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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Dystopian

Clare Rhoades (of Abnormal, by AJ Mullican)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a genetically-gifted young woman. Unfortunately, her socio-economic background is from lower echelons, marking her as an “abnormal”. She is here to tell us about her world, and about her dangerous struggle for survival against the “Gifted”.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in a poor borough of Heaven’s Light called Undertown. Most of the buildings are older, brick-and-concrete construction, but the roadways are the same electrostatic roads as Uptown Heaven’s Light and other major cities. I went to a public school, but I stayed in the back of the class and tried to keep my head down. The Squads patrol Undertown pretty regularly, so I had to keep a low profile to keep myself out of a camp.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My favorite toy wasn’t really a “toy”—it was my own mind. I remember how Mom would sit down with me and teach me to use my telepathy to search for Squads, to read the minds of the neighbors, to manipulate thoughts. She made a game of it, and her mind was bright and golden and full of love. I really miss her…

What do you do now?

I’m kind of…between jobs. I have a “job” of sorts, but it’s not one I chose, believe me. I’ll get out of it…one of these days. Continue reading “Clare Rhoades (of Abnormal, by AJ Mullican)”

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Oliver Muriel (of Lost Names, by AN Mouse)

Dear readers, joining me on the interview couch tonight is Oliver, ‘captain’ of a mercenary team. He’s here to tell us about his recent escape to Syama, why there are quotes around his title, and what it’s like living with professionals when you aren’t one.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What’s the Ves like? Are all the stories true?

Depends on who’s telling them. Let me put it this way; there was a shootout in my apartment block. On my floor. I managed to get back to my apartment because I had sold the guy some scrap tech I had dug up a few weeks beforehand and he remembered me. The whole country is dirty. The buildings, the streets, the money. I mean, we’re in Syama now, and like, it’s bad but it’s not as bad. The worst part for me is that I don’t speak the language, but I’m learning.

You don’t have anything good to say about it? No cherished memories?

My cherished memory is the day we left. No, I’m kidding. The day I met the team. That’s kind of a weird thought, because I knew Ame and Rosa for years, we just weren’t close. And I guess the day I met Hastin wasn’t a very good day. All the time we spent together, though, for sure. Those are good memories.

What do you do now in Syama?

Well I’m not hauling scrap, that’s for sure. I’m a ‘co-coordinator’, which sounds hilarious when I say it out loud. They call me ‘captain’, and I don’t mind, but it’s a little more flattering than I deserve. I take care of the team. Make sure we have a place to sleep, things to eat, that we have a plan. I’m our first aid guy and our therapist. Hope of getting Hastin to a real doctor is pretty slim, eh, but we’re doing our best. Continue reading “Oliver Muriel (of Lost Names, by AN Mouse)”

Nash Xander Korpes (of The Korpes File by J.I. Rogers)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a master technician, formerly with the Korlune Military Research and Development. He is also the first from the diasporan population to win top prize at the prestigious Symposium.

As Nash’s time is limited, I’ve arranged to meet with him between appointments. He indicated that he is willing to answer questions about his early life and talk about some of  the difficulties he’s faced, career-wise, in a country ruled by xenophobic traditions.


Congratulations to you and your team on your recent Symposium win, Master-Tech Korpes. Do you have a moment to share with my readers?

Certainly, it would be my privilege, Assaph. I’m a big fan of your column.

How does it feel to be the first Diasporan entrant to have won this prestigious competition?

That’s not entirely accurate. My Master-Mech, Davis Trent, is also Diasporan but I think I can speak for both of us by saying it feels great.

Can you give my readers a little history about yourself? Where were you born, for instance?

Born? Just kidding. Yes, contrary to popular opinion I wasn’t hatched in a Rec-Gen lab; I had real parents, though I never met my father. He was killed in our last border skirmish with Ankoresh. My great-grandparents were among the first Tyran refugees settled in Diaspora Twelve after the final exodus. Locals referred to D-Twelve as Astel which means ‘hope’ in Tyr; my mother said it actually translated to ‘awful weather.’

By the time I was seven, my mother had become the Master-Mech in charge of the city’s reactor. She, my grandmother, my sister and I lived in a three-bedroom apartment that had been in our family since the settlement. The city was less than twenty kilometers from the coast, so we were constantly being hit by the storms that blew in from the Northern Hotari Sea; our dome maintenance crews deserved medals for their efforts.

Up until ten years ago, Astel had one of the top producing Tellium mines which employed over half the city’s population. Sadly, like most of our equipment, our air filtration systems were outdated and couldn’t handle the level of dust that was generated. The particulates that escaped created a perpetual amber-hued haze. You had to mask-up when they were swapping the filters out, or you’d run the risk of getting a lung infection. Continue reading “Nash Xander Korpes (of The Korpes File by J.I. Rogers)”

Gabriel Kerr (of Manumission by E.R. Harding)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch is a man objecting to immortality.

