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Author Interview: Linda Nagata

Today I am interviewing Linda Nagata, author of the new SF military novel, The Last Good Man.

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DJ: Hey Linda! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

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

Linda Nagata: Sure! My first published story came out just over thirty years ago in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Since then I’ve published numerous novels and short stories, mostly high-tech science fiction but some fantasy too. My first novel, The Bohr Maker, won the Locus Award for best first novel, a novella, “Goddesses,” won a Nebula, and more recently, my military thriller The Red: First Light was nominated for a Nebula award and named as a Publishers Weekly best book of 2015.

I like writing science fiction because it’s a chance to explore our relationship with technology—both the real-world challenges, and extrapolated possibilities that we might face “if this goes on.”

My books often trend into political issues, and I like to explore not just what I think people ought to do, but what I think they might do, whether I think it’s a good idea or not.

DJ: What is The Last Good Man about?

Linda: Meet True Brighton, a US Army helicopter pilot, now retired and working for Requisite Operations, a small private military company that she helped to found alongside former special operator and long-time friend, Lincoln Han. Like so many in the US Army, True comes from a military family. Both her father and her son served—but her son was brutally killed in the line of duty. True is haunted by his death. When a chance discovery during a hostage rescue mission indicates there is more to his death than she’s been told, she resolves to uncover the truth, regardless of the cost.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Last Good Man?

Linda: Prior to The Last Good Man I wrote the Red trilogy—a series of near-future military thrillers. I learned a lot in the course of writing those books, so it seemed like a good idea to use that knowledge by writing something similar-but-different. The Last Good Man turned out to be quite different. One of the big influences, as the story developed, was the growing impact of autonomous robotics in the defense industry. In the story, the use of autonomous and semi-autonomous weapons is a critical factor in the success of a small PMC like Requisite Operations, exponentially enhancing the power of a small team of soldiers. Continue reading

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