Saturday, August 19, 2017

Author Interview - Matthew Williams

The Cronin Incident by Matthew Williams
Describe your hero, or heroes.

For starters, Elon Musk. His ability to commit to ambitious plans and then make them happen has never ceased to amaze me. Jeff Bezos is another, since he too is a major innovator who is making change happen, especially where it counts (i.e. space exploration!) Last, but definitely not least, there’s Chris Hadfield. There is a man who really has done it all. In addition to being a pilot and the first Canadian to command an ISS mission, he has gone on to become an inspirational speaker and science communicator.

Tell us about your main character.

The main character of my story in Jeremiah Ward. He is a former, disgraced investigator whose struggles with addiction led to the tragic deaths of two witnesses. For his failure, he is now a convict laborer serving out a lengthy sentence on Mercury’s mining colony. He grew up on Mars, in an era characterized by post-scarcity, transhumanism, augmentation, and no limitations. After years of chasing down human traffickers, smugglers and assorted scum, he turned to the designer-drug Glo as a means of escape. What he craves now, however, is a shot at redemption.

What type of setting did you place your story in?

The story takes place in the late 23rd century, where humanity has colonized the Solar System. From Mercury to the Kuiper Belt, settlements exist on every planet, moons, major asteroid, and in rotating cylinders around the Sun’s Lagrange Points. But between the Inner Worlds of Venus, Earth and Mars and the Outer World (the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus), a divide exists. Whereas the Inner Worlds are bastions of development and post-Singularity technology, life in the Outer Worlds is much more rugged and modest. There are those who fear that the line that exists between the “Extros” (highly-advanced people) and “Retros” (traditional people) could someday lead to open conflict.

What inspired your story?

The idea was largely inspired by my writing for Universe Today. After writing extensively about the Solar System, I began to contemplate what life on its various planets, moons and bodies would be like. At the same time, I had been thinking of writing a story about what human colonization efforts would look like, and what kinds of forces would drive it. In the end, I brought these two sources of inspiration together and The Cronian Incident was born!

Is your story a part of a broader work or series?

The novel is part of a planned trilogy which is named the Formist Series. The name refers to the faction in the story (the Formists) who are dedicated to terraforming Mars. As you may imagine, they are at the center of many intrigues in this series.

In four lines, tell us about your story.

Jeremiah Ward was just another convict serving out his sentence on the mining colony of Mercury. But when a member of a high-profile Martian faction goes missing on Saturn’s moon Titan, the disgraced investigator gets an offer he can’t refuse. In exchange for looking into the disappearance of this man, his sentence will be commuted and he will get a second shot at life. But the deeper Ward digs, the more he realizes that this is not just a missing’s person case. What he finds is a conspiracy that was centuries in the making, and a shot at redemption that could end up costing him his life.

More than four lines, sorry. That is the shortest description I could give ;)

Who is your favorite author or book series?

1984, by George Orwell
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Rainbow’s End, by Vernor Vinge
Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond
A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright
Rendezvous with Rama and 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
The Sprawl Trilogy, by Williams Gibson
The Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov
Accelerando and Halting State, by Charles Stross
The Dune series, by Frank Herbert
The Revelation Space series, by Alastair Reynolds

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I am busy working on the sequel to The Cronian Incident. Titled The Jovian Manifesto, this book picks up where the first left off and should be available in the near future!

Matthew Williams
About the Author
Matthew S Williams is a professional writer and former educator who lives on Vancouver Island with his wife and family. His articles have been featured in Universe Today, HeroX, Popular Mechanics, Business Insider, Gizmodo and IO9, with topics ranging from astronomy and Earth sciences to technological innovation and environmental issues.

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