When it comes to mapping out futuristic worlds far beyond the imagination of most people, there are few who apply themselves to the task more creatively than English sci-fi author Stuart Aken. Hard at work on book three of his acclaimed Generation Mars series and with a website boasting in excess of 23 000 loyal followers, Stuart has indeed been kicking some serious intergalactic goals in the world of science fiction publishing across the last few years.
He agreed to speak to me from his secluded bugalow hidden amongst ancient woodlands somewhere near the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England on the condition I not reveal its exact location. Stuart, your secret is safe with me.
I read recently a well known author say the reason they became a writer was so they’d never have to feel alone again. Can you relate in any way to that thought?
Being alone is essential when I’m writing. Luckily, I have my own little study where I can cut myself off from the distractions of the world. But to be alone in life isn’t for me. I started writing fiction at the age of 19, and had a girlfriend then. Now I’m a tad older and my 2nd wife sits in our bedroom on the other side of the wall and delves into family history as I imagine my worlds and translate ideas into tales.
As a writer of science fiction novels how do you respond to the slightly old-school sentiment expressed in this cartoon about the genre?
Those readers who denigrate the genre miss out on some seriously good work. I always respond with the same question – “Have you read ‘Brave New World’, ‘1984’, ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’, or ‘Pincher Martin’?” Most avid readers have read one of these, or at least understand their literary reputations and I explain that all can be considered as science fiction.
If Hollywood came knocking tomorrow and wanted to purchase the film rights to WAR OVER DUST who would be on your wish list to direct the movie based on your book? Let’s imagine for challenge sake Spielberg was unavailable due to filming the sequel to his CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.
If you’re denying me Spielberg, I guess I’ll have to settle for either James Cameron or Ridley Scott.
How ‘bout your choice of A-list actors to play the main characters from WAR OVER DUST of Daisa – Gabriel – Stefan – and Zaphod?
Tell us your opinion of these classic sci-fi films Stuart –
Logan’s Run – Watched and enjoyed this foray into a future fraught with the problems caused by overpopulation. Of course, it was made too early to envisage the inevitable tragedies of climate change.
Saturn 3 – Not seen this one.
Blade Runner – A piece of genius, in the writing, the casting and acting, and the settings. I’d definitely watch this again.
Contact – Not seen this one either. My education in films is sadly lacking!
You’re a commercially published short story writer as well. Could you fill us in regarding the background to the writing of this story from 2011. Would love to hear what the motivation was behind conceiving the maverick and downright convention-busting double comma title.
This is my only free book. I’m a believer in artists actually being paid for their work but the odd ‘taster’ is fine. This was produced as a Christmas gift to my readers. The original Frank Loesser lyrics have been much messed with by singers over the years, but the mood of the song matches the teasing content of the story very well. And the ‘But’? Hopefully the story itself explains the need for that addition to the original first line of the song. The comma is the pause for effect.
Lastly Stuart, would you describe yourself as a late night, early morning or ‘anytime’ writer?
I perform at my best in the early morning, rising bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to pen my first words while the imagination is still in that dream-drenched state before full wakefulness takes over to drench me in reality. Late nights? I can, if I must. But the red wine’s generally taken over by then and I’m maybe a bit too much under the influence. Freedom of thought might just be a little too liberated for many people if I write with no inhibitions!
Ps. In light of the subject of Stuart’s latest novel series, it seems timely to mention this Saturday night SBS Television is premiering the 2nd season of the Ron Howard produced MARS drama series. Set in the year 2033, it tells the story of the imagined attempt to establish a colony on the planet Mars and the human dramas that play out within that setting.
Pss. Wanna see a trailer for the new MARS series? CLICK HERE