2009-05-15: MilSciFi.com interviews C.J. Henderson, contributor to the
military science fiction anthology, So It Begins, book two in the Defending the
MilSciFI: "Welcome back. Please tell us a little
something about your story, Everything's Better With Monkeys."
Henderson: "Mine is a first contact story, one
that uses a fairly venerable space opera setting. New planet, non-space-faring
race being courted by two galactic empires ... humanity, and the bad guys. If
you sense a comedy, your senses are good."
MilSciFI: "Is this part of a large series or
Henderson: "Yes. This is the third story in
what is rapidly becoming known as the "Rocky & Noodles" stories.
In the collection "Breech the Hull," I was called upon to write my
first sci fi military story, "Shore Leave." It was a musical comedy
done in the style of a 1940s buddy comedy, with a couple of musical numbers
thrown in. That was followed by the tale "Space Pirate Cookies" in
the anthology "Space Pirates." Now we have "Everything's Better
with Monkeys" for this volume, soon to followed by two more stories that
have already been commissioned."
MilSciFI: "What inspired you to write this
Henderson: "Well, having had musical numbers
in the first two stories, I wanted to write about a planet where everyone sang
and danced to communicate with one another, so the entire story would be a
musical comedy. Of course, these things never work out the way we plan (okay,
they never work out the way I plan them), but I got what folks think is the
best story yet in the series, so I guess I can't complain."
MilSciFI: "Does science and technology play
an important role in this story (or in your work in general), or is it
secondary to the story telling and characterization?"
Henderson: "I have two science fiction series
going at the moment, this one and the Tales of the Pelgimbly Institute for the
Advanced Sciences. I do tackle time travel, interdimensional travel, space
flight, and all manner of scientific matters in both series, but I do play pretty
fast and loose with the rules (although I luckily do have the services of
my good friend John Rennie, the highly esteemed editor-in-chief of
"Scientific American" who gives me hints and advice and generally
keeps me from looking too foolish).
For me, the characters tend to tell the stories. I just let them
start talking, and before I know it, I have another tale completed. They're far
better at this than I am, so I just let them do all the work."
MilSciFI: "Do you have plans to expanded
upon, or write other works based on this story?"
Henderson: "We'll see more stories in this
universe, as I said before, but I doubt I'll get back to this specific planet.
I don't quite know what I'm up to in this series, but I can see I'm heading
toward some grand wrap-up somewhere down the line."
MilSciFI: "Most authors we encounter write
novellas/novels, do you find it a challenge to write short stories?"
Henderson: "No, I love doing shorts. There
isn't nearly the money in them as there is in novellas, and especially novels,
but I do enjoy doing them. I do all three, and comic books as well. Length, to
me, is usually determined by the story. I've sat down to write a short story
and ended up with a novel, started to write a short and ended up with a
MilSciFI: "Since time is of the essence for
getting a read up to speed in a short story, do you have a strategy, or
preferred method for doing this?
Henderson: "No, not really. Again, I simply
start writing and see where a story goes. Outlines and planning and I are not
what you would call old friends. Hell, we're not even acquaintances."
MilSciFI: "Do you have any other projects in
Henderson: "Always. The first Pelgimbly
collection is being edited right now. It should come out next year under the
title "Steam-Powered Love: Tales of the Pelgimbly Institute for the
Advanced Sciences, and the Chaos it Caused." There is the new series for
Tor. That first novel comes out in January: "Brooklyn Knight," about
a curator in the Brooklyn Museum who keeps getting mixed up with the supernatural. I could
do on and on, but for those that are interested, I suggest a trip over to www.cjhenderson.com.
It has a news section that lets people know what's coming out,
what upcoming author events I have, and where they are, short stories for
one and all to read, a store for those who still have jobs, why ... all manner
And, for those who do stop in, please feel free to read a story or
three or four and then send some comments. I love to get feedback from people,
and for the last 35 years I've answered every bit of mail that's made it to me.
The ones the post office and AOL eat, well, I say I can not be
held responsible for them.
Thanks for your time, guys."
MilSciFi: "Thank you for joining us."