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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Sci-Fi

Coppélia (of The Girl With Acrylic Eyes, by Greg Krojac)

Dear readers, tonight with me is an android from the early 22nd century.

She is here to tell us about life in the future, about the place of android in human society – from various assistants to sex-bots. She is currently evaluating her purpose in life, and what makes her different from both humans and other androids.


You have an unusual name, Coppélia. Do you know why you were given that name?

I’m named after a character in the ballet Coppélia, a life-size and lifelike mechanical doll. I suppose that’s how some people might describe me, since I’m an android.

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

I didn’t grow up. From what my human friends have told me, I think I would like to have had a childhood, but I was constructed in a laboratory. I don’t think humans would like to grow up in such an environment – there were no toys and nobody to be friends with, just assembly equipment and technicians.

Do you want to be human?

Not really. Why should I? I’m far more durable than any human and my physical abilities outweigh those of humans. My needs are fewer than those of humans – I don’t need oxygen as I don’t breathe, and I don’t need food or water as I draw my power from solar energy. Physically, humans are weaker than I am. I can’t see any advantage in trading in my nano-coated silicon carbide fibre reinforced composite body for an organic one.

What do you do now?

I’ve had lots of jobs. I’ve done everything from working in a bar, to an assistant nurse in a hospital. I’ve worked as a travel guide in foreign countries. I’ve taught in schools and have worked as a sales representative. Basically, I’ve worked anywhere that allows me to interact with humans. My most recent job was as a sexbot. However, I said ‘no’ and ran away. That’s how I met my friend Karen. Continue reading “Coppélia (of The Girl With Acrylic Eyes, by Greg Krojac)”

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Elisheva Miller (of Songs of Earth, by Eugene W. Cundiff)

Dear readers, tonight with me is young woman, a Teller’s apprentice, from the lost colony on Luna.

When the vast and ancient machines that bring rains to the Dust of Luna fail, she – together with a band of fellow travelers – must face a long journey into the forsaken ruins of the Mongers’ abandoned cities, seeking a way to ensure a happy ending for her people.

She is here to tell us about life in the distant future.


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

I was born to New Harlan Camp, one of the five largest Camps. Life was hard, of course, but no harder than it is for anyone born to the Dust. Daddy worked the mines, Mama was the Camp’s senior Yarb-Wife, and my brother,  Enoch, was busy with his apprenticeship to the Engineers’ Union.  I  helped Mama most days, treating sickness and such, until I  neared my seventeenth harvest. That’s  when Jonah came calling and took me on as his apprentice. Reckon I didn’t have too much time for anything but my studies, after that.

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

When I had seen one score and ten harvests, Jonah took me to the Grand Hall. It was the first time I had ever left New Harlan, and I still remember the wonders of it. It was where the Tellers were founded, where the Council of Picard had been held. There were books -so many books! – and carved records, and even great memory-machines scavenged from the cities of the Mongers. That was the day I was given my Teller’s coat and my guitar, the first things I had ever really touched that had been from the Paradise of our Ancestors. I spent two whole harvests there, learning the Ancestor’s tongue, the Old Calendar, and so many other things besides. It was amazing, to have my horizons broadened so far.

What do you do now?

I am the apprentice to Jonah Teller, the Teller of New Harlan. My lessons are mostly complete, though.  Most of my time is spent teaching the youngins of the Camp, helping them learn what they’ll need to know before they join a Union. Continue reading “Elisheva Miller (of Songs of Earth, by Eugene W. Cundiff)”

Victoria of Ourtown, aka Vic the Blade (of A Wizard’s Forge, by A.M. Justice)

Dear readers, tonight we are republishing an article from the premiere newspaper in Latha, on the fantasy planet Knownearth.

After Vic, a former scholar turned soldier, nearly killed her erstwhile captor, the newspaper issued a scathing article condemning her actions.

The newspaper has followed this up with an interview with Vic, to hear her side of the story. We publish this second interview in full. Read on to learn of Vic’s adventures, and what drove her from being a shy scholar to become a warrior and pick up the fight against Relm.


Last week, this paper published the news that Captain Victoria of Ourtown—aka Vic the Blade—had tried and failed to assassinate Lornk Korng, the Lord of Relm. The Monarchy and Prime Minister’s office have protested that the Heralds’ coverage of the incident was biased. As members of the Lathan free press, we stand by our story, but invited the Blade to tell her side. Much to our surprise, she granted an interview, published here in full.

