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Editor Mike McPhail's So It Begins reviews

Editor Mike McPhail's Breach The Hull

Interview for Breach The Hull

CJ Henderson contributor to Warfare

Interview with C.J. Henderson contributor to Warfear


In another reality.


Author C.J. Henderson, So It Begins

C.J. Henderson

Everything's Better With Monkeys

Biography of

2009-05-15: interviews C.J. Henderson, contributor to the military science fiction anthology, So It Begins, book two in the Defending the Future series.

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 universe?"

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 story?"

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 poem."

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 the works?"

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 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 of things.

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."

C.J. Henderson's website is:

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Copyright 2009 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


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