Today at Bibliognome I'm happy to present an interview with David Colby, author of Debris Dreams.
Bibliognome: How did you come up with the idea for Debris Dreams?
David Colby: I had just finished Mockingjay,
the third novel in The Hunger Games series and I loved it. In fact, I
read the whole series in a single weekend on my iPod Touch, and I was so
excited in my turning of the pages that I almost dropped the iTouch
into the toilet while I was on the bed. This is easier than it sounds,
as I was in a college dorm roughly the size of a closet at the time.
Still, once I had finished the book, I was struck thinking something:
"Why was District 11 still growing wheat?"
is the kind of brain I've been cursed with. But still, it got me
thinking about technology and how technology interacts with and informs a
YA novel. So, I wanted to make a novel where I could throw teens into a
world that isn't just explicable, but has equations behind it. Setting
it in space was easy—thanks to the amazing website Atomic Rockets (http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/index.php), I could do all the math needed to make my setting as realistic as possible.
a story can't just be science. So I took what was on my mind at the
time, while stuck in the aforementioned closet dorm, and wrote a story
about the ups and downs of having a relationship that is primarily
virtual. This was, like so many things I do, primarily motivated by pure
spite: I was in a lot of classes where students would talk about how
the internet was ripping families apart and how people never CONNECTED
anymore. People who pretty much explicitly told me that all the
relationships I had on the internet—friendly and romantic alike—were
basically "not legit."
why DD is about a relationship that is entirely virtual...hell, it's
practically retro-virtual, as it uses primarily emails rather than
instant messenger. I wanted to show the world that love doesn't care if
it is in meatspace or cyberspace.
it gave me a chance to push the Gay Agenda by writing a novel wherein
the only monogamous, stable relationship is the gay one.
Bibliognome: Which character did you think was the easiest to write for and why?
David Colby: Jillian. I went, "Hey, what would I say if I was also an asshole?" Then I wrote that!
Bibliognome: Is Debris Dreams a standalone book or are you going to have more books set in this world?
David Colby: MUAUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
And by that I mean I have a few vague plans, yes.
Bibliognome: What are you writing currently or percolating in your mind to write soon?
David Colby: I have two new books that I'm writing. The first, Aftershocks: 2,000,000 BCE
is about a teenager born two million years in the past, the daughter of
two members of a time-traveling military expedition from 1960s America
to the ancient past. The expedition was sent into the past to recover
alien artifacts (using an alien time machine that was recovered from the
Baltic by a Nazi Submarine in 1943 and then stol...recovered by us in
1945). But when the expedition arrived in the past, they found
themselves facing the guns and tanks of a group of extremely pissed-off
Russians, Japanese and Germans from an alternate universe where the
United States used alien technology to conquer the world. The two forces
battled one another for a few years before finally singing a peace
accord and settling down in the past. The story kicks off when the first
new arrival from the future in ten years shows up: a dead man clutching
a bizarre device called...an iPod. Now, multiple timelines are
converging and the aliens that we "borrowed" a time machine from...might
be a bit cross with us.
The second, Worldshard, has lightsabers! And that's all I'm going to say about it.
Bibliognome: Which character in Debris Dreams is your favorite?
David Colby: Shiva. You should keep your eye on Shiva...there's more than meets the eye there.
Bibliognome: What is your favorite space-related TV show or book?
David Colby: A Deepness in the Sky
by Vernor Vinge. This. Is. The. Best. Book. Ever. Written. Its plot
covers centuries and has almost a dozen main characters, yet retains a
deeply personal and emotional core. It has hard science and an
intricate, well-made future society, but remembers the heart of a story
isn't the ramdrives: It is the man or woman, breaking themselves against
the wheel of history so that humanity might know more than what it has
before. It is about the redemptive power of love, raw destructive
potential of unchecked authoritarianism. It has the single most CHILLING
AND CREEPY mind-screw since the Borg, made all the worse by the
inherent humanity of the monsters at play.
it has a single scene which...when I read this scene for the first
time, way back in high school, I literally ROLLED OUT OF BED and went
"YES! YES!" I fist-pumped for days after that scene. Because Qiwi Lin
Lisolet is a badass.
You'll find out when you read the book.
Bibliognome: What author is a must buy for you/ do you enjoy reading the most?
David Colby: I
always have to buy the latest Ciaphas Cain books. They're written by
Sandy Mitchel, and they're set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. They
are formulaic, yes. But they are still amazing, and I never get tired of
the basic premise: Ciaphas Cain is a Commissar. His singular duty is to
shoot soldiers in the back if they look like they're about to run away
from a fight. He is renowned throughout the galaxy for his heroism and
bravery and selflessness. But, as revealed in the books, he's actually a
self-serving coward who only wants to retire peacefully. But is he
REALLY a coward, or does he just have a pathological self-hatred thing
going on? It's great.
more than that, it's funny, well written, and has some of the
INCREDIBLY FEW gay characters in the WH40K universe. And, amazingly,
they don't die!
Bibliognome: I liked how realistic your writing about space is; did you do a lot of research or just imagine everything?
David Colby: Here's an excerpt from an email between me and my cover artist.
∂Q/∂t = Re * (5.67x10e-8) * Ra * Rt4
800 = Re * (5.67x10e-8) * Ra * Rt4
800=0.6 * (5.67x10e-8) * Ra * Rt4
800=0.6 * (5.67x10e-8) * Ra * 8004
0.0057 Meters Square
So, that comes out to about 0.5 CM square.
I might have added or lost a zero here and there, so round it out to about 1 CM.
read all that math? That was the math to determine the size of the
radiator on the gun barrel on the cover of my book. Which is only
visible if you put your face against the cover and squint REALLY HARD!
Bibliognome: What's the best part of the writing process for you?
David Colby: All of it.
Bibliognome: What word is your favorite to say or write?
David Colby: My
conscious mind says the F-word. It's a fun word to say, very guttural
and harsh. Fake swearing never managed to match the sheer pleasure of
the F-bomb. My subconscious mind says "even as." That phrase pops up
EVERYWHERE in my writing. Hence why, while editing, me and Kate will do a
search and destroy on all the "even as"-es. Good riddance.
Bibliognome: If you had a gnome character, what would you name them?
David Colby: Gloria Fizzbits.
Bibliognome: Anything else that you would like to let people know?
David Colby: The future is far more futuristic than previously anticipated.
1.) spacer or earther?
2.) gravity or no gravity?
3.) laser or rifle?
Laser, those can actually be used as tools
4.) algae or spinach?
5.) pen or pencil?
6.) war or peace?
War is the single most destructive and pointless endeavor known to
humanity. I hold nothing but contempt for the people who start
wars...and nothing but respect for people who fight them. Unless they
commit war crimes. Then screw them. Still, I hope that one day, the only
wars will be in computer games and my books.
Thanks for the questions!