power that justifies mass murder. It doesn’t have to be this way, but before things can change we have to at least recognize how things really are. This is Vilb’s journey and our own. Right now—and for the past two thousand years at least—we’ve been haunted by the notion that humanity should be ranked, hierarchized, from the golden-godly to the shit-faced-untouchables and every poor slob in between. Caste systems continue to haunt human society. Even now in American culture there are groups of people who would greatly prefer to live in a world of castes based upon rigid identifications with gender, and race. It’s social Darwinism—the belief in “rankings” and that some people are somehow better, and so deserve more the spoils, than you. Whatever the language code, be it religious or scientific (or both) the idea that some people are inherently more deserving than others is demonstrably false yet in widespread practice still. 

Let me say that I have no doubt that some people perform better at certain tasks, and so may earn their rank. But to be born into “rank” and rewarded could some day be viewed as a crime against humanity.

Text from Volume Three.

DSO: The sci-fi scenario of the novel arises from an attempt to combat out-of-control climate change through injecting nano-particles into the atmosphere which can then be controlled. (I'm simplifying this considerably, of course.) This works spectacularly well at first, but its after-effects give rise to everything else. Can you, if possible, describe the real-world viability of something like the Power of M? Is it possible to meet Simon via something like the Large Hadron Collider?

JZ: I love following news about the LHC and the Higgs Boson. What we can do with experimental physics is truly amazing.  To be able to create conditions on this planet that have not happened since the Big Bang? WTF? That is some very serious technology happening. 

I scaled everything up. Would it be possible to dig a huge, three thousand mile tunnel underneath the ice sheet, deep in the bedrock of Antarctica? Yes. I think so, but it would as hard or harder than going to Mars. Assuming the task was doable, and in Volume One it is an act of desperation, and, of course, greed. I read about scientists making breakthroughs all the time in dealing with electromagnetism. Some of the technology in Volume Three is based on current “wish list” designs for generating power and control over the electromagnetic realm. In 2050 this equates to a kind of magic, but it is not magic, though it has devolved into religion. Nevertheless, the power of M is conceived of as control, specifically, control over the electromagnetic powers of the earth. The earth itself is a magnet, and has magnetic poles like a battery with a positive and a negative. The sun is involved in all of this, but most of it comes from the spinning core of molten nickel that moves and creates magnetism. The continental Em-Frame installation was designed to tap into and take control over the earth’s magnetic fields thereby giving the user global power to control, including and especially weather.

Is it possible to meet Simon via the LHC? Yes! Just a brief glimpse though, into a blackhole we produce, perhaps? Or a window to an alternate universe, or to a bubble multi-verse, or to higher dimensions of the physical universe. It would be just a glimpse, mind you, and the rest would be speculation and mathematics. But if we meet Simon we may find that It goes by a different name than we thought. Is this possible? Well, in fact, it is. What if the universe really is an experiment run by an advanced, “alien” intelligence? What if our religions are just bizarre stories made up in an attempt to explain why we kill each other?

The Large Hadron Collider.

Could the LHC point to such things, hint at least, as it smashes particles together and watches them explode into even tinier bits? I’ll be following closely the LHC as it gets ready for another run.

DSO: In 2050, several failed attempts to clone regens precede the regen-line that spawns Vilb. One of these regen lines, The Gazi, is described as “suffering from a chronic, pervasive sense of anxiety, born of existential and physical dislocation and an abiding sense of horror and alienation.” 

JZ: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation,” Thoreau said, or something pretty close to that. I think it’s still true, and his solutions are still true. Thoreau’s solutions for what ails us is very Buddhist in fact. But first: what ails us? Attachment to our Desire. The grip, the hold, the pursuit, the anxiety, all of it is exhausting and it gives rise to behaviors meant to mitigate the situation but only make it worse, like excessive smoking, drinking, eating, shopping, gaming, and any and all addictive cycles. This is not a moral argument—all of these behaviors are neither good nor bad, but practicing any one or more with an eye towards oblivion is deadly.

