FanLit Asks: Why are you kicking yourself?

Instead of asking one author several questions, we’ve asked several authors just one question. fantasy book review Jesse Bullington The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart audioPlease leave a comment or suggest a question for us to ask in the future. We’ll choose one commenter to win a copy of Jesse Bullington’s The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart on audio CDs (or, if you’ve got bad taste, something else from our stacks).

Question: Which speculative fiction character created by another author are you kicking yourself for not dreaming up first?

Rachel Aaron: I’m going to have to go with Killashandra from Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer books. Rachel Aaron The Legend of Eli Monpress 1. The Spirit Thief 2. The Spirit Rebellion 3. The Spirit EaterThe whole series was pretty cheesy 80s sci fantasy (especially the final 2 books), but I LOVED IT, mostly because Killashandra was ambitious, powerful, clever, and completely unapologetic about being so awesome, even when she got herself into major trouble. She was a savvy business lady who got the hot guys by force of personality. Three books wasn’t nearly enough Killa, and if I ran the world, I would grab the series from McCaffrey and run with it.

Jesse Bullington: Most recently, she’s the nameless (as far as my sieve-like brain recalls) narrator from J.M. McDermott’s brilliant trilogy-opener Never Knew Another. Gail Carriger The Parasol Protectorate 1. Soulless 2. Changeless 3. Blameless 4. HeartlessMcDermott gives her a great, unique voice that perfectly captures both the feel of the world and the intricacies of the character; there’s poetry and brutality in equal measure, but both seem organically hers instead of existing to simply make her McDermott’s mouthpiece. She’s devout in her faith, being a priestess, which makes for an interesting, compromised narration — McDermott’s very grey world and cast of characters are all seen through the black-and-white filter of the true believer. Also, she wears a wolfskin hood, which is worth ten thousand cool points, and is a shapeshifter, which tacks on another ten Gs, at least — I’ve rarely come across such a smartly rendered psychology of a liminal character, sure, but also: wolfskin hood. Yes.fantasy book review Seanan McGuire October Daye 1. Rosemary and Rue 2. A Local Habitation 3. An Artificial Night 4. Late Eclipses

Gail Carriger: Terry Pratchett’s The Luggage. The Luggage doesn’t say much, and he doesn’t appear often, oh but when he does, he always steals the scene and readers know hilarity will ensue. Described as part portmanteau part homicidal maniac, always grumpy, sometimes lovelorn, The Luggage may be the greatest comedy character since Marvin the Paranoid Android. One wonders what would happen if the two ever met.

Seanan McGuire: If I could change the world so I’d created one character created by someone else, it would be the revolutionary Goldilocks from Bill Willingham’s fantastic Fables. Heavily-armed, seriously twisted, and more than a little bit insane… what’s not to love?L.E. Modesitt Jr The Magic of Recluce Special 20th Anniversary Edition

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: Because my characters are so closely tied to my worlds, I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten the feeling that I wished I’d come up with another character first, but I will say that I’m really in awe of the world/characters that Roger Zelazny created in Creatures of Light and Darkness.

Thanks to these authors for sharing their secrets with us! One random commenter gets the Bullington audiobook.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Sabrina /

    Good question and interesting answers :) Never Knew Another just got bumped up a couple slots on my reading list I think.

    Questiosn I would like asked are:
    What world created by another author do you wish you could write in?
    What series by another author do you wish you could take over and/or change? and how so?

  2. I always look forward to FanLit Asks. It’s always interesting.

  3. Good article. My question:

    What one science fiction or fantasy trope would you like to see removed from the public consciousness?

  4. I’ve only read a little bit of Fables, but what I’ve seen is awesome. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. No kidding, Gail! Pratchett and Adams both seem to have lots of characters that provide some sort of innocuous (?) but vital function.

    If I were to answer, I might have to go with China’s Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin. A fat, bluntly spoken scientist on the outs of the academic community battling sentient intelligence and trans-dimensional nightmare moths? Give me a break, that’s impossible to top.

  6. Good stuff… Nice to know what the creative folks think too.

  7. I would have to agree with Rachel. I really liked McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer books when I read them years ago.

    I’m always interested to know if authors ever have an idea in their head for a WIP, but have to scrap it when a book with a very similar premise is released? Or do they continue with it, but tweak it into something else?

  8. Rachel Aaron just sold a book based on that answer. I absolutely loved the Crystal Singer books. Running off to find The Spirit Thief

  9. Sabrina, if you live in the USA, you win Jesse Bullington’s The Sad Tales of the Brothers Grossbart on audio (or a different book of your choice from our stacks). Please contact me (Kat) with your choice and US address.


  1. Fantasy Liturature asks, Which speculative fiction character created by another author are you kicking yourself for not dreaming up first? at Night Shade Books - [...] organically hers instead of existing to simply make her McDermott’s mouthpiece.” Read the full article at Fantasy Literature. Never…

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