December 3, 2012
December brings A Red Sun Also Rises, an inventive planetary adventure. Philip K. Dick Award-winning author Mark Hodder joins us to answer a few questions about the book. And we have more suggestions for holiday giving in Part Two of our Gift Guide.
|Exclusive Q & A with Mark Hodder!|
Rene Sears: One of the many delights of A Red Sun Also Rises is the exuberantly weird worldbuilding once our heroes get to Ptallaya. What was the inspiration behind making the Yatsill mimics on a society-wide basis?
Mark Hodder: The principal protagonist, Aiden Fleischer, begins the story with a very ill-formed sense of self, while his companion, Clarissa, had aspects of her identity forged by a dreadful occurrence in childhood. For Aiden, Ptallaya offers an opportunity for growth; for Clarissa, the means to surpass the limitations that were imposed upon her. I wanted to contrast these personal journeys with the Yatsill, who are like innocent children. Where Aiden fears the consequences of his actions and Clarissa has suffered the consequences of someone else's, the Yatsill have little concept of consequences at all, and by making them mimics, I was able to create an environment for Aiden and Clarissa that was familiar enough for them to comfortably live in, yet also so bizarre and disconcerting that they'd seek security in each other and in their internal worlds, which is where the personal growth occurs.
Rene Sears: The friendship between Aiden Fleischer and Clarissa Stark is one of the driving forces of the book, and Aiden starts the book as a rather unlikely hero. In some ways Clarissa is his complement, and in other ways his foil. Was that an integral part of your story planning, or did they evolve that way as you wrote?
Mark Hodder: I'm fairly scrupulous about getting to know my characters well before I start writing about them. I'm confident that, once they're fully fleshed out in my imagination, they will interact realistically with one another on the written page. So with Aiden and Clarissa, it was very much a case of me allowing them to dictate the course of their friendship while I focused on moving the plot forward. As a writer, it was tremendously fulfilling to see how their relationship grew and changed. None of it was planned. They did it themselves.
Rene Sears: What sword-and-planet/ planetary adventures would you recommend?
Mark Hodder: Sword and planet has been pretty much a dead genre for a long time, mainly because it wasn't evolving (which is why I was attracted to it. A challenge!). Edgar Rice Burroughs provided the template, which is "man transported to an alien world falls in love with a princess, is spurned due to cultural misunderstandings, she is kidnapped by monster-things, he rescues her, she returns his love. The End." So, definitely you have to read Burroughs to get a feel for it, but after that you're faced with what, essentially, is a truckload of pastiches by authors such as Otis Adelbert Kline and Lin Carter. Even Mike Moorcock's "Kane of Old Mars" trilogy didn't break the mould. I remember R. E. Howard's "Almuric" with fondness, and Leigh Brackett's John Eric Stark stories pushed the envelope a little, but if I had to pick out one series to recommend, I'd say Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure tetralogy. You can never go wrong with Jack Vance.
Many thanks to Mark for joining us!
|A Red Sun Also Rises|
An original adventure from the author of the Philip K. Dick Award-winning Burton & Swinburne series!
"[The book] features a pair of uncommon-and uncommonly appealing-protagonists and blends the fantastic with elements of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and H.P. Lovecraft. Hodder once again excels in his ability to blend Victorian steampunk, psychological thriller, and 'sword and planet' fantasy into an intriguing and entertaining adventure."
-Library Journal"Hodder has crafted a loving homage to the 19th-century novel with the barest tweaks for a 21st-century sensibility...[A] fascinating adventure...The pacing is as vintage as the vividly imagined grotesqueries of alien life, but the rewards for acclimating to the style are well worth the effort." -Publishers Weekly
"A Red Sun Also Rises
didn't disappoint: it is, as expected, pleasingly weird, but more importantly, it's also quite good...an incredibly entertaining, fast-paced page turner...This strange, surprising novel combines elements of steampunk and planetary adventure in ways I just hadn't seen done before, and that alone makes it more than worth a look." -Tor.com
"To my great relief, Hodder's A Red Sun Also Rises
met my expectations--and exceeded them...I don't think that I have read anything quite like it. I highly recommend it and give it 5 stars out of 5...It's a must-have for your library."
-GnostalgiaA tale of good and evil, where neither is what it seems!
Aiden Fleischer, a bookish priest, finds himself transported to an alien world. With him is Miss Clarissa Stark, a crippled hunchback of exceptional ability, wronged by an aristocrat and cast out from society.
With a sharp eye for period detail and a rich imagination, Mark Hodder establishes a weirdly twisted version of Victorian London on a convincingly realized alien world, and employs them to tackle a profound psychological and moral question. A Red Sun Also Rises
breaks new ground by combining the sword & planet genre with Victorian steampunk while adding an edgy psychological twist.
|Help With the Holidays|
Need inspiration for your gift giving? Part two of our Holiday Gift Guide
is brimming with ideas. With books from Prometheus Books, Seventh Street Books™, and of course, Pyr, you're sure to find something for the readers on your list, whether their tastes tend to biography or science, thrillers or science fiction.
If you missed part one, it's here
|Later This Month: The further adventures of Doc Holliday!|
"The third novel in Resnick's Weird West series continues to rewrite the history of the Old West in magical style, reinventing famous characters while remaining true to the spirit of the individuals involved. Lovers of the Old West, alternate history, cowboy steampunk, and fantasy in general should flock to this title and to its series predecessors." -Library Journal
"The Weird West Tales series by Mike Resnick has been a fun read and is great for those who perhaps like their Spaghetti Westerns with a dash of science fiction thrown in." -Astro Guyz
"The Doctor and the Rough Rider succeeds as a piece of Weird West fiction, filled to the brim with guns, alcohol, and dusty expeditions on horseback....Anyone looking for an uncomplicated read about adventuring in the American West, with just a touch of fancy tech, will be quite satisfied." -Steampunk Canada
It's August 19, 1884. The consumptive Doc Holliday is preparing to await his end in a sanitarium in Leadville, Colorado, when the medicine man Geronimo enlists him on a mission. The time the great chief has predicted has come, the one white man he's willing to treat with has crossed the Mississippi and is heading to Tombstone--a young man named Theodore Roosevelt. The various tribes know that Geronimo is willing to end the spell that has kept the United States from expanding west of the Mississippi.
So the battle lines are drawn: Roosevelt and Geronimo against the most powerful of the medicine men, a supernatural creature that seemingly nothing can harm; and Holliday against the man with more credited kills than any gunfighter in history. It does not promise to be a tranquil summer.
Interior illustrations by J. Seamas Gallagher!
That's it for this issue. As always, please check out our website
and drop by our blog
Editorial Assistant, Pyr®
an imprint of Prometheus Books