DSO: Levinthal is one of the trilogy's main antagonists. He's a real treat to read - one part Bond super-villain, one part mad scientist, and still another part a fantastic parody of the Ego itself. From Volume One:

"The man was massive, as large as an Aegis only under an ermine robe and shimmering blouse. He was a mountain of flesh and blood, of living, vibrant tissue, but not the green of Little Earth. He was pink, like so many of the Consortium Ancients once were. (...) The giant man's eyes sparkled and his burnished skin was flush with the abundance of buoyant physical health. "Return to me and I offer you your body's full restoration and worlds in which to enjoy it. Worlds, my boy. Worlds. Serve me now as you have in the past. Serve me and let me save you."

Here's a guy who starts out taking regular injections of lamb's blood sequenced according to Einstein's genetic pattern and manages to up even that considerable ante several times over. He's deadly, brilliant, hilarious at times, and a marvelously devious character. One of my favorite super-villains in sci-fi or anywhere, truthfully. How would you regard his place in the trilogy? Not just his place in the plot but his overall symbolism?

JZ: I love Levinthal as a character. I am particularly proud of how I handled him, from Volume One till the end.  I think he has a perfect trajectory. He is very important to the trilogy—he is the chief antagonist among others, and absolutely central to Vilb’s journey. In all the ways that matter I think Levinthal is the absolute omega of our current culture.

DSO: Hard to argue with that. At one point, Levinthal shows Vilb the edge of the multiverse itself, blocked "Who-Mourns-for-Adonais"-style by the cosmic hand of Simon. I was intrigued by this - is it just a representation of a physical reality, or is the power of Simon encasing the universe (multiverse even) like a Dyson sphere of some kind?

JZ: There’s a story about a monkey, a very powerful monkey king, who says to Buddha you can’t control me. I am beyond your reach! The Monkey then proceeds to demonstrate his powers and the Monkey leaps from the universe itself and stands proudly before the Buddha as evidence, and the Buddha reveals that the Monkey has been bound up in the Buddha’s hand throughout all of his hi-jinks. Something like this is what they find—Simon has evolved too, even though they have blocked Simon’s power in the Seven Realms, Levinthal can still not get beyond Simon. Simon thwarts his power, and for that Levinthal must kill The Great God! Why? So Levinthal can take his place but in a seat of even more power and control.  Levinthal is the omega point of greed and power untethered by any restraint.

Not so much a Dyson sphere as I am riffing off of the “Holographic Universe” principle, and it’s too much to go into here, but I think it is intriguing and flexible. If the universe is a hologram, have we pre-programmed it (a la Interstellar?) Or is it all running by accident? Or have alien forces programmed the hologram to play as it does? Levinthal is confident that he knows how to solve all of these questions, because each one is an accusation to him, and an issue to conquer and control.

Image from Encounters at the End of the World (Herzog, 2008) with text from Volume 1.

DSO: Vilb is told rather bluntly at one point that he was created to suffer. Certainly the repetition (and regeneration) of his own suffering and ignorance is a deliberate theme of the book. Is he the novel's hero? Is his a monomythic journey a la Joseph Campbell?

JZ: The structure of the narrative is very much the Hero’s Journey. The Adventures of Peter Rabbit is the Hero’s Journey. And so is Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and so on. Tough to avoid, though I did hold to the reality of Vilb’s character, his past, and his current situation. As a result Vilb is the anti-hero, though at times he has thoughts of perhaps “turning the tide,” yet these always come to naught. This is not a world of heroes, rather, it’s a world where the gods and one’s individual “fate" itself has been manipulated. Vilb is very much the anti-hero of his story, so perhaps it would be called the Anti-Hero’s Journey.

DSO: Perhaps the best we can be are anti-heroes, or reformed villains. Is this the 2050 equivalent of the concept of original sin / born again? There are many biblical parallels throughout, actually.

