Some war stories emphasize heroism and a higher purpose; others emphasize brutality and disillusionment.
The first kind of story got Dietz, the narrator of Kameron Hurley’s military science fiction novel The Light Brigade (Saga Press, 2019), to enlist in a war against aliens from Mars. The second is the story that emerges from their experience as they learn that truth—and reality itself—are two of the war’s biggest casualties.
On this episode of New Books in Science Fiction, we discuss using a mathematician’s help to map her time-jumping plot, working with a hands-on literary agent, and making ends meet as a writer, among other things. Hurley wrote candidly in a recent blog post about the fact that paying the bills—even for a successful, regularly published, award-winning author like herself—isn’t always easy.
As she explained: “When I was laid off from my last job, we were able to scrape by for about 10 months and then we started having to dig into the credit cards, mainly because health insurance costs more than my mortgage…. I wouldn’t have made it without Patreon. I write a short story month [for subscribers who pay $1 or more a month]. … I felt like a pulp writer. I was like “This is what it must have been like in the day when Robert Howard was like ‘oh crap’ or Ray Bradbury was like, ‘I need to pay the rent, and so I’m going to write a short story.’” … We’re looking at ways we can adapt and create new forms and streams of income because most of us are not going to make it on just the books. You have to find other ways and different ways because the world has changed, the entire market has changed.”
Hurley is the author of 11 books. She has received numerous awards, including two Hugo Awards, a British Science Fiction Award, and a Locus Award.