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DTFIV No Man's Land reviews

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Deborah Teramis Christian

Deborah Teramis

 Live Fire

: interviews author Deborah Teramis Christian, contributor to the anthology, No Man's Land, book four in the Defending The Future series.

MilSciFi: "Welcome. Please tell us about your story, and what was the inspiration for it?"

Christian: "Two things converged to prompt this story.

First, back in 2009 I'd seen the Battlestar Galactica webisode series called 'The Face of the Enemy'. It was something of a locked room mystery, where the characters are trapped in a small place with mortal danger, and we don't know who's behind it all.  I love the tense excitement and enjoyment that story gave me, especially with the twist about betrayal. This also put me in mind of the movie Alien (in terms of being trapped with danger), and that's one of my all-time favorite movies. I wanted to write a story that incorporated some of those elements effectively.

Secondly, my sf novels take place in the Sa'adani Empire, a setting I originally developed for my long-running science fiction role-playing game. I had some players in this game recently who had an NPC (non-player character) sister. I wanted to tell her story and flesh her out some more. That is what brought Amisano Marit onto the stage.  (Note that Amisano is her last name. In this society clan names come first.)"

MilSciFi: "Is it a part of a larger universe?"

Christian: "As you can tell by my previous answer, that would be a 'yes'.  My novels Mainline and Splintegrate (work-in-progress) take place there, as do all of my science fiction short stories. What's worth noting is that this universe is not an extrapolation of Earth-in-the-future. This is, instead, "a galaxy far, far, away", if you will, and there is nary a Sol in sight.  Also, the cradle-world of the Empire is the same world where my fantasy novels take place, millenia before the science fiction tales do, so there is an underlying cultural continuity between my fantastic and futuristic settings."

MilSciFi: "Any plans to continue with this storyline?"

Christian: "I'm planning a novella featuring the heroine, and am currently considering where and how I want to go about getting that published.  The military career of Amisano dovetails with a subplot in Splintegrate, and that is a storyline I want to develop in the future."

MilSciFi: "Each story is accompanied by a unique icon, can you tell us something about the relevance behind your own?"

Christian: "That icon is the unit patch worn by Amisano and her crewmates who are assigned to the Forward Patrol taskforce in the Hashmin DMZ borderland of Sa'adani space.  The script beneath it are the stylized ideograms of High Sa'adani, which reads, "Hashmin Fleet Forward Patrol Unit 10". Readers can read more about the symbology seen in the icon at this blog post:

MilSciFi: "How did you become involved with the No Man's Land project?"

Christian: "Danielle Ackley-McPhail kindly invited me to contribute a story, and I jumped at the chance.  I don't write much short fiction and have never had a piece in an anthology before. And the theme of this book was right up my alley."

MilSciFi: "What were your thoughts about the fact that this was a collection featuring all-female authors?"

Christian: "I think it's overdue. I'm a vet and love military science fiction; it has always bothered me that there aren't more stories featuring strong female protagonists in this genre.  Women are more likely to write that kind of story than men are. I think we're just looking for the platform that will let voices like this speak."

MilSciFi: "What tips would you given an aspiring military science fiction author, female or otherwise?"

Christian: "Don't just slap on military trappings and think that that makes a story military science fiction. The setting and constraints of that environment have to play an integral role in the people-story that lies at the heart of good fiction.  And if a writer hasn't been in the military, unless they are very fond of painstaking research it might be wise to invent a military system, rather than extrapolate one based on a contemporary equivalent.  By staying true to the internal logic of the invention, their fictional military can ring true. And they won't jar the disbelief of readers familiar with real-world service because they failed to get some details 'right' ".

MilSciFi: "Is military accuracy important to you, or can one simply 'fake' it?"

Christian: "First, I don't think an author can ever really 'fake it' with readers and get away with it. Anything an author invents has to make sense, be logical, be consistent - i.e., be a realistic world and have that feel to it. An invented military in such a setting doesn't feel faked; it feels convincing, albeit different from earthly analogs."

That said, I think real-world accuracy is very important IF the military being portrayed is the same as, or close to, what readers have experienced in real life. Failure to be accurate there will ruin the suspension of disbelief and simply demonstrate that the author 'doesn't know what they're talking about' regarding things military.  That's why in my previous comment I suggest that if people can't be accurate in reflecting what people 'know' about how the military functions, then they must create a convincing alternate reality in whatever military they do portray."

MilSciFi: "Have you been involved with any similar projects?"

Christian: "No, I haven't. I was and am really glad to have the opportunity to participate in this one."

MilSciFi: "With your growing success as an author, do you plan to continue writing for the Defending the Future series?"

Christian: "I'd love to continue to add to this series. I think it's a great concept and am also pleased they're giving women a chance to contribute to this genre."

MilSciFi: "Are there any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?"

Christian: "I'm revising Splintegrate, which is due to the publisher later this year.  That story is a "semi-sequel" to Mainline: it features some of the minor characters from that book, and takes place two-years later, but it does stand alone on its own.  There's a pre-order form for it at, although the actual release date is presently in flux.

I'm also planning two novella projects.  One is the Amisano story that I mentioned earlier. The other is set after the end of my fantasy novel Truthsayer's Apprentice and is a bridge story between that book and the second in the trilogy.  I'm also considering a series of Sa'adani Tales podcasts for later this year, but need to revamp my computing environment before I can take that on."

MilSciFi: "And what events do you have in the months ahead?"

Christian: "None at all! I am very ensconced in my writer's cave finishing older projects and working to create critical mass with some new ones. This is part of a long-term writing retreat I'm doing on a farm in a rural location. I plan to make myself more available over the internet, though, through webinars, workshops and such, once Splintegrateis off my plate."

MilSciFi: "How can our readers find out more about your work?"

Christian: " 'Notes From the Lizard Lair' is my blog and central info hub: I also strongly encourage people to sign up for my mailing list, where they'll receive my Warped Space newsletter. The mailings are occasional but more in-depth and narrowly focused than my general blog is, PLUS I offer swag and free stories available only to suscribers. The sign-up widget for that is at my website as well."

MilSciFi: "Thank you for time"

Christian: "Thanks for having me!"

Deborah Teramis Christian's website is:

Dark Quest Books' website is:


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Copyright 2011 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved


The views contained in this interview are those of the author, and
do not necessarily represent the views of