Author Interview: Christopher Hinz

Today I am interviewing Christopher Hinz, author of the new science-fiction novel, Starship Alchemon. 

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DJ: Hi Christopher! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Christopher Hinz: I’ve written seven novels including “Starship Alchemon.” My first book, “Liege-Killer,” won the Compton Crook award for best first novel and earned a nomination for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. I’ve also done graphic novels and screenplays, co-authored a novelette and scripted comics for DC and Marvel. 

DJ: What is Starship Alchemon about?

Christopher: Explorers aboard a powerful AI vessel sent to investigate an “anomalous biosignature” on a distant planet realize their mission has gone to hell. After numerous freakish and deadly incidents, the crew end up fighting not only for their own survival, but for the fate of all humanity.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Starship Alchemon

Christopher: The novel falls into the “monster on the spaceship” subgenre of SF. Similar works that impacted the story include Ridley Scott’s Alien and A.E. Van Vogt’s “Voyage of the Space Beagle.”

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Christopher: There are extreme differences between the two main characters, Captain Solorzano and the young psychic woman, LeaMarsa. The captain is brave and virtuous whereas the psychic is deeply tormented by her abilities, a true lost soul. A character such as LeaMarsa — not really likeable in the traditional sense — isn’t normally found within the borders of SF. But I wanted to explore the genre’s outer edges.   

DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why? 

Christopher: I like the crewdoc, June. She’s sort of a steadying influence on the others. On the wilder side is the tech officer, Rigel, who draws much of his colorful language from the early spaceflight era.

DJ: What is the world and setting of Starship Alchemon like?

Christopher: The action occurs hundreds of years in the future within the Corporeal, an Earth-based civilization where the balance between democratic institutions and powerful corporations unfortunately has shifted heavily in favor of the latter. Stellar voyaging and emigration to distant planets is the norm, but until the Alchemon’s voyage, there’s been no evidence found of intelligent alien life.  

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Starship Alchemon

Christopher: Always fun to imagine a different universe and then work on the details.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Christopher: No idea. I’ll let readers handle that.

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Starship Alchemon? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Christopher: A number of themes are explored. One in particular is germane to our contemporary world, the fact that corporate oligarchs are slowly but surely assuming control of more and more of the wealth. Here in the U.S., for instance, we now have a regressive tax system. The more you earn, the less in overall taxes you pay. That means the burden of paying for our high-tech society is being increasingly shifted to middle- and lower-income workers. “Starship Alchemon” explores some of the ramifications of continuing such a course.  

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Starship Alchemon that you can share with us?

Christopher: Nothing in the way of a direct quote comes to mind at the moment. I do like to temper my novels with some amusing and ironic situations, however. There’s a scene where a crewmember with genetically enhanced pheromone secretors inadvertently causes the captain to become sexually aroused, right in the midst of a dire crisis. Talk about bad timing!  

DJ: Now that Starship Alchemon is released, what is next for you?

Christopher: Expect to have my next novel published in the fall of 2020. Check my website blog for updates as we get closer.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  




DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Starship Alchemon that we haven’t talked about yet?

Christopher: Although I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “hard SF” writer, I do pay close attention to the latest advancements. “Starship Alchemon” fuses the cutting edge of science and technology with some extreme speculative leaps. The melding of the possible with the (supposedly) impossible produces the strongest and most impactful form of science fiction.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!

Christopher: It was my pleasure. 

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***Starship Alchemon is published by Angry Robot and is available TODAY!!!***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Goodreads

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About the Book:

From the the award-winning author of the cult-80s classic Liege-Killer and The Paratwa Saga, comes Starship Alchemon – a deep-space action opera combined with a threat to all humanity.

Nine explorers aboard a powerful AI vessel, Alchemon, are sent to investigate an “anomalous biosignature” on a distant planet. But they soon realize their mission has gone to hell as deadly freakish incidents threaten their lives. Are these events caused by the tormented psychic mysteriously put aboard at the last minute? Has the crew been targeted by a vengeful corporate psychopath? Are they part of some cruel experiment by the ship’s ruthless owners? Or do their troubles originate with the strange alien lifeform retrieved from the planet? A creature that might possess an intelligence beyond human understanding or may perhaps be the spawn of some terrifying supernatural force… Either way, as their desperation and panic sets in, one thing becomes clear: they’re fighting not only for their own survival, but for the fate of all humanity.

About the Author:

CHRISTOPHER HINZ is an author of science fiction thrillers – novels, comic books, screenplays and more.

Born in 1951 in Reading, PA, USA, his early passion for all things SF led to the writing of his first “novel” in elementary school. A four-page epic, it featured a giant monster brought back from Mars who escapes and climbs the tallest building in Chicago, only to be blasted from that perch with a nuclear cannon. The inevitable fallout, along with other youthful digressions, steered Hinz away from science fiction writing – and Chicago – for many years.

His first mature work, LIEGE-KILLER, was originally published in 1987 by St. Martin’s Press. ANACHRONISMS, ASH OCK and THE PARATWA soon followed. The latter two novels, together with LIEGE-KILLER, form “The Paratwa Saga.”

A subsequent foray into comic books led to a number of publications, including creator-owned GEMINI BLOOD (with artist Tommy Lee Edwards) and DEAD CORPS (with artist Steve Pugh) for DC Comics, and BLADE for Marvel Comics, also with Pugh. An evolution into screenwriting resulted in the sale of BINARY, a script based on LIEGE-KILLER.

SPARTAN X was published in 2012 and BINARY STORM, a prequel novel to “The Paratwa Saga,” in 2016.

In 2019, the novel STARSHIP ALCHEMON, the novelette DUCHAMP VERSUS EINSTEIN (co-written with Etan Ilfeld) and LIEGE-KILLER The Graphic Novel were published.

In addition to other SF projects, he has worked a variety of Earth-based jobs, including picture framer, turret-lathe operator, TV technical director and newspaper staff writer. He has played in rock bands, modeled dioramas and designed and marketed an auto racing board game. He currently creates new tales of interstellar wonder and woe from the semi-seclusion of a wooded realm in Berks County, Pennsylvania...

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