JZ: Sure, yes, absolutely. Christianity is one of the most obvious Hero’s Journeys. Christ is the Hero. He is only one of the gods with a thousand faces, but he’s one we’ve all heard of, and so it informs our understanding about stories, history, myth, and so on. I think there is some parody of Christianity in 2050, but really it’s a parody of all religions—our need to believe in gods, beings greater than we are and who control our fates. I think I combined that human need with the notion that “if God didn’t exist, we would have to invent Him.”  Simon is the god we had to invent. Because He didn’t exist. And so we invented Him—in 2050 it’s quite by accident as all gods are. The biblical parallels are part parody, but also more than that, for in creating such pitiful characters in such a horrific and monstrous world, who wouldn’t hope and pray now and then? In other words, though the content of Vilb’s belief system is shown to be a post-human invention (as perhaps all religion is) his need to believe in something I take very seriously. His predicament is our own.

DSO: Does this tie into your description of book 3 as "less apocalyptic, more of a cautionary tale on evolutionary processes?"

JZ: Volume One deals with certain themes and they manifest as plot points and the overall thrust of story. Volume One was the apocalyptic part of the trilogy, but even then the apocalypse has already happened some two thousand years before. 2050 is the year in Little Earth, about two thousand years after the common era. Now we are in the age “after Simon.” 2050 a.s. Volume One is a cautionary tale, as is the whole trilogy, but Volume One deals specifically with the near future as well, 2034ad-2050ad. These will be bad years for the world civilization as we know it according to Volume One. The next two volumes carry forward as Vilb journeys onward and the future of his world is on his mind though his past continues to haunt him. As far as evolutionary process, I find that I believe that some kind of human die-off is inevitable, but not extinction. Evolution I think. But into what? This is the question. The brain named itself. Then the brain should be able to guide its own evolution.

DSO: Many of the epigraphs in bk2 relate to the financial reports of the Magisterium. While there is trade in M-Stone (the petroleum of the A.S. era) back and forth between the realms, what exactly is being traded? Who's buying stock? It comes across as an involved parody of the financial system of the Ancients, resurrected and practiced mindlessly by the Board, and it works, very well, but just curious if I’m the right path here.

JZ: I think you nailed it. "An involved parody of the financial practices of the Ancients" engaged in relentlessly by the upper vault. It's all they are--it's all they know. They are really no match for Levinthal except they have what he needs: M stone. But I think the implication is that the fifth realm is indeed in some kind of trading arrangement with both Levinthal and Qir. It makes them believe they are viable contenders in the new world.

With Volume II the narrative is a response to a few imperatives:  move the story forward. Vilb indeed will take the anti-hero’s journey which is a “home away home” structure in this case. I knew that Vilb would in the end return to Little Earth. Classic structure. In Volume Two I wanted to tell the history of the “nearer” future, post-humans living underground as they do in the Fifth Realm trying to fix the tortured atmosphere outside. Eiger Vault is most like us today because they have been awake for only a couple of hundred years, and part of their technology remains pre-Simon; it is also true that the Board has managed to trade for high technology with Qir, and Levinthal as it turns out. Levinthal was once a member of the Board you might recall. 

Yet once again Vilb has NO idea what he has walked into, though I think he remembers some of the lessons of Volume I. Hence, his decision to find the limits of his own mind, to think the unthought thought, to find freedom, to make a decision from within his own head, unimpeded by noise from within or without. At the same time, Cassandra (Coffin, daughter of the Chairman of the Board and another of the trilogy's most memorable characters - DSO) serves as the clarion call to one part of his humanity, and Vilb indulges, lets himself get used by the Board, and then, when he’s all hopped up on this heady brew (VenQuell readings quite high) he heads off to destroy Levinthal in Simon’s New Body. It was all doomed to failure—set in motion by all of the gods of Little Earth in response to Levinthal.  

Levinthal does not read the future, he simply plans for probabilities. So does Qir. It’s chess. It’s also Go. The third-person limited point of view allows for a lot of unknowing about alliances/histories, etc. But it’s all there because it’s important that it makes sense even when not fully presented in the narrative, only assumed. It’s a tough writerly-road, that is, to avoid characters who explain the situation to each other. Vilb’s “I don’t knows” as many as there are in Volume Two struck me as the only honest thing he could say at that point. Everyone keeps looking at him expecting him to do something. It’s very Neo from the second Matrix film except Vilb is more the anti-Christ in a way, especially the end of Volume III. Volume II is my Helm’s Deep, only the good guys lose. Badly. And then we head off to Sauron’s tower to see what happens there.

