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Excerpt from I, the Provocateur
The waves were crushing against the rocky shore with the two moons of Remania resulting in some of the most savage tides I had ever seen. The rain had stopped and I was sitting on the shore, the damaged skymobile hidden in a small cave nearby. I was in relative safety if you could call a
planetary manhunt after yours truly safety. But in our line of work, terms tend to get a little vague.
Anyhow, I was still free and alive, which was a nice combination. I didn’t know how much time it would take for the all-seeing-everywhere-penetrating police force to find
me on the sole small continent that was about all the dry land there was on Remania with the rest of the planet covered with water.
The horizon was set alight by several active volcanoes that were also the core source of
revenue for the planet. Special mining stations were constructed near the volcanoes and the antique yet reliable equipment made it possible to extract the valuable minerals
during the eruption. There were, naturally, many accidents involving people getting burnt alive or receiving deadly doses of poisonous vapors… not much dissent from the workers though who valued their deadly but relatively highly paid jobs.
How do you tackle a system like this? How do you provoke unrest in a system that has exterminated the very principle of the individual, of dignity and self-expression, of free
enterprise and thought? How do you undermine a system drenched in mutual
suspicion and paranoia, a system in constant search of an enemy, a scapegoat, a victim to sacrifice and devour with no cost too high to preserve the absolute verticality of power?
Those were the questions that were racing through my mind as I watched the waves and the blaze from the volcanoes and the clouds moving in to obscure one of the moons and I slipped into oblivion…and awakened an indeterminate time later and it was dark and… I had an idea. Well, not really an idea but an outline of a notion and it all depended on what I would find in the stolen skymobile.
Fumbling in the glove compartment, I was able to find a small flashlight (the moonlight illuminated the handle proudly proclaiming that it was made at a Northern Remania work camp) and made my way to the trunk. There was a lot of junk inside, including the usual propaganda and porn magazines, some alcohol (to be saved for later) and (bingo!) what I was looking for – an ominous looking black Secret Police uniform. Good things didn’t end there as the size was just right, except for the boots that were a bit too small - I would have to make do with my old, good cowboy boots until a better alternative presented itself.
As I was putting on the uniform of the captain of Remania Secret Police, I was humming to myself. I had to find my way back to Nerayah city before dawn and that was not very
far away. The horizon was already starting to turn crimson and it was like one massive, final eruption finally tore its way out from the pits of hell to swallow the ocean and the continent and the people who dared to usurp this planet and then to usurp each other and there would be peace again…
Q & A with Vardan Partamyan
I do not really think that knowing one or more languages really affects the writing directly (apart from the fact that the multilingual author may not be proficient in one of the languages and have difficulty expressing their ideas or thoughts).
At the same time, every language possesses a certain inner logic and way of thinking. When you know several languages, your worldview is a bit twisted in a way that your language thinking combines elements from several languages, which are also representatives of cultures and civilizations, so that may in some cases result in a unique blend of views and notions (it may also result in a disaster).
Why did you decide to use the first person for this story? Did you consider (or try) using other points of view before deciding on the first person? How much of yourself do you put into your first person narrators?
The decision to use first person for this story was based on the fact that Adrian Temple is the driving force of the story and the entire narrative unravels around his actions.
There are two levels at which the story moves – the external events that are propagated (or should I say provoked?) by Adrian and the internal events that are just as important where we discover the truth about the identity of the protagonist.
How do I go about writing from experience if I do not have much experience in my short time I've spent on this earth already?
Personal experience is just part of the writing process. A lot of the inspiration comes from reading and watching movies and then reading some more. Indeed, the single most important thing a writer just has to do is read.
At the same time, we must not underappreciate our experience. Look at it in perspective - each moment of your life is a valuable experience if you spend it doing something meaningful. Your so-called comparative advantage is the uniqueness of that experience. You have to make the best use of it in the context of the story you want to tell.
This brings it to the last point - never write a word if you do not have a story you want to share. No amount of reading, life experience, tropical fish in your aquarium, unicorns on your lawn can replace the absence of a story worth telling.
Do you have any advice to those who are struggling with describing the 5 senses?
Describing the five (or, if you are a science fiction/fantasy/steamy supernatural romance author, 79) senses is all about understanding the flow of the story and the impressions that are affecting the characters. It is all about being there with your characters and your story – if you accomplish that, you will see how simple and natural it will be to describe the smells and the sights and sounds of the world you have built for them. My advice would be not to disregard any of the senses in terms of creating a truly immersive atmosphere. At the same time, do not get carried away with smelling, seeing and hearing everything all the time...prioritize, feel and move with the story.
What are your favorite sci-fi novels?
It is very hard to single out just one science fiction novel that I would call my favorite. However, I am going to go right ahead and do it -- The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester -- for the simple reason that it blew my mind... the raw energy and passion and twisted humanity (humanity nevertheless) of the piece is outstanding, along with the badass anti-hero who goes through endless transformations taking the reader along on the ride into the dark abyss of his mind and space.
Another ingredient that is crucial in any work and in science fiction novel in particular is its ability to surprise the reader without resorting to cheap gimmicks. This novel manages to do that and then some... delivering a third act that held me by the neck and did not let me go until I read the words The End and let out a sigh of relief and then wanted to go right back to the beginning and read it again.