Let’s start with some background. You grew up on the northern steppes. What was it like there?

It was nothing at all like Latha. Before I arrived here, I’d never seen a tree, much less a forest as big and dense as the Kiareinoll. The steppes could be beautiful, especially in spring when the snow shrank into the ground and the sun bathed the purple hills in golden light. But it was bleeding cold all the time, and in winter we had no more than an hour of sunlight a day. And the wind was endless. You’d think I’d have felt claustrophobic in the Kiareinoll, but somehow I’ve always felt more at home surrounded by trees than I ever did on the steppes.

What sort of things did you do as a child? Any special toys or games?

These aren’t the sort of questions I expected. You really want to know about my childhood? Continue reading “Victoria of Ourtown, aka Vic the Blade (of A Wizard’s Forge, by A.M. Justice)”

Bobby Rogers (of Anki Legacies by S. Shane Thomas)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man born in space, and one of the first colonisers of an alien world.

He’s here to tell us about ancient conspiracies, about stone-age and space age, about archaeology and cryptozoology.


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

My family was from Earth. My great grandpa Rob ran a conspiracy theory blog, it’s still archived at http://www.larc-scifi.com/LettersAboutRealConspiracies.html. The family lived in New England right up until the League of Atlantis Reborn Colonies launched its first colonial starship, the LARC1. I was born in space on the way to the planet Nibiru. I still live in the old colony now that it’s grounded on the planet.

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

I had a set of little plastic Colonial Security Force figures. My mom even made me a CSF costume for Halloween. I wore it until it fell apart! It’s no wonder I grew up to join the force.

What do you do now?

Now that we’ve discovered the shugarra and the CSF adopted the ancient transforming battle cloaks, I spend my days flying, diving, and tunneling Nibiru’s unknown regions searching for renegade Nefilim. Continue reading “Bobby Rogers (of Anki Legacies by S. Shane Thomas)”

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)”

Nikki Sotolongo (of Cherry Pickers by Bonnie Milani)

Dear readers, with me tonight is a young woman from the planet Sisyphus. As you may recall, Sisyphus is a particularly inhospitable world, and is home to a woman-only penal colony.

At seventeen years of age Nikki is obsessed about getting her gun to impress her mother, the director of the penal colony. For this she needs to be an adult, which – in her opinion – requires losing her virginity. The only way to do this is to lure and kidnap a man from a passing space ship, to ‘pick her cherry’, as it were.

She is here to tell us of her adventures, together with her adopted native brother.


Tell us about how you grew up.

If you ask Mah – that’s my mom – she’ll tell you I’m still not grown up.  And I’m seventeen already!  I mean, I earned my gun!  Hard way, too, not like some other girls I could name.

Okay, but do tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like in the colony?

You mean SisPenOne?  It’s a penal colony.  Same as every other penal colony in the Commonwealth, I guess.  Well, except it’s all women.  And Mah says Sisyphus got its name ‘cause the whole planet really is out to get you.  But never bothered me… well, ‘cept for that time the toilet vacuum failed and a nosher got through and nipped out a chunk’a my butt.  Got a really great scar from it.  Wanna see?  (She turns, loosening her pants)

No, no, that’s all right, we’ll take your word for it. Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Toys?  Oh, those fakey things you give little kids.  Dolls and stuff, yeah?  Saw some of those things in those social studies vids Mah made Sam and me study.  Never needed any myself.  Sam and me – Continue reading “Nikki Sotolongo (of Cherry Pickers by Bonnie Milani)”

Superior Mother (of Women of the Grey: Starburst, by Carol James Marshall)

Dear readers, tonight with me is the chilling leader of an alien race.

She is the Superior Mother, leader of the secretive Women of the Grey. They live amongst us, unknown to humanity.

She is here with her assistant, to answer a few questions.


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

“It is understood among my kind that we do not question our leaders. Answers, my sweet, are earned. I hardly believe you have bothered to earn such information from me.”

With this Superior Mother sits back. There is a sense of cold in the air, almost like the first hint of autumn.

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

Superior Mother learns in, seeming displeased.

“If I had known you were to ask my questions of such insolence I would have prepared myself to be entertained. Our kind does not play. We plan, we build, we watch, and when humans are busy with these toys you speak of, we strike. I do not understand how humans have thrived for so long, with concepts like toys.”

Superior Mother sits back, slowly shaking her head with the occasional tap of a ring on her index finger to the table. Continue reading “Superior Mother (of Women of the Grey: Starburst, by Carol James Marshall)”

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