Welcome to this week’s Superversive Sunday Spotlight. Every week we will chat with a Superversive author that you really should be reading.
This week we welcome Superversive author, Steven G. Johnson:
How long have you been writing?
Which writers inspire you?
Heinlein, E.E. “Doc” Smith, H. Beam Piper, Poul Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Correia, Bradbury … Larry Niven for clarity and big ideas, Warren Murphy for pulpy verve, Grant Morrison for sheer imagination, Kurt Busiek for heart, John Byrne for structure, Peter Nealen for sensory detail and tightly-drawn supporting characters. Len Levinson, Lester Dent and Don Pendleton, for maintaining pulp zeal and energy, year after year after year.
So, what have you written?
The Murphy’s War series, “Operation Vampire” and “Operation Reaper”, with more to come. Two self-published novels, the Arthurian fantasy “Keep of Glass” and the superhero epic “Up in Smoke”. Sundry unpublished novels.
Short stories: “The Doom that Came to Necropolis” in Planetary: Luna.
“Asymptote at Three O’Clock”, about a teacher of magically powered teenagers, in Fantastic Schools Vol. 1 “Breakdown”, a World War One UFO story, in “Nth Degree” magazine.
“Cargo,” about an AI facing courtroom troubles, and “Exodus” about the terrifying nature of the Hubble shift, both in Analog.
What draws you to Superversive writing?
I grew up in the Seventies, a deeply stupid time in which nothing worked, everything was failing, and we expected a nuclear war. I went through my adolescent grimdark phase like everybody else, but my efforts to write in that mode were hapless. Now that I have a family, a career, a savior and a life, I want to share that with others who don’t, yet, like I was. It took me a long time to discover what previous generations already knew, that life is worth the living. I don’t blame anybody else, but the culture didn’t help. In reality, we are the safest, richest, most informed generation that has ever existed. It doesn’t do any good to say, “Appreciate this!” but if you assume the sale and tell stories in which that’s a background assumption, it helps us all to remember it. Everyone needs reinforcement at some point in their lives; we weren’t promised it would be easy. I want to help provide that reinforcement at critical moments.
What are you working on at the minute?
Book 3 in the Murphy’s War series from Chris Kennedy Publishing. This one is called “Operation Zombie” and pits five U.S. divisions against Korial, Demon Prince of the Un-dead, in Middle Hell. The whole series is Lord of the Rings meets Band of Brothers: a WW2 in which the Axis has vampires and demons, but the Allies have Elves, Dwarves and wizardry, and no one thinks it’s any more unusual than tanks and aeroplanes. Every squad’s got a Pulaski, a Greenberg, a Fratelli, a Schmidt, and an O’Brien – why not a Mithrandir?
In parallel, I’m working on “UFOCOM”, a reimagining of the 1970s show “UFO” for the modern audience. I add a little every time inspiration strikes. I’m also plotting the sequel to “Up in Smoke” and the 1950s Cold War sorcery series “War Wizard.”
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I am very close to a book-a-week man, and have read even more than that in the past. When I find an author I like, I tend to run down everything they’ve written. I love Jim Butcher, and not just the Harry Dresden stuff, either. C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brien. Ed McBain, Elmore Leonard, Nick Cole and Jason Anspach. I have enjoyed everything I could find from Tom Kratman, H. Beam Piper, Ray Bradbury, and Poul Anderson, and much of Harry Turtledove. I used to re-read Starship Troopers at least once a year, but now I don’t have to. Want to hear the first page of Starship Troopers from memory?
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My website is hellbustershq.com, named after the Murphy’s War series. I’ve got an Amazon author page at:
Thanks for sharing, Steven. Be sure to check out Steven’s books and be sure to check back next Sunday for our next chat with a Superversive author.