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Dark Expanse: Surviving The Collapse

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MilSciFi.com interviews author Deborah Walker, contributor to the anthology Dark Expanse: Surviving The Collapse

Deborah Walker
DARK EXPANSE:
SURVIVING THE COLLAPSE

They Cannot Scare Me
With Their Empty Places


10-28-2014: MilSciFi.com interviews Deborah Walker, contributor to the anthology Dark Expanse: Surviving The Collapse, author of the short story They Cannot Scare Me With Their Empty Places.

MilSciFi: Welcome. Please tell us a little something about your story.

Walker: Following the departure of the galactic overlords the Zyxlar, the Silicate desert world of Charmed Rock descends into chaos. When the Thoknar Protectorate steps in, Lat (always one to obey the Elders' commands) is the first to join this paramilitary crime organization. Lat is the kind of solider who gets through by shouting agreement to his sergeant's commands. But he's uneasy about collecting protection money from the impoverished citizens of Horde City. Being a kind-hearted type of guy, he begins to use his own money instead. Alas, as one reviewer so aptly put it, Lat is not an academic thinker, and he soon gets caught and receives a punishment exile killing tracking and killing the dangerous scorpials in the bad lands. But in the empty spaces, Lat has time to do some thinking. When a sandstorm drives him into the presence of an old enemy, Lat finds that the world is a more complicated place than he'd realized.

MilSciFi: Since this was a shared universe project, just how much freedom did you have in your story concept and/or character development?

Walker: The Dark Expanse is a galaxy, so and there's a lot of room to tell many stories. As I was involved at the beginning of the project, I also had the opportunity to do the initial world building. I worked on the Saurian culture and world building. Nancy Fulda did some excellent work on the Chitters. There are certain racial traits that are prevalent, but just like Terrans, the races that inhabit the Dark Expanse don't all think alike, and there's often a good story to be told about the oddball.

MilSciFi: What inspired you to write this story?

Walker: A story comes together as I noodle about with it, different elements coalesce. I chanced across Robert Frost's poem 'Desert Places', the last verse is:

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces

Between stars--on stars where no human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.

Which gave me the title and is also mentioned in the story. I'd also been researching Favelas in Brazil at that time, and wanted to write a story about impoverished people. I also wanted to use an unreliable narrator main character. In Lat's case, someone who knew he was 'dumb' and didn't always understand what was going on in the world. But there's more than one type of intelligence in the galaxy.

Also I wanted giant, mirror-shelled, scorpion-inspired, alien creatures.

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?

Walker: In this story science is secondary to the characterization and cultural world building. But I've published around a hundred fifty original short stories, so it depends. My stories published in the science journal Nature will explore a central scientific idea, but all my stories are about people, whether they happen to human or not.

MilSciFi: Do you have plans to expand upon, or write other works based on this short story?

Walker: Well, I hadn't until you just mentioned it. Now I want to. There's more to Lat's story, I'm sure.

MilSciFi: Most authors we encounter write novellas/novels, do you write short stories, and if so do you find it a challenge?

Walker: They're apples and pears, difficult to compare, despite their seeming similarity. I do write both. I like them both for different reasons.

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

Walker: I write all types of science fiction fantasy and horror, at any and all lengths. Also poetry.  I love anything speculative, always have done. I sometimes slip a bit of crime into my stories, and occasionally a literary story slips thought, that's a mistake, honest g'vnor.

MilSciFi: Do you have any other projects in the works?

Walker: Yes! 'As Good As Bad Can Get' a space opera, set in the Dark Expanse will be published early 2015. 

 MilSciFi: Thank you, for your time.
 


Deborah Walker's blog:
 
http://deborahwalkersbibliography.blogspot.com/


 

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Solicited by Author / MilSciFi.com with no compensation.

 

Copyright 2014 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved

 

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