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Martin Schiller
SISTERHOOD OF SUNS: PALLAS ATHENA


13Feb2012: MilSciFi.com interviews Martin Schiller, author of the military science fiction novel, "Sisterhood of Suns: Pallas Athena"

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

Schiller: "Sisterhood" is concept that I have been working on and refining for the past 34 years. Set 1400 years in the future, and 1000 years after the MARS plague killed off all human males. Using advanced genetic engineering and alternative reproductive techniques, 'wominkind' has not only managed to survive, but the United Sisterhood of Suns is thriving. It enjoys the most advanced technology and highest standard of life in the Far Arm.

But the Sisterhood is constantly faced with threats by its warlike neighbors, the Hriss, and its own internal intrigue. And to make matters worse, NeoMen are being integrated into the military.

The first book in a series, "Pallas Athena" centers around the adventures of a veteran starship commander, a thief and rogue psychic, the sinister agent of the State intelligence services, the first NeoMan to be posted with a combat unit, and a young woman who joins the Marines to avenge her shattered colony and fight the Sisterhood's enemies."

MilSciFi: "Is this part of a large series or universe?"

Schiller: "Sisterhood of Suns: Pallas Athena" is definitely part of a series, and is planned to span three books. It is also the introduction to a complete universe, with many spin--off possibilities that are being considered, including a prequel."

MilSciFi: "What inspired you to write this story?"

Schiller: "A dream that I had in 1978. In the dream, which was especially vivid, I saw a group of ships that I would later come to know as the Athena and her sister vessels. I went into the largest of these, and realized that the crew were all women, and commanding them, one of the main characters. Since then, as I have written the series, more scenes have come to me as dreams. As crazy as it might sound, I firmly believe that somewhere in an infinite universe, with infinite possibilities, that the Sisterhood actually exists, and their struggles are taking place. If anything, this belief motivates me to tell their story, and document their sacrifices."

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?"

Schiller: "Story telling and characterization are primary in Sisterhood, and while there is a great deal of 'tech', a concerted effort was made to make the technology 'reader friendly' wherever possible. The details are certainly all there, but presented in the most interesting fashion possible."

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

Schiller: "Absolutely. The first draft of the second book "Sisterhood of Suns: Widows War" is almost complete, and should be finished as of February 2012. The goal is to see it edited and out for publication by the Fall of 2012. A third book, completing the epic, is slated to follow after that."

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

Schiller: "I do, and I definitely do write them. In fact, short stories were the inspiration for me to write books. After writing them for a number of years, I realized that a full book was really nothing more than a collection of short stories, renamed 'chapters' that happen to feature the same characters, and simply continue with their adventures. Armed with this, I wrote my first real book, "The Surgeon's Daughter" (unpublished) and went on from there to author other books.

I think that the primary challenge of a short story is its very length--there is far less time to develop the characters and tell the story, and this makes it a greater task than and entire epic."

MilSciFi: "Since time is of the essence for getting a read up to speed in a short story, do you have a strategy, or preferred method for doing this?"

Schiller: "Jump into the action, weave the 'tech' in as you go, and make certain that no matter what is going on, that your characters are as real as you can make them. Take the time, but get it done fast."

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

Schiller: "Talk to people both in the military and veterans and encourage them to share their experiences. Research everything and when you can 'bounce' it off the service--people you are working with, and remember that despite the era your story is set in, war and the human experience will always be the same. It doesn't matter if we are talking about a Roman legionary in Gaul, or a Starship Trooper on the moons of Jupiter--fighting, losing friends, staying alive (and sane) are all universal to any age."

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

Schiller: "There are actually three, and it wouldn't be fair not to mention them together: Frank Herbert, author of the "Dune" series, Joe Haldeman author of "The Forever War" and Anne McCaffrey and her wonderful "Pern" series. Together, they emphasized the need for a lived--in universe, with real characters and real life experiences. Tech was certainly important in all of their stories, but it always served as a backdrop for the people, and what they went through."

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

Schiller: "Keeping the 'military' in the equation, and making certain that in addition to this, that the work as a whole is also good reading."

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

Schiller: "Yes. I have written other works, mainly adventure novels set in contemporary times and historical pieces centered around the ancient world, as well as new age publications, but my first love is military sci--fi and I plan to stay with that."

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

Schiller: "Yes. The second and third books in the series, "Sisterhood of Suns: Widow's War" and "Sisterhood of Suns: Redemption" A fourth book is also on the table, "Sisterhood of Suns: Daughters of Darkness"."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any upcoming author events?"

Schiller: "Yes I have supplied Norwescon 2012 with copies of the first book for raffle to their guests, and am soliciting BlogTalk radio interviews. There are also several bookstores that I am hoping will host book--signing events. Negotiations are in progress."

MilSciFi: "Thank you for your time."


Martin Schiller at:

Martin Schiller's Sisterhood of Suns: Pallas Athena at Amazon.com

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Copyright 2012 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.