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DTFIII By Other Means reviews

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In An Iron Cage


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Jeff Young

Jeff Young

: interviews author Jeff Young, contributor to the anthology, By Other Means, book three in the Defending The Future series.

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

Young: "That's a good story.  I was at Balticon and going to a panel that I really had high hopes for called 'Megastructures'.  Well, let's just say as panels sometimes go, its more about who's on the panel than what they are supposed to be discussing.  I did happen to catch something that James Daniel Ross said concerning large-scale troop ships.  He made the comment that it was probably impossible to keep them clean and that they might become breeding grounds for diseases.  On the whole the rest of the panel was somewhat less than satisfactory.  As we were leaving, my friend Eric asked, 'Did you get anything out of all of that?'  I remember saying, 'Yeah, an idea for a story' Readers therefore might recognize the "tuckerism" of the troop ship's name, The Ross."

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

Young: " 'Blankets' is currently self-contained."

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

Young: "No immediate ones, as I did very limited world building for it.  If a good idea strikes me, it would be hard to say no."

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

Young: "First of all, thank you to Mr. McPhail for letting me design my own icon.  Cards have always gone along with soldiers wherever they go.  They use up no battery power and you can play games with little to no noise.  The ace of spades should be familiar as the death card.  The seven and the tree represent the remaining rebel frontier worlds, referred to as the Sylvan Seven.  The motto represents the choice that the soldiers made upon enlistment, to see their mission through to its end."

MilSciFi: "How did you become involved with the By Other Means project?"

Young: "I've known Dani and Mike for almost ten years now and when they were up for a signing after the aforementioned Balticon, I happened to let drop that I had an idea for a story.  Mike heard me out and told me that I had to write it and I had a year before he would need it for consideration for By Other Means.  So with a deadline and an opportunity like that, how could I say no?"

MilSciFi: "What tips would you give an aspiring military science fiction author?"

Young: "If you don't have the experience, ask and ask the right people.  Do the research and be as true to the realism of the moment as you can."

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

Young: "That's a tough question, because I don't have the experience and I had to have someone check over my work to see if it made sense.  So without the experience, I had no choice but to make it up.  Now also I am writing about fictional weaponry, other fictional technologies, and a fictional setting so it is all fake, but I tried to make it as realistic as possible.  If you have respect for the military, then you will want to make things as accurate as possible."

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

Young: "This is my first themed anthology contribution.  Since then I have done two others.  I have some magazine publishing credits, but I really do like the idea of writing for an anthology because it gives you a goal to focus on rather than sending something out that you hope is close to what a magazine or market is after."

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

Young: "Absolutely.  I already have an idea what I would like to submit for the fifth volume and just need to edit it and a reader or two check it over.  Unlike the organized troops of the Federate, this time it's mercenaries."

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

Young: "There's another Dark Quest book on the horizon called In An Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk, which will contain my story, 'Drinking Down Death'.  Hopefully, the follow up story 'Ambergris on Ice' which is slated for Clockwork Chaos will see print some time in the future.  I am also the editor for the Drunken Comic Book Monkeys and their book, The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys in Science Fictiony Tales of Science, may be out as early as late July.  They were kind enough to offer to include my short story 'Primordial Monkeys' as well as make me the antagonist of the book--well, sort of kind."

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

Young: "Balticon is coming up at the end of this month, and I look forward to going to my local Con for the first time as a participating author.  I hope to be able to also go to Confluence and make some other day trips to other cons if time allows."

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

Young: " and thanks for asking all of the above, cheers."

MilSciFi: "Thank you for your time."

Jeff Young's website is:

Watch The Skies Reading Group:

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