05-20-2011: MilSciFi.com interviews author Brenda Cooper, contributor to the anthology, No Man's Land, book four in the Defending The Future series.
MilSciFi: "Welcome back.
Please tell us about your story, and what was the inspiration for it?
Cooper: "I spoke at the 'Mad
Scientists' conference at TRADOC in 2010 Ė which is essentially a glorious
mashup of military folk, futurists, and science fiction writers looking at the
future of warfare. Itís unclassified,
fun, and I found it really interesting.
This is a conference looking for gold around the edges: most of the information produced is surely
readily available in other formats, some of it is just plain wrong, but some is
Ė at least hopefully Ė very useful and somewhat unique. One takeaway for me was
respect for a lot of the military people I met there. Another was story ideas. This one came from a tabletop conversation
about generating electricity to keep troops far from base supplied with power."
MilSciFi: "Is it a part of a
Cooper: "Not yet."
MilSciFi: "Any plans to
continue with this storyline?"
MilSciFi: "Each story is accompanied
by a unique icon, can you tell us something about the relevance behind your
Cooper: "This patch
describes a unified North American government, NORAM, and shows a stylized
version of the robot dogs that accompany the soldiers in my story. The dogs can carry weapons, supplies, and
communication gear. And of courseÖthey
have other uses as well. Thanks to Mike
McPhail for doing a perfect drawing of this.
I really love the patch."
MilSciFi: "How did you
become involved with the No Manís Land project?"
Cooper: "I was asked. I liked the idea. I said yes."
MilSciFi: "What were your
thoughts about the fact that this was a collection featuring all-female
Cooper: "Go girls! In reality, women authors are
under-represented in the military SF community, so I thought this was pretty
cool, really. I hope the book does well."
MilSciFi: "What tips would
you given an aspiring military science fiction author, female or otherwise?"
Cooper: "Well, the same
Iíd give to any writer. Write. Write a
lot. Donít expect to be perfect, but
writing is practice."
MilSciFi: "Is military
accuracy important to you, or can one simply 'fake' it?"
Cooper: "Depends on the
time-setting. Iím really more of a
classic science fiction writer who sometimes finds herself writing military
science fiction. But Iíve never served. I wouldnít even try to be accurate about the
experience of serving today; I donít know enough. Like any other sf, the closer you are to now,
the more important literal accuracy is, and the further away you are the less
that matters as long as your writing feels plausible. For example, the military accuracy in the
Honor Harrington series isnít about the science or the weapons although they
are written well enough that Iím willing to believe them, but itís about the
human parts of the experience: the
organization, the moral dilemmas, the challenges, the can-do spirit."
MilSciFi: "Have you been
involved with any similar projects?"
yes. But never a military SF anthology
like this. I liked this a lot."
MilSciFi: "With your growing
success as an author, do you plan to continue writing for the Defending the
Cooper: "I donít
know. I really enjoyed doing this
project and so I may very well."
MilSciFi: "Are there any
upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?"
Cooper: "The next novel I
have coming out is Mayan December, which will be published by Prime Books in
August of 2011. Itís not military
SF. Itís really more a historical
fantasy with SF bits in it. Mayan
December is set in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is one of my
favorite places in the world. It is
neither new age nor all about the end of the world; it is about a family, a
mystery, and the magic of the old Maya times."
MilSciFi: "And what events
do you have in the months ahead?"
Cooper: "I will be
launching Mayan December at Worldcon (jointly with my friend Louise Marley who
is launching her book, The Brahmís Deception, and I am also working on putting
together a reading for No Manís Land. I
donít think itís a question of whether or not weíll do it, but more of when and
where. I will also be at World Fantasy this year."
MilSciFi: "How can our
readers find out more about your work?"
Cooper: "Information about
my Silver Ship series (standard SF, but with fights in it) can be found at www.thefiveworlds.com
and a listing of all of my short stories is available on my regular website at www.brenda-cooper.com. Thereís more about Mayan December at www.mayandecember.com. I also write a monthly column called Todayís
Tomorrowís over at Futurismic."
MilSciFi: "Thank you for your
Cooper: "Thank you!"