Aug 22 2016

Interview with Bob Vardeman

Published by at 4:53 am under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

bob vardeman

Bob Vardeman got his start writing for science fiction fanzines. He was nominated for the 1972 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. He is the author of more than fifty fantasy and science fiction novels. He created the Cenotaph Road series of science fantasy novels; co-wrote the Swords of Raemllyn series (with George W. Proctor) and the The War of Powers series with Victor Milan; and wrote Ruins of Power, a MechWarrior. He is also one of the founders of Bubonicon, a science fiction convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Having graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degrees in physics and a in materials science. Bob Vardeman says he loves the idea of using his education in a story, like “Mach 5,” his contribution to the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles. Ever since he read about Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier (Mach 1) for the first time, Vardeman has been thrilled with the idea of rocket planes. The physics and design of a rocket plane itself fascinates him, and he used some extrapolation as to what might go into a rocket racer for the story.

Recently, Bob Verdeman shared with me his thoughts about writing, and his participation in the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles.

How “Mach 5” different from your other stories?

Being given a title and working out a story to fit it makes this a story entirely different from anything else I have written. A more usual way for me, is writing a story and then changing the title, either from editorial dictate or because something better suggested itself. The Clash of the Titles approach reminded me of the olden days of Astounding SF when John Campbell would give out story ideas and see what his authors came up with. Giving only the title, rather than a story plot opened up a vast universe of possibilities. Nothing is more fun than letting an idea roll around until it goes from vague to actual with the characters taking on lives of their own as the story builds.

What excites you most about the anthology?

Legacy publishing is not known for innovation. Things that have been done for 150 years are still being done, because that’s the way it should be. Ebooks, print on demand, and other alternative ways of publishing open up vistas that will never be explored otherwise. Picking a title, as in Clash of the Titles, then writing the story with editorial shaping along the way is pretty much impossible traditionally. I love new ideas and new ways of delivering entertainment to readers. This approach is new and potentially a real crowd pleaser.

Aside from the anthology, what other projects are you currently working on?

Right now I am finishing off the second book in a weird western trilogy, Punished, to be published by Sundown Press, under my “Jackson Lowry” pen name. The central character is not a likable sort. Life has dumped on him—and maybe it was karmic payback for the evil he has done. A former slave casts a voodoo curse that slowly turns him into a zombie. To lift the curse, the bigot must deal with those he hates most, whether it is a Chinese apothecary, Navajo shaman or voodoo mama loi. Following completion, I will be returning to a near future SF book dealing with alien first contact in a different way. What would aliens really expect or need from Earth? Forthcoming in a couple months is an sf novella, “Jupiter Convergence,” in the anthology Rocket’s Red Glare from Rough Edges Press.

You can visit Bob Vardeman’s website, or his blog. or follow him on Facebook.

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