08-29-07: MilSciFi.com 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
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
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
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
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 www.jameschambersonline.com. They can also check
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
Chambers: "None that I'll own up to at this
MilSciFi: "Is military science fiction the
only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking
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