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Author Topic: Ask Jeff VanderMeer  (Read 34257 times)

Corporal Hicks
Dec 16, 2008, 09:02:44 AM
Topic on: Dec 16, 2008, 09:02:44 AM
I'd like you all to welcome Jeff VanderMeer. He recently authored the latest fan-hit novel, Predator South Sea China. And well, he's kindly offered to come here and answer your questions regarding the novel, any of his other novels and any future works.

So you know the drill. This thread'll work just like any of the others. Be pleasant and respectful and etc. Jeff is taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to you.

So...ask away.


JeffVanderMeer
Dec 16, 2008, 02:38:02 PM
Reply #1 on: Dec 16, 2008, 02:38:02 PM
Oh, don't bother being respectful and polite. Fire away!
Jeff


War Wager
Dec 16, 2008, 02:42:38 PM
Reply #2 on: Dec 16, 2008, 02:42:38 PM
Hi Jeff,

I must say I'm very impressed with 'South China Sea'. Not only did you give as good human characters to follow, you gave us an interesting Predator and gave it a personality of it's own. It was a fantastic read. At the moment I have two questions:

What part/s of the story were the most difficult to write?

Reading back on it, is there anything you wish you had included or are you totally happy with the finished product?


JeffVanderMeer
Dec 16, 2008, 03:14:24 PM
Reply #3 on: Dec 16, 2008, 03:14:24 PM
Hey, thanks!

I think the hardest thing to do was to get in enough info about the characters so hopefully you'd care about them, without slowing things down too much. That's why you learn stuff later in the novel about some of them, because I didn't feel I could slow down too much before that.

I also had some trouble with the temple night battle scene. It's not very long in the final version, but it still feels too long to me. If I had something to do over, I might refigure that scene. The main problem being--I don't see Gustat or Horia being stupid enough go over to the temple and take on the Predator there. I think in a standard action movie, they'd all go there. But I wanted as much as possible to write a novel where most of the people in it try to act as smart as possible and still mostly come to grief.

I always think in Predator or Aliens books or movies you're doing the fans a disservice if you don't show them something about the Predator or Alien they might not have known before. So I would've liked to get in more stuff like the fact that the Predator uses the 'dreds for balance and kind of like a cat's whiskers. More views of the Predator fighting on other worlds, that kind of thing. But, then, again, you want to keep the story moving.

I noticed some readers had some problems with the alien virus/bacteria that winds up affecting Nikolai so drastically, so I might've messed around with that a bit more. I just liked the idea of the Predator being a sloppy carnivore and bringing in an invasive species from his last kill.

I loved Pol Pot the croc so much I had to resist making him a main character. But I think that was the right decision.


War Wager
Dec 17, 2008, 01:13:00 AM
Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 2008, 01:13:00 AM
Thanks for the reply, the croc was pretty cool I must admit.

I'm aware that you have an idea for an 'Aliens' novel. I would like to know which 'Alien' movie is your favourite and how you would personally protray The Alien. Eg the creepy gliding wraith from 'Alien' or the screaming space bug from 'Aliens'.

« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2008, 01:14:59 AM by War Wager »

Space Disc Jockey
Dec 17, 2008, 11:28:55 AM
Reply #5 on: Dec 17, 2008, 11:28:55 AM
Hi Jeff,

I just bought the book a couple of days ago and plan on reading it very soon. It sounds really sweet. Thanks for joining the forums.

I have a few questions that I want to ask you:

1. What do you think of the idea of female Predators? If there are female Predators, do you think they should hunt, just like the males?

2. Do you like the idea of a Terminator vs. Predator story? Im surprised DH has never made one in comic or novel form.

3. Do you have an idea for an Aliens vs. Predator story?

4. Would you like to see a Predator or Aliens vs. Predator story take place in Feudal Japan?

5. Should the Space Jockey appear in the Aliens vs. Predator universe?

Thanks.


felix
Dec 17, 2008, 11:51:29 AM
Reply #6 on: Dec 17, 2008, 11:51:29 AM
Hi Jeff,

My name is Felix. A fan from Singapore. I just like to say South China Sea is one of the best Predator novels I've read so far.

I have a few questions.

1) What exactly was the deal with Nikolai? He seems to be infected with some sort of Alien virus and even though he was cut down by the Predator. You hinted at the back that Nikolai is still alive in some way.

2) What did you think of AVP: Requiem? Personally I though the first AVP was a complete disaster.

« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2008, 11:53:55 AM by felix »

JeffVanderMeer
Dec 17, 2008, 10:17:41 PM
Reply #7 on: Dec 17, 2008, 10:17:41 PM
Hey. It's been a long day--sorry I didn't come back here right away.

Re this: "I'm aware that you have an idea for an 'Aliens' novel. I would like to know which 'Alien' movie is your favourite and how you would personally protray The Alien. Eg the creepy gliding wraith from 'Alien' or the screaming space bug from 'Aliens'."

I think the creepy wraith, because it seems more intelligent. I'm all for the most intelligent Alien possible. My idea involves a deep space Generation ship gone off the grid, something that crashed into it a hundred years before the present, and a whole bunch of stuff I can't mention. :)

Jeff


JeffVanderMeer
Dec 17, 2008, 10:20:25 PM
Reply #8 on: Dec 17, 2008, 10:20:25 PM
Okay, more questions to answer...

1. What do you think of the idea of female Predators? If there are female Predators, do you think they should hunt, just like the males?
>>>I'm fine with the idea. I thought of mine as a male, but who knows? I'd think they'd probably be pretty much the same as the males.

2. Do you like the idea of a Terminator vs. Predator story? Im surprised DH has never made one in comic or novel form.
>>>I'm not sure about that. Pred vs. Alien is about as much as I can handle. Terminator vs. Predator would probably make my head explode.

3. Do you have an idea for an Aliens vs. Predator story?
>>>I really don't. I tend to like the franchises separate, but I did like the first AvP movie. Thought the second one sucked.

4. Would you like to see a Predator or Aliens vs. Predator story take place in Feudal Japan?
>>>I can see the dynamic of that being very interesting from a technology and an honor point of view.

5. Should the Space Jockey appear in the Aliens vs. Predator universe?
>>>Sure. Why not? ...What's a Space Jockey?


JeffVanderMeer
Dec 17, 2008, 10:22:51 PM
Reply #9 on: Dec 17, 2008, 10:22:51 PM
Hey, Felix:

Those who haven't read the book...this post is gonna have spoilers...

Here're your answers.

1) What exactly was the deal with Nikolai? He seems to be infected with some sort of Alien virus and even though he was cut down by the Predator. You hinted at the back that Nikolai is still alive in some way.
>>>Yeah, an alien virus that wouldn't let him die, kept him on as a zombie or host. That was the intent anyway.

2) What did you think of AVP: Requiem? Personally I though the first AVP was a complete disaster.
>>>Compared to the second AVP, the first was a freakin' work of Orson Welles genius. At least it had an exotic location and some interesting situations. The second one should've been titled AVP: Dark Darkness in Dark Colorado Sewers...Did I Mention It's Dark and You Can't See Anything?



JeffVanderMeer
Dec 17, 2008, 10:42:34 PM
Reply #11 on: Dec 17, 2008, 10:42:34 PM
Ah--didn't know he/it was called that. That's one of the coolest things about the Alien movie and that would definitely be part of my novel if it's allowable by Dark Horse. (This is assuming they ask me to do an Aliens novel.)


Xenomrph
Dec 18, 2008, 03:32:39 AM
Reply #12 on: Dec 18, 2008, 03:32:39 AM
Ah--didn't know he/it was called that. That's one of the coolest things about the Alien movie and that would definitely be part of my novel if it's allowable by Dark Horse. (This is assuming they ask me to do an Aliens novel.)
And for trivia's sake, there's a skull of one onboard the Predator ship at the beginning of the second AvP movie.
"Space Jockey" is sort of the name they were given by H.R. Giger and Ridley Scott when they were making 'Alien', but in other sources like novels and comics they're called different things like "Ancients", "Pilots", "Elephant Men", and in the more recent 'Aliens: Original Sin' novel they got a species name (Mala'kak, if I remember right).


felix
Dec 18, 2008, 10:56:00 AM
Reply #13 on: Dec 18, 2008, 10:56:00 AM
I agree about the lighting in AVP: Requiem being stupidly dark. The cookie-cutter Dawsons Creek townfolk didn't help as well.

There was one plus though...at least we got to see the Predator: Homeworld in AVP:R.

One last question

1) Jeff, do the Predators have scientists? Did they create their own weapon tech or steal it from someone else. Whats the official line over at Dark Horse?


War Wager
Dec 18, 2008, 11:48:38 AM
Reply #14 on: Dec 18, 2008, 11:48:38 AM
Quote
I think the creepy wraith, because it seems more intelligent. I'm all for the most intelligent Alien possible.

Great to hear.


 

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