Connect with David Colby on Twitter @therealzoombie or visit his website: http://debrisdreams.candlemarkandgleam.com and blog: http://quantumspinplates.blogspot.com.
Q&A with Author David Colby:
- If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?
It would be cheating to say Trejo – the main character from my unfinished YA utopia, Walkabout. The only problem is all my other characters – Dru, Jillian, 45C, River – are in interesting times. Read: Dangerous. Dru gets shot at for a living, 45C stabs fairies with lightsabers (that is, she has the lightsabers, fairies don’t need lightsabers, they can skeletonize a cow in under four seconds) and River lives in an era without the Internet. Still, of all of them, 45C has the best downtime. She’s a national hero, has wings (wings are awesome) and has a huge club of fans. So, if I were her for 24 hours then the worst I’d have to do is make a speech, say my catch-phrase and pose for pinup tapestries. As for what I’d do…I think I would fly.
And have sex with her love interest.
He has four arms. I once described him to my editor as “A sexy General Grevious.” She didn’t speak to me for like a week!
- If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
Shapeshifting. Now, some people say that teleportation is the best power, but they are wrong. Shapeshifting lets you explore the vast, murky depths of gender. Also, it lets you emulate any power: If you want super-strength then shapeshift to become someoneth super-strength. If you want to teleport, the shapeshift to become a blink dog (I.E, a dog that can teleport). Also, I could become a dragon! Now, you may ask why I want to be a dragon. The answer: Dragons are awesome.
- Can you tell readers a little bit about the science fiction novel, Debris Dreams?
The most common comment I’ve gotten about Debris Dreams has been that people hadn’t known that the main character – Drusilla Xao or Dru for short – was a girl. They had read the voice, read the “having a girlfriend” aspect and immediately thought boy. This does not surprise me. What does bemuse me is that so many people act like I didn’t…mean to do this. I wrote DD to try and show a future where gender and sex are mostly a non-issue. I wanted to show a future where girls are not constrained to being about dresses or being focused on marriage or children – and, frankly, a future where boys are not forced to being “macho” or tough.
Of course, what I want and what is really true are not the same thing. So, it always could be that I just am terrible at writing female characters. But that’s for you guys to judge.
- Behind the scenes, you mentioned a love for Rogue Trader Games. So, curious as I was, I looked it up. I’m detecting a love for science fiction. Am I correct and can we expect more YA science fiction novels in the future?
I need to nerd for a bit. Rogue Trader is easily the least “science” science fiction thing since Star Wars. Starships are five kilometer long flying battle churches, where ancient, barely functioning machinery is operated by superstitious crews that number in the hundreds of thousands. Interstellar travel is made possible by ripping a hole into Hell – literally, a hellish sub-dimension full of soul devouring daemons who spit in the face of physics – and flying through it with the ship’s crew praying frantically that they don’t all die horribly. Starship combat is more similar to the wooden ships and iron men of the 1800s, where massive broadsides of “macrocannons” fill space with shells the size of small apartment blocks.
So…it is both correct and not correct to assume a future of YA science fiction novels. Because while I do love science fiction, I also enjoy the absurd taken to logical conclusions: In Rogue Trader, everything I previously mentioned is internally consistent and makes sense within the context of the universe. I want to write both the hard-nosed realistic books (like Debris Dreams) but I also want to write…the obscenely absurd (yet strangely logical). Stories about clay golems armed with light-sabers and magitech cybernetic prosthesis who battle shapeshifting fairies. About two teenagers – one an anarchist with a handheld nanofabricator and a pistol, the other the representative of a voluntary cybernetic collective consciousness – wandering around a post-apocalyptic utopia in search of as much weirdness as humanly possible. About a magical hermaphrodite with the ability to see human souls as projected metaphors that cloak the everyday bodies of regular people who uses her/his power to solve crimes for the magical FBI. About the temporally displaced teenager from 1968 who spends most of her time bartering weed for spare parts with the time displaced alternate history time traveling Russians from across the valley…in 2,000,000 BCE.
Science may be here. But so will fantasy.
And just a touch of abject lunacy.
- What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?
Rape culture is an abomination that must be battled in every arena (memetic and otherwise). Homosexuality and heterosexuality are not binary options, but rather a shifting continuum. Gender is a construct, one to be explored and celebrated, not categorized and enforced. To love not just yourself, your family, your country and your God(s), but also to love the universe and humanity and the simple fact that we orbit a constantly exploding lump of hydrogen on a ball of mostly rock…and that we, as a species, have learned all of this while clinging to this rock and…
Through some…astounding capacity of intellectual prowess…we have managed to become blasé about this.
And, of course, the final lesson, the most important one: Buy my books! Buy all of my books!