Today I am interviewing Walter Jon Williams, a Nebula-Award winner, and author of the new science-fiction novel, Impersonations: A Story of Praxis.
◊ ◊ ◊
DJ: Hey Walter Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Walter Jon Williams: I view science fiction as a kind of infinite playground in which I can move from one set of equipment to the next, from the slides to the monkey bars to the swings— which is a way of saying that I don’t just write the same sort of book over and over. I’ve written cyberpunk (Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, Angel Station), near-future thrillers (This Is Not a Game, The Rift), classic space opera (Dread Empire’s Fall), “new” space opera (Aristoi), post-cyberpunk epic fantasy new weird (Metropolitan and City on Fire), and of course the world’s only gothic western science fiction police procedural (Days of Atonement).
As you might guess, some of my books escape easy categorization.
I’m also a reasonably prolific writer of short fiction, including contributions to George RR Martin’s Wild Cards project.
I’ve been nominated for numerous literary awards, and for a number of years was science fiction’s “Bull Goose Loser,” the person who had the most award nominations without having actually won anything. But then I won Nebula Awards in 2011 and 2005, and I became Just Another Award-Winning Author.
DJ: What is Impersonations about?
Walter: On one level, it’s a space opera adventure, with alien species, plenty of action, a knotty mystery, and a huge explosive climax.
On another level, it’s an exploration of identity. Sula, my protagonist, is not what she seems, and she’s been putting on a false front for so long that she doesn’t quite know who she is anymore. Others in the story are hiding secrets and inhabiting false identities, and engaged in complex conspiracies that reflect Sula’s own situation, while putting her in peril.
On a third level, it’s about what happens when a young woman confronts the dream she had as a child, and finds it isn’t quite what she thought it was.
DJ: I understand that Impersonations actually takes place in the your Dread Empire’s Fall series. Where does Impersonations take place in that time line, and can readers unfamiliar with your Dread Empire’s Fall series still read Impersonations?
Walter: Firstly, you can read it without knowledge of the other books. I bring any new reader up to date very quickly.
In the Dread Empire timeline, Impersonations takes place after the first three books, following the conclusion of the Naxid War. Continue reading