In a world where a person’s consciousness can be transferred to another bio-frame, the corporation that controls this is king. He believes, like some, that the Metaform is the greatest threat to humanity in its authentic, natural and biological state.

He is here to tell us of his adventures.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up on part of Errik’s estate that was always called the Camp, or the Church. My Dad was a militant activist and he started the Soul Defence Force when he was quite young. My mum left when I was still a kid, so I don’t remember her, but dad was pretty mean and belted me a lot. I had a lot of mates growing up, and I was quite happy. Of course it was different when I got older. It was a lot less fun, and much harder work.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

I didn’t have toys. I mean, I might have done when I was a baby, but I don’t remember them if I did. Life was all about training, and as soon as I was old enough, I was out on raids with the older lads.

What do you do now?

Life’s good now. I have enhanced intelligence, which means I learn stuff instantly and I never forget anything. I also have a really long projected lifespan, potentially unlimited actually, because when this bio-frame wears out I’ll buy another one. The life of a millionaire playboy could get a bit dull though, maybe. Oh yeah, there’s nothing to complain about now. Not really. Continue reading “Gabriel Kerr (of Manumission by E.R. Harding)”

Jazatar Baldrik, aka Jaz (of Trust A Few by EM Swift-Hook)

Dear readers, tonight we have something slightly different. A notorious criminal was recently released back into The City. After 5 years of brutal convict military service, he has to face up to a future with very limited prospects.

We could not get him to appear on the interview couch as a guest, as we lost track of him amongst the stars. Instead, we were able to replicate here the last pre-release report from the Coalition.


Report of interview with Jazatar Baldrik.

Pre-Release assessment final phase. Interview conducted by Specialist Interrogator Kilven, Coalition Security Forces. Interrogation Room 473.

Subject appeared slightly ill at ease, high levels of adrenaline recorded, several emotional peaks noted, none visible externally. Neurocological reports suggest the degree of honesty and self-revelation the interview required will have been a mid-level trauma for the subject.

So Jaz – You prefer I call you Jaz? Good – You have been serving a sentence with the Special Legion for the last  five years – and that means you must have committed a crime that is considered a capital offense. Can you tell me about that? Oh, and do bear in mind we’ll know if you are lying to us and if you do that could prejudice your chances of release.

Yeah. I know that. I’ve been wired to the Lattice long enough to know how it works. But, your question, what’s to tell? It’ll all be in my record and you lot ripped everything I ever knew about anything out of me when I was arrested. So you know I was part of a terrorist attack on a Coalition installation. If it’d worked it’d have screwed up Coalition control of the Varn Sector, but it didn’t – someone must’ve betrayed us because you lot were there and waiting. And you know what? The fact I had zero previous and a solid record as a merc fighting in your inter-corporate resource wars didn’t even get a mention at my trial. And you’ll also know I never liked those fanatics in the Legacy, I’m not going to have anything more to do with them. I only did it for my brother.

Ah yes, your ‘brother’ – not a biological relationship, but you felt a strong emotional bond for Avilon Revid, the leader of that terrorist strike. Do you still feel the same way?

About Avilon? Well now that’s an interesting question, because he’s not ‘Avilon Revid’ anymore is he? After your brain plumbers got through with him he’s a completely different person. He’s not got the faintest idea about what he was like before, only what he’s been told. So no, I don’t feel the same way – I feel it different. But no matter what he’s become he’s still my brother and I’m not going to let him rot if he gets out of this. Continue reading “Jazatar Baldrik, aka Jaz (of Trust A Few by EM Swift-Hook)”

Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young couple, excited to have been selected for procreation by their city’s all-controlling corporation.

They have started to suspect things when their friends started to fall pregnant naturally. How long has Corporation been lying to them?  Is it really toxic outside the wall?

They are here to tell us about their shocking discoveries.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Kira: Well, we both grew up here, in City 42. My family lived quite near Archive whereas Jed’s were – are – up in the Northern part of the city. The posh part *laughs*.

Jed: Yeah, I mean we sometimes get visitors from City 15 but I’ve never gone out there. Kira and I met at school, we both worked really hard and it was a busy time but we had fun too, right hon?

Kira: We did. I mean school was school, same old same old, but Jed had all the latest tech at his apartment so there was always something to explore. That’s what encouraged your sister to join Corp Tech wasn’t it?

