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Author James Chambers

James Chambers

"Killer Eye"

08-29-07: interviews author James Chambers, contributor to the upcoming military science fiction anthology "Breach the Hull".

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

Chambers: "The idea that war so often rises out of a clash of incompatible or competing civilizations where there is too little common ground (or perhaps none at all) upon which to otherwise resolve conflicts. The opposing forces in "Killer Eye" are don't even know one-hundred percent for sure why they're at war. They're acting upon the fundamental principles of their societies, which to some degree wind up misleading them as much as they protect them."

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

Chambers: "Not definitely, but "Killer Eye" ends on a note of irony that I'd like to follow up on some day. Whether or not I write a sequel or another story in the same universe, I'm sure I'll come back to it thematically. But the idea of further exploring this universe and maybe the main character from "Killer Eye" is appealing."

MilSciFi: "What would your ideal project be if you could plan your own anthology?"

Chambers: "I'd like to see an anthology of stories by my favorite authors, writing outside their known territory, stretching themselves, maybe being even a bit experimental, or finally getting around to one of those story ideas they've kept bottled up because no one would ever expect it coming from them. That could be a good read."

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

Chambers: "I have two short stories in anthology of weird war stories called Warfear, which is due out soon from Marietta Publishing. This will be a new edition of the anthology, which was originally published several years ago. And I have a number of stories slated for publication, the details of which have not yet been finalized by the publishers, but I'll announce them on my website as soon as I have them. And I'm continually working on new stories for The Midnight Hour, a supernatural adventure series I do in collaboration with illustrator Jason Whitley."

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

Chambers: "Terrific. Editor Mike McPhail is a pleasure to work with. He clearly put his stamp on the anthology without limiting what I could do in "Killer Eye." His edits helped shore up the military accuracy of my story. Plus he created incredibly cool insignia for each contribution. On the writing end, I had a great time with this piece. It was an idea that provided even richer ground than I'd anticipated when I started writing it, and I loved the challenge of working within the parameters of the military sci-fi genre."

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?"

Chambers: "My dog, a Boston Terrier named Kong. I find him endlessly amusing, entertaining, and creative, but apparently most people find stories about other people's dogs somewhat less than thrilling."

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

Chambers: "They're all my favorite for about a day or two after I finish them. Seriously, it's tough to settle on one. "Picture Man," published in Bare Bone magazine comes to mind, as does "Mooncat Jack," published as a chapbook by Die Monster Die Books, and "The Dead in Their Masses," which appeared in The Dead Walk Again. Those stand out because they work very well thematically and I've gotten some of my strongest reader responses from them. But if I really have to go with one, I'd have to say In Strange Skins, my first novel, which has not yet been published. I think it's the strongest overall story I've ever written. I was able to tackle some difficult ideas and make them work."

MilSciFi: "What are you working on next?"

Chambers: "A cycle of short stories I've been thinking over for several years now, a new novel, and a new Midnight Hour story."

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

Chambers: "I'll be at the Writer's Corner in Doyle, PA on September 29th and Philcon in November, supporting Bad-Ass Faeries and Breach the Hull. Next Spring I'll be a guest at Ravencon and attending the World Horror Con."

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

Chambers: "This is actually my first published piece of military science fiction, so I'll just stick to some general advice that I find to be the most helpful I've ever been given: Write every day!"

MilSciFi: "Who is your single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our own work?"

Chambers: "Picking one is a tough call. I read Dune as a kid, and that cemented my love of science fiction. After that I read a lot of Larry Niven and Frederik Pohl, but over the long haul, I'd have to say Philip K. Dick. Reading Dick forces me to look at my writing in a different light, and it reminds me that good fiction is built on a foundation of exciting or challenging ideas. Dick is lauded today for having been so prescient about our society, and that's something I keep in mind when I'm writing science fiction, the notion of trying to extrapolate where the future will bring us, how it will be different, and how humans will still be much the same."

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

Chambers: "Research, although I enjoy it too much to say it's difficult. But I don't have any personal experience in the military, so I have to do my homework to get it right where things like rank and protocols are concerned. Of course, this being fiction, I also take some liberties."

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

Chambers: "Not at the moment."

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

Chambers: "Yes. It's They can also check out for information about the supernatural adventure series, The Midnight Hour, I write in collaboration with illustrator Jason Whitley."

MilSciFi: "Do you write under any other names?"

Chambers: "None that I'll own up to at this time."

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

Chambers: "I also write horror, non-military science fiction, the occasional crime story, non-genre stories, and (once in a blue moon) DVD reviews for the website"


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Copyright 2007 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


The views contained in this interview are those of the author, and
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