Today I am interviewing Peter Cawdron, author of the new science-fiction novel, Retrograde.
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DJ: Hey Peter! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Peter: Thank you for having me. I’m an Australian scifi writer specializing in hard science fiction, although I detest the term “hard.”
There’s nothing hard about good science fiction, rather it simply adheres to reality as closely as possible. For me, that makes it more plausible.
A lot of science fiction boarders on fantasy, with “science” being rather loose. As an example, in one of the new Star Trek movies, Kirk (on Kronos a dozen light years away) calls Scotty (in a bar on Earth) to ask him an engineering question. In reality, faster-than-light communication isn’t possible. Rather than giving Kirk a phone-a-friend lifeline, I would have had him lament his inability to call Scotty for answers, and science his way out of trouble. Not only would that make the story more plausible, it would make it more interesting. So for me, hard science fiction provides plenty of natural challenges to be overcome.
DJ: What is Retrograde about?
Peter: Have you ever watched a science fiction film and seen the characters do something dumb, like take their helmets off on an alien world (only to become infected by something)? Yeah, well, if it’s obvious to us that’s stupid, can you really imaging a scientist or astronaut being that clueless? Me neither. So RETROGRADE asks the question, what would shake the most highly trained, and experience explorers in all of history? If they were prepared for every eventuality on Mars, what’s the one thing that might shake them? What’s something they could never prepare for? For me, the answer was, a disaster on Earth.
RETROGRADE explores how scientists and engineers would deal with war breaking out between their countries back on Earth, examining where their loyalties lie. Continue reading