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John B. Rosenman's, Beyond Those Distant Stars
John B. Rosenman's, Speaker of the Shakk
John B. Rosenman's, A Senseless Act Of Beauty

John B. Rosenman's, Dax Rigby, War Correspondent

John B. Rosenman's, Alien Dreams

author John B. Rosenman

John B. Rosenman


11-24-08: interviews author John B. Rosenman, author of the military science fiction novel Beyond Those Distant Stars.

MilSciFi: "Welcome. What was your inspiration for the story?"

Rosenman: "I owe Beyond Those Distant Stars largely to Lois McMaster Bujold's space opera novels about Miles Vorkosigan.  They fired my imagination, and in homage, I named my cyborg heroine Stella McMasters.  Also, I love to write cosmic, action-adventure science fiction.  It's just the way my muse or mind works.  Stella McMasters is the first of my heroes in this sub-genre."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any future plans for stories set in the same universe?"

Rosenman: "I've tried twice with mixed success to write a sequel to Beyond Those Distant Stars.  Maybe I'll be successful the third time."

MilSciFi: "What other upcoming works are on the horizon for you?"

Rosenman: "I'm currently writing a novel, Dark Wizard, that takes place largely in San Luis Obispo, California.  A man named Kan finds himself in this quirky and scenic city with no memory of his past or who he is.  But he possesses mysterious, transcendent powers, such as the ability to bring the dead back to life."

MilSciFi: "How would you describe your experience working on the book?"

Rosenman: "Writing Beyond Those Distant Stars was difficult and challenging, but being a member of a critique writers' group helped a great deal.  I took my chapters to them, and they critiqued and in some cases line-edited them, sometimes making brilliant and helpful suggestions as to plot and other matters.  I'd take those chapters home and revise, revise, revise.

My experience with other novels is similar.  Every two weeks I take chapters to the group, and they give me their reactions.  Then I hone and polish, revise and . . . you get the idea.  After the novels are accepted by publishers, I use Track Changes to go through them chapter by chapter, line by line, trying to make them better and better, just as good as I can."

MilSciFi: "If you had a chance to write one story just because you wanted to, and didn't have to worry about if it would sell or not, what would it be about?"

Rosenman: "I don't worry about it, and I write whatever I want, whether it's a novel or a short story.  Maybe            this is a dumb attitude to have, especially if you want to become both critically and commercially successful.  Although I've written – and published in some themed magazines and anthologies – I write basically to please myself.  What interests me, in other words.  So I've written a story (unsold so far) about a man with bladder trouble who can't urinate, a humorous story of metafiction that pokes fun at the whole concept of short stories (recently published), and an experimental, African-American science-fiction adventure novel, A Senseless Act of Beauty, recently accepted by Blade Publishing.  The key again is what I want to do.  For me, life's too short to march to someone else's drumbeat."

MilSciFi: "What is your favorite story you have ever written and why?"

Rosenman: "When it comes to novels, that would be Dax Rigby, War Correspondent, due out in December 2008 from Lyrical Press.  Now when I say it's my favorite, I'm not saying it's my best.  Beyond Those Distant Stars may be my best; Alien Dreams is my most cosmic; Speaker of the Shakk contains my best and most diverse aliens; and A Senseless Act of Beauty, with stand-alone stories inside the larger narrative framework, is my most ambitious.  But Dax Rigby is my favorite largely because I think I'm very successful in creating a cosmic savior and redeemer, a neo-Christ-like hero who can save billions of lives.  And it doesn't hurt either that there's a lot of great action and some fascinating aliens (at least in my humble opinion).

As for short stories, I've published over 300.  It's hard to pick a favorite, but one close to the top would be “The Blue of Her Hair, The Gold of Her Eyes,” because it embodies the theme of transformation, something I've always been fascinated by. Rachel contracts a terrible, deadly disease that makes her a feared and despised pariah.  She changes and changes, and eventually changes into . . . something quite unexpected."

MilSciFi: "Give us the details on your upcoming author appearances."

Rosenman: I'm scheduled for a two-hour chat on Savannah Chase's Author Corner on December 15, from 7 to 9 pm. That's at I'll be talking about my fiction and perhaps running a contest.

MilSciFi: "What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?"

Rosenman: "Study and Prepare.  Having a background in science and astronomy and military."

history wouldn't be a bad thing.  Study American space exploration.  Also, read the masters and classics of military science fiction.  Go to Borders or Barnes & Noble and buy the large anthology there of classic military science-fiction stories.  If you do all that, you may avoid certain blunders, such as having bombs explode with a big bang in space.  Since space is a vacuum, that just wouldn't happen, no matter how often you see it in movies. 

Think about detail, for that is where the Devil truly resides.  If you have a military warship, what will it be like?  Long and cigar-shaped, or resembling a saucer?  Remember that interstellar distances are vast, so it might take decades or centuries to get to your target, unless you use wormholes, which probably aren't plausible if you write hard, science-based science fiction.  Finally, avoid clichés like the plague – well, just avoid them.  Eschew Warp Drive and don't slip your ships into Hyperspace."

MilSciFi: "What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?"

Rosenman: "Getting military details right.  I didn't serve in the military, so matters of protocol and procedure come to me second-hand.  Again, research helps, as well as reading novels of military science fiction.  In Dax Rigby, two officers have the same rank.  Which one should be in charge?  The answer is the person with more seniority. 

The science-fiction part is difficult too.  One scientific slip or error and the reader will lose confidence.  Above all, military events and actions have to take place within a scientifically realistic universe."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any awards you would like to share with us?"

Rosenman: "My first novel, The Best Laugh Last, won Treacle Press's First Novel Award in 1982. It's mainstream, not genre, and came from my college teaching experience."

MilSciFi: "Do you have a website where our readers can go to find more information about your work?"

Rosenman: "Yes, I do.  Please drop by and check me out.  Leave a message or comment – I'd like to hear from you. My e-mail is in case you'd care to write me directly."

MilSciFi: "Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking for?"

Rosenman: "Ever since my first novel, which is mainstream, my novels have been science fiction. Most have a military component.  My short stories and novelettes are more varied.  Some are science fiction; others are humorous science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy, horror, erotic horror, you name it."

John B. Rosenman's website is:

Beyond Those Distant Stars, is published by Mundania Press:

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Copyright ©2008 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


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