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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the protagonists of your favourite books

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Post Apocalyptic

Ryhalt Galharrow (of Blackwing by Ed McDonald)

Dear readers, tonight we print a magazine interview from the world of Valengrad, where the reporter managed to track down a Captain of the shadowy Blackwings – Ryhalt Galharrow.

All we’ll say, is that we’re glad we weren’t sitting in the interviewer chair this time.


I meet Galharrow on a red-sky day in Valengrad, me on a last-minute effort to grab an interview before heading back to the capital, Galharrow on a rare break from work. He’s been hard to find, harder still to pin down. Slightly glazed, he says that he didn’t have to come far from the office, but he looks like he’s been up most of the night. As I sip at coffee that has been brewing for at least the best part of a day, I can’t imagine an organization with Blackwing’s authority and reputation having an office in this part of the city, or why he’d choose to meet in The Bell. It’s not the worst alehouse that I’ve wandered into, but it’s not far off. Galharrow, to my disappointment looks like he fits in, shirt untucked and stained. He still cuts a daunting figure. He’s six-six, at least three hundred pounds and all of it the kind of weight that doubtless puts fear into the deserters he chases down. I ask if he’d like to share my pot of coffee, but the girl at the bar is already bringing him a bottle of brandy. He holds off questions until he has a drink in hand, by which time the clock is chiming ten. In the morning. The brandy goes down, his hand stops shaking quite so much, and for the first time there’s light in his eyes and a smile on his lips.

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

RG: If you don’t know the story, then I’m not going to go into it in detail and it’s better left that way for everyone. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it was a good place, in a lot of ways. My family had money. A lot of money. I didn’t want for anything. I was always encouraged, which I guess passes for love in some families. There were a lot of expectations. I’m not sure that I ever lived up to any of them.

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

RG: Toys were frowned upon, as a rule. I had the usual things that boys my age get given when they’re expected to serve on the Range as an officer. Practice swords, horses, strategy games. There were a lot of lessons, but I didn’t dislike them. I enjoyed learning, and I was competitive. I had an older brother, and he was always going to inherit the estate, so I tried to better him in other ways.

I don’t find it healthy to hold onto memories and call them good or bad. The days were what they were. Most of them are better left buried.

Me: Can you tell the people back in the capital a little of what you do as a Blackwing captain?

RG: If people are fortunate, they never need to see, or know what Blackwing does, but there are a lot of unfortunates out here on the Range. Not every soldier is good, and not every man is a man. Blackwing is tasked with rooting out the sympathizers that side with the enemy, military deserters, the Cult of the Deep, the Brides that corrupt men’s minds, that kind of thing. If it doesn’t belong here, it’s the captain’s job to find it and neutralize it. Continue reading “Ryhalt Galharrow (of Blackwing by Ed McDonald)”

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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)

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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)”

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

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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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