DSO: Speaking of Sauron, I noticed a few tips of the cap to Tolkien along the way: at one point, "Speak Friend and Enter" is referenced (I can't recall where or by whom, though) and towards the very end, Vilb (if memory serves) thinks a variation of Bilbo's line from his going-away party ("I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like...") Are there any other referential easter eggs to be found?

JZThere are a few other Tolkien shout-outs. Little Earth rhymes with Middle Earth for example. The prologue to Volume One is very much indebted to The Silmarillion at least in my attempt to capture a biblical tone. There are all kinds of pop culture Easter eggs throughout the three volumes, actually.

"This is a clean environment. Are you clean?"

DSO: Not really a question, but Qir Hom is a fascinating character. And without giving too much away he might be the only true ally Vilb has. Even if it's a complicated alliance, to say the least.

JZ: Yes, very important. Qir is an interesting character. I think he comes the closest of all the gods of little earth to some kind of enlightenment. But even his great progress is undercut by his need for slaves, i.e., Prav. Unlike the other gods he is prepared for disembodiment. Does he succeed? He has to play dirty and get into bed with the fifth realm and even the seven towers. But he is working against them from the beginning. He is also the most mysterious I think.

I think the most fundamental take away from all of this is that there are no sure bets. But there are probabilities and so events can be shaped (if not perfectly controlled). Qir is linked to Vilb — as all the gods of Little Earth are in one way or another! But Qir’s links to Simon come in a different form than the others gods.

DSO:  And how. I wish I could say more! Alongside the existential side of the trilogy is a lot of giant robots shooting energy beams at each other and flying around on waves of M. Very cinematic - did you used to watch Shogun Warriors as a kid? How long has 2050 been percolating for you?

JZ: No, I didn’t watch Shogun Warriors, but I’ve certainly been exposed to anime, film, television, book, some of which was science fiction/fantasy.  I love the scene (from Volume One) of Oneira’s victory over Quadros Prang - a beautiful moment, preceded by the fiery missiles of Aegis pitching themselves at Quadros Prang’s position far below. I’m glad you can see it.

DSO: I love that particular Aegis moment, as well. And Levinthal's colossi and all such sequences. I can only hope someone who can achieve the visuals reads the books and contacts you with aim to realize them. Are you working on anything now? Do you have any plans to return to the world of 2050? I for one would love to read both The Book of M and My Struggle with Simon by Levinthal. (Two of the in-world books that provide some of the epigraph quotes throughout the trilogy.)

JZ: I have been working on something new – I am at the beginning stages. It is a kind of prequel to 2050 set in the same future history but in the very very near future. It's a different story but many of the same themes apply. Suffice to say it has something to do with Walt Disney. It's all just a clever idea right now though. If 2050 takes off and there is an audience then perhaps someday I will write The Book of M or My Struggle with Simon. That would be a lot of fun.


That's a wrap on the first official Dog Star Omnibus interview. It was a genuine privilege to be able to do this and a thousand thanks to the author. Behind-the-scenes he was just a trip to talk to about all of this stuff, and I hope I did justice to the humor and generosity of his remarks, above.  

2050 is an an amazing work and one I'll be meditating on - and revisiting - many times in the years to come. Beyond appreciating its literary merit and the pure sci-fi delight of it reading it, I hope its deeper themes of what we do to ourselves (and our world) and the stories we tell to justify it cause many an anxious moment for the reader. This is unsettling stuff and - like the best sci-fi and mythology - strikes a chord deep within that we are unwise to ignore.


  1. That's a heck of an interview -- well done!

    I've bookmarked all three volumes and plan to pick them up and read them at some point in the not-too-distant future. This sounds like exactly the sort of sci-fi I'd enjoy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    1. Thank you! Happy to hear you enjoyed this interview. And I hope you enjoy the books when you get there.

    2. Based on this interview, there is virtually no way I won't.

    3. I'd intended to circle back here and mention this, and finally remembered to do so: I bought myself the trilogy for Christmas. Lord only knows when I'll actually get around to reading them, but I'm determined for it to be during 2016.