Jed: murmurs agreement

Kira: I mean our childhoods were the same as everyone else’s really, assigned a family at birth, school, friends and then getting funneled into our professions. I had to fight a little for Junior Historian, they wanted me to go into Corp Medical but you were always going to go to Force weren’t you?

Jed: Yeah, I mean it’s good that we all get this standardized education but I think it’s great we can really stretch ourselves when it comes to career. Continue reading “Kira and Jed Jenkins (of The Gaia Effect by Claire Buss)”

Malia Poole (of Shadow of the Hare by Donna Dechen Birdwell)

shadow-of-the-hare-donna-dechen-birdwell

Dear readers, tonight with me is someone we don’t normally see – an author. But don’t worry, she is also the protagonist in her own novel, set in a world where books have ceased to matter and barely exist.

She is here to tell us about how things changed through the 21st century, and how after fifty years of self-imposed exile, she returns to a world far more terrifying than the one she fled. In Dallas, Nigeria, and India she doggedly pursues the truth her heart demands.

 

 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in 2015 and grew up in a world that no longer exists. We were living in Dallas, Texas, which was still part of the United States then, and I was named after one of the daughters of the President. I always believed—and I suppose this is true of most children—that my family and everything we did was normal and natural. We were neither poor nor privileged, or at least we didn’t think we were. Mine was the last generation to grow to adulthood in the world before the youth miracle drug Chulel and before they started sending children to boarding colonies to be raised by professionals.

Wait. If you were born in 2015, how old are you now?

Yes, well, you would want to ask, wouldn’t you? I’m 111. Most people my age still look about 22, but for various reasons, I was never as devoted to Chulel as most people. I took it for maybe 30 years, but then I quit. So, yes, I look old. But not as old as 111 used to look, right? Continue reading “Malia Poole (of Shadow of the Hare by Donna Dechen Birdwell)”

Hannah (of : Booting Up – Virtual Wars Series prequel by Brian Basham)

booting-up-virtual-wars-series-brian-bashamDear readers, you would have heard of the Virtual wars, that arrangement that was supposed to end wars as we know it. When diplomatic relations fail,  the armies of New Pangea fight it out in a virtual reality simulation. The winner gets the spoils, but no one is supposed to die.

Tonight with us is a young girl with a different story. A survivor of the virtual wars, she is here to tell us of her adevntures and narrow escape.

 

 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was in and out of orphanages as a child. Half of them are in buildings nearing collapse. There’s no reason for that. There are plenty of abandoned buildings that aren’t falling apart although much of it is located in areas where plant life have taken over. The Enforcers tried to keep me caged at these dilapidated prisons for children, but no one can cage this ninja!

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My PEL, I guess. Everyone has one, so it’s not anything special. I did learn a lot from hackers on the dark net, but they’ve all since been arrested. They taught me how to hack my PEL device to disable tracking. It’s hard to escape when all the Enforcers have to do is track your PEL. I had to learn that the hard way.

What do you do now?

I’m currently in school studying whatever I feel like would be the most useful of skills to be a spy. That’s what I really want to be. Continue reading “Hannah (of : Booting Up – Virtual Wars Series prequel by Brian Basham)”

Eden Maas (of Aeon Infinitum by E. Rachael Hardcastle)

aeon-infinitum-e-rachael-hardcastle
Dear readers, for those who are blissfully unaware, the Harmony Grid has just been activated. As you know, ever since the large meteor NORA hit Earth and threw it into six months of darkness, the remainder of humanity has been living out on Titan, that purpose-built underground ark. But now that the Harmony Grid is activated people are panicking…

With us is a young lady, who will tell us about her fight for survival as she and her friends crossed a post-apocalyptic world in search of a newer, better sanctuary.

 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in Titan, a dank underground ark built by our ancestors. It sits beneath Ad Infinitum, which is our governor Czar’s name for what was once the Earth. Titan was intended to be a sanctuary to protect future generations from the aftermath of a meteor named NORA. Although Titan is my home, I’ve been in and out of prison my entire life for petty crime, probably spending more time either working or locked up than in my dorm.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My earliest memory is at five years old – that’s fourteen years ago. At least I think I was five. I can’t be sure; I’ve been hit in the head a lot during my imprisonment, you know? The memory is of my mother handing me a small brown teddy bear whose name I forget. For a while that bear was the only friend I had, but we were inseparable.

What do you do now?

Before my imprisonment I worked in Serenity, the back office faction of Titan. I worked alongside a man named Ginny Bede who ran Rehab. We were in partnership with the prison warden to assign orphans and offenders new factions. I helped to rehabilitate and merge them with Titan’s community. Now I’m behind bars and serving a death sentence shortly, I’m out of work. Continue reading “Eden Maas (of Aeon Infinitum by E. Rachael Hardcastle)”

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