GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Science fiction author Graham Fluster + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Friday, June 10, 2022

Interview: Science fiction author Graham Fluster + giveaway

What can we expect from you in the future?
For books, I’ve already started the sequel to I Guess We’re Heroes, so expect that within the next year or so. For games, I write modules for single-session TTRPGs (up to 6 players) and murder mystery parties (up to 20 players). I’ve written and play tested several modules already, and am currently putting the finishing touches on them before posting. For updates on any of my projects, follow me on Twitter (@GrahamFluster), and you’ll be the first to know when they’re available!

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
The characters in the near-future plotline were based on several archetypes of academics that I noticed in college: those who learn for the intrinsic sake of learning, those who learn so they can improve the lives of others, and those who learn so they can make money. I made sure that each of those motivations was represented by one of the main scientists.

The characters in the distant-future plotline were written in the reverse order: I started with making the world around them, and then thought about what sorts of people would be produced by that environment.

How did you come up with the title of the book?
I’ve always enjoyed the premise of characters who have no business saving the world being roped into saving the world, and the title I Guess We’re Heroes felt like it captured that vibe perfectly.

I Guess We're Heroes
by Graham Fluster
April 26, 2022
Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller
A team of scientists discover intelligent alien life, and start a dangerous race to capitalize on the opportunity. As the decades pass, however, first contact fades from living memory, and is mysteriously absent from any official historical records. For the next five centuries humanity ventures out to the stars, their various political factions leaving no shortage of problems for an enterprising crew to make a living off of. The mercenaries of Specialized Support Contractors were only looking for small jobs befitting their fledgling company, but soon find themselves forced into the limelight when their employer’s ambitions place an ancient alien weapon in their possession. Digging deeper into the origins of their cargo brings even more heat from vested interests who want the truth of humanity’s first contact with alien life to be kept secret. With entire planets caught in the crosshairs of a looming interstellar war, any choice the mercenaries make could have catastrophic consequences.
Alice struggled to pay attention to her work while Jamie swept his camera around the Galactic Exploration Corporation’s brand new scillicite lab. When left to her usual workflow, Alice was completely at home with the supercomputers, experimental sensors, and vast assortment of electronic parts for custom-crafting new tools; with Jamie filming over her shoulder, however, she was keenly aware of every movement and facial expression being immortalized on the memory card. Even when the camera was pointed at Gideon and Ryota, she still felt rigid from the thought that it could turn back to her at any moment.

The obnoxiously cheerful marketing manager normally wouldn’t film projects himself, but Jamie had wanted to be directly involved for the debut of the Scillicite Proximity Detector’s first prototype. Once he had enough footage of them working individually, Jamie backed up for a shot of all three scientists conducting their final safety checks. Finished with his wide shot, he focused in on Alice to start the introduction. “Care to walk me through what you’re doing?”

“Not particularly,” she responded flatly, pushing the camera away from her with one hand as she continued typing on her laptop with the other. “My notes on the SPD are all on the server. Read as much as you like.”

“You won’t get more money from the board of directors without a little showmanship, Dr. Turner; I need you to help me make this project pop!” Jamie said. Before hiring the three physicists, the Galactic Exploration Corporation had been entirely focused on engineering spaceships from known and proven concepts, and Jamie had worked for GEC long enough to know that a showy debut would be necessary to keep the new research wing of the company alive.

“You people in marketing making things ‘pop’ is GEC’s problem,” Alice grumbled. “‘Galactic’ is such a presumptuous title for a company that hasn’t even left the solar system yet. Half of our ships just fly rich tourists in low orbit around Terra, and the ones capable of leaving our planet’s gravity well only go as far as the asteroid belt.”

“You have to walk before you can run,” Jamie said. “Besides, the asteroid mining industry is the first step in exploring past—”

“I’ll handle the introduction,” Gideon said, gesturing for the camera to be turned towards him. Being the son of the company’s CEO, Gideon figured it was his right to be the face of the research team. “I’m Dr. Gideon Wright, and these are my colleagues Dr. Alice Turner and Dr. Ryota Saito. Here we have our latest prototype of the Scillicite Proximity Detector, a device that will greatly reduce the difficulty of locating new sources of scillicite and bring in an obscene profit from selling our surplus to the highest bidder.”

“Money is the least interesting thing here,” Ryota chimed in, turning away from his computer. “If we’re successful, the additional scillicite will accelerate new discoveries that break the laws of physics and improve people’s lives.”

“It’s not ‘breaking’ physics,” Alice said, sufficiently annoyed by Ryota’s oversimplification to end her boycott of Jamie’s camera. “Scillicite allows us to interact with the world like any other tool, but in a much more powerful way. It only looks like it’s ‘breaking’ the rules because we have an incomplete understanding of them.”

“Would you elaborate a little further?” Jamie prompted, happy that he finally had the whole lab involved.

Alice sighed, and continued working on the initialization checks as she spoke. “Imagine you lived on a tropical island with no mountains before the invention of the freezer. Since the temperature never goes below freezing naturally, you never would have seen water turn to ice. As far as you know, water can never be a solid, it’s only ever a liquid or a gas. Then, one of your friends invents a freezer, and you see water become a solid. The freezer hasn’t ‘broken’ the physics of water, it’s simply a tool that gave you access to a different set of rules that you didn’t know existed before.”

“And with those new rules, we can do a lot more than we could with our previous toolkits,” Ryota said, taking over before Alice said something rude to the camera again. “In the three years since asteroid miners first brought scillicite to Terra, multiple labs have independently confirmed its use in many applications, including changing the strength of molecular bonds in a steel plate, causing heat to flow from cold to hot in a copper wire, and here at GEC’s scillicite lab we made a wormhole!”

“What sort of impact would those changes make to the technology we use?” Jamie asked.

“All sorts of things,” Ryota continued. “Stronger steel would allow a crane to lift a heavier payload without bending, keeping wires cold would let a computer operate continuously at full power without worry of frying its circuits, and of course wormholes are the holy grail of travel technology!”

“But those experiments have yet to be engineered into any marketable products,” Gideon said, eager to have the camera back on him. “The change in the strength of the steel plate and the reversed heat flow in the copper were barely measurable, and the wormhole only moved a single atom across a few centimeters of space before collapsing. The real prize is controlling the supply of new scillicite while everyone else scrambles to figure out how to best use it, and that’s exactly what the SPD will capitalize on. GEC’s early dominance in the asteroid mining industry has resulted in us owning 85% of Terra’s stockpile of scillicite, and that number will grow even higher when the SPD boosts the efficiency of our mining ships.” Gideon assumed that GEC would sell most of its surplus to their own government, given that Phevra’s defense budget was far greater than any other nation on Terra, but he decided to leave speculations of GEC joining the military-industrial complex to the executives’ greedy imaginations

About the Author
Graham Fluster’s love of writing began with creating stories for tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, and D20 Future, and has since evolved into the (slightly) less chaotic formats of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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  1. This sounds like a very interesting book.

  2. Sounds so intriguing with lots of danger and excitement.