Today’s Friday Five focus is Jes Sanders, author of sci-fi short stories, novellas, and novels,
Jes had an amazing teacher in 6th Grade: Mr. Giglio (pronounced ‘Jillio’), Mt. Helix Elementary, San Diego. He introduced him to War of the Worlds, The White Mountains, and Taran Wanderer, and inspired him to write. Then life happened. Some decades and a family later, he finds himself in a completely unrelated career. But, as his favorite author, Colum McCann says, “Come song, anyway.” He has stories in him that want to get out, and he is enjoying discovering all this endeavor has to offer.
His latest work, The Last Jubali, is an epic sci-fi tale. World War II has just ended, but it was merely a means to a greater attack.
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1. If you could pick just one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
If left on an island, I would probably take Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle with me. This book has it all: Great writing, social commentary, science fiction, cynicism, hope, family tension, weird religion. It’s just great!
2. Where do your inspiration and ideas for your stories come from?
For The Last Jubali, the inspiration came from two places. The first seed of the idea was a simple question: What if folklore and folk magic, that every culture has grown up with, was held to be absolutely real – and science was held in great suspicion? What if folk magic was regulated? What if science was either laughed at or persecuted?
The second seed of The Last Jubali came from a mental connection that I made between Dark Matter and Einstein’s Unified Field Theory. What if the link between electromagnetism and gravity could never be solved because there was a fifth force missing form the equation? What if this fifth force resided in a universe next to ours, and dark matter is simple the shadow of this force on our universe? And if somebody, a “psyentist,” were to master this force, they could control gravity as well as electromagnetism.
3. What do you want your tombstone to say?
My tombstone should read, “Well, that was embarrassing.”
4. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? How do you deal with this?
I really struggle with romantic dialogue. I only have a few characters who are in love. One friend told me that my dialogue read like a romance novel. Ouch! But I am learning how to have my characters speak more naturally.
5. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that you think they need to know?
Every now and then, science fiction can rise above genre writing. Genre is a wonderful, beautiful thing. But, yes, even sci-fi can sometimes expand our understanding of the human condition, or contribute to the artistic landscape. I think of A Canticle for Liebowitz, for example. I don’t claim at all to be at this level, but it’s what I aspire to.
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The Last Jubali is currently available through Amazon.