06-07-2011: MilSciFi.com 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
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
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: http://www.deborahteramischristian.com/writing/behind-the-scenes-on-live-fire/
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
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
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
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
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 amazon.com, 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
MilSciFi: "And what events do you have in the
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: http://www.deborahteramischristian.com.
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