Jeffrey A. Carver was a 2001 Nebula finalist, and is famed not only as the author of the Star Rigger books and the Chaos Chronicles series, but also for writing the Battlestar Galactica novelization. His latest science fiction novel, Sunborn, has just hit the shelves. He took a break from writing about heady concepts like noncorporeal symbiotes and sentient stars to give Sci Fi Bookshelf a peek into his unique universe.
Sci Fi Bookshelf.com: For those readers who are new to the Chaos Chronicles series, do you think Sunborn is easy to pick up? Or would you recommend starting at the beginning of the series?
Jeffrey A. Carver: I did my best to make Sunborn accessible to readers new to The Chaos Chronicles. That said, it’s always best to start a series at the beginning if you can—especially since the reader is plunged into the middle of an ongoing galactic adventure. For readers new to the series, I put all three of the preceding books, starting with Neptune Crossing, into ebook format for free download from my website. Just visit http://www.starrigger.net/Downloads.htm and download the format of your choice!
SFB: Is it hard to write a series of this complexity and keep it fresh?
JAC: Yah. There was a long delay between books 3 and 4 because I took time out to write Eternity’s End between the two, and that book took a very long time to write. Coming back after six or so years away was hard. Also, I keep trying to set myself new challenges with each new book, and sometimes I find myself wondering, “What have I gotten myself into?” The chaos theme of the series closely mirrors my state of mind at times.
SFB: Are you planning any future Chaos Chronicles books?
JAC: I’m currently working on book 5, The Reefs of Time, which takes up where Sunborn left off. (Note: Sunborn is a complete story, set within the larger framework. It doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but rather with suggestions of what may come next.) My plan is for 6 Chaos books altogether.
SFB: A lot of readers may know you from Battlestar Galactica. Do you feel that writing in the Galactica saga had any impact on the style of your latest work?
JAC: It’s more that writing BSG was a welcome change of pace, and a chance to play in someone else’s playground for a while. It posed different storytelling challenges, and allowed me to take a deep breath, while still writing the book quickly, as the publisher demanded.
SFB: Do you have a favorite Battlestar Galactica character?
JAC: I suppose Starbuck. The web comic Sheldon said it best, when the kid in the comic got a bunch of BSG action figures for Christmas. Each came with a list of 10 reasons why he or she was conflicted and would never find true happiness. Starbuck came with a list of 30. Besides, what’s not to like about Katie Sackoff? Although, now that I think about it… Six is pretty amazing, too. :) Actually, besides the obvious attraction of Six, Tricia Helfer proved herself to be an astoundingly good actor by the end. It’s been fun to watch where the various actors from BSG have wound up since the end of the series.
SFB: But the real question is, did the studio send you any cool BSG toys?
JAC: Well, they sent me a DVD of the miniseries, and production DVDs of Season 1, because they were already well into Season 1 when I wrote the book. No working Vipers, alas. I would have liked one of those.
SFB: Any advice for aspiring science fiction writers today?
JAC: Read a lot, and write a lot. Take a good workshop. See my Advice to Aspiring Writers page at: http://www.starrigger.net/advice.htm — and for that matter, my free online writing course at: http://www.writesf.com . Also, my blog at: http://starrigger.blogspot.com/ is a good place to see what I’m up to.
SFB: Jeff, thank you so much for your time!
JAC: You’re very welcome.