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Jeffrey Lyman

Jeffrey Lyman

"Compartment Alpha"

08-21-07: interviews author Jeffrey Lyman, contributor to the upcoming military science fiction anthology "Breach the Hull".

MilSciFi: “Welcome. What was your inspiration for your story?”

Lyman: “There’s an odd inspiration for this story.  I was reading a book review of a science fiction book where the reviewer complained that though the ship in the book had tremendous virtual technology and the crew was thoroughly linked with their ship, they still needed to press physical buttons and pull physical levers.  This limitation was used by the author to heighten tension during the climax, but other than that seemed to serve no purpose.  So I wondered what would if there was a crew who was so linked with their ship that there were no buttons or levers, and the system crashed.  How would they respond?

I decided to lay out my ship so that I could picture it when writing and so researched nuclear submarines.  Submarines have a limited crew size based on human needs for space (plus food, waste and oxygen processing needs).  As an engineer, I wondered how small you could make a ship if you didn’t need to provide that space or that food, waste and oxygen.  What if the virtually linked crew were all in stasis pods, and they only thought the ship was huge?  The military could stack hundreds of pods in a ship smaller than a current submarine.  Heck, they could stack even more pods if they lopped people’s legs off (I wouldn’t put that past the military engineers).

So now I had disoriented people waking out of stasis during a crisis, with no buttons or levers, no physical space to move around, and no legs.”

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

Lyman: “I’ve written a prequel to this story to explain just how the crew of The Glory got into the mess they’re in, but don’t currently have any plans to write additional stories.”

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

Lyman: “I’m currently working on Book 2 of an apocalyptic urban fantasy trilogy.”

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

Lyman: “A lot of fun.”

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

Lyman: “A linking story between my current Book 1 (“Dwellers in Twilight”) and Book 2 (“The Hedgehog”).  I couldn’t get the plots of the two books to work together (they occur simultaneously in different parts of the world).  So I played a what-if:  What if the hero of book 1 met the hero of book 2 a few years ago and they didn’t recognize the significance of the other?  I accidentally solved a number of my own conundrums and was able to understand my two heroes better.”

MilSciFi: “Do you write under any other names?”

Lyman: “Nope."


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Copyright ©2007 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


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