Today with the second day of WARSONG week, we have an interview with WARSONG Range Editor James Wylder. James has had a long history with the property, and has been passionate about bringing the universe to life at Arcbeatle Press. If you're curious about what WARSONG is, he'll be glad to share!
Q: Can you give a bit of background for those unfamiliar with WARSONG?
A: WARSONG is a science fiction setting about a future where humanity has fractured in to three factions: earth has become a corporatocracy, Mars has declared its independence, renamed itself Gongen, and is now a communist government run by an Artificial Intelligence, and people who don’t want to be a part of either of those two powers have become Mavericks–people who live in the lawless reaches of space waking out an independent living. Earth wants Gongen back, the Mavericks want to be left alone, and everybody is starting to get in each other’s business as a complicated situation starts reaching a breaking point…
In the real world, WARSONG is a series of fiction based on the universe that was created by writers like New York Times Bestseller Michael A. Stackpole (Star Wars: X-Wing), Chuck Kallenbach, and Tim Ellington, with art for the series done by folks like John Howe (the Lord of the Rings films) and Kieran Yanner (Magic the Gathering) for the WARS Trading Card Game by Decipher, Inc. back in 2004. The game itself didn’t last long, but the universe, the game, and the stories have had a hold on myself and other devoted fans for nearly two decades now, and I’m beyond excited to be able to bring this universe to a whole new audience of readers.
Q: What can the audience expect from WARSONG: Preludes?
A: Three novellas by some really talented writers, and one short story by a mook–sorry I’ve been told I should be nicer about myself! I mean, one story by another writer some people have called pretty-okay (me). Nathan P. Butler wrote the first novella, and he’d written for Star Wars Tales comics, so he was a great find for this series. The guy is really smart too, he understands history and politics on a deep level that you’ll really get to see play out as his story continues. Sean E. Williams wrote the second one, he’s had a wild career, writing Wonder Woman comics and Fairest. He’s great at character work, and you’ll get some great stuff as the characters in his novella are built up and torn down. Finally, Jim Perry wrote the capstone to it all, which is a legitimately riveting and funny book that’s going to take you on an adventure that I think is fair to call “cinematic” in a good way!
Q: Do you have a favourite scene in the book?
A: Oh how to pick… There’s a reveal in the first novella, Healers and Hunters, that I think first time readers are going to have an absolute ball with and just eat up, and folks familiar with the lore already will be grinning when they realise what’s about to show up.
Q: How did you find the editing process?
A: It was unique. After all, the three novellas had already been released before! They started with Grail Quest Books, who I worked for in the past, but they didn’t manage to finish releasing the series sadly. I’d been part of the series as a proofreader and setting advisor–as well as writing an unreleased novella for it!--so when my old bosses Josh and Kas Radke, offered to let Arcbeatle Press finish releasing the series they’d started for it, I was ecstatic. I’m honored Decipher gave us this chance, and we’ve taken it very seriously. But we had a few things we knew we could improve going in. One of the writers wanted a chance to improve some elements of their novella they weren’t satisfied with, so I did a new editing job on one of the novellas, and added a new epilogue to the book to help lead readers into the next book better. I think this is the best release this book has gotten, and I can’t wait for new readers to see it for the first time, and old readers to see it in its new form.
Q: Does the book connect to the WARS Roleplaying Game?
A: If you’re a fan of the WARS Roleplaying Game you’ll find some of your favorite places and characters from the game in this book, not to mention a lot of valuable lore about the universe you’ll uncover along the way you can use in your games. In making the Battle of Phobos series, when it started at Grail Quest Books, there were a lot of things we had to figure out and expand about the setting to make the series happen. All the writers, and the series first editor Josh Radke, made a lot of wonderful additions, and I think we at Arcbeatle Press are doing our best to add our own!
Q: Could you list a few reasons readers should check out WARSONG?
A: Do you like character driven stories? Adventure? Sci-Fi? Factions maneuvering against each other in the shadows? Giant robots? Jetpacks? Heartbreaking separations? Mad science? Cool spaceships? You might be into WARSONG. Give it a shot!
Q: What can we expect to see in future WARSONG releases?
A: In the next trio of novellas, Stretti, you’ll get to see the ramifications of everything that happened in the Preludes will play out. Things will have consequences, characters will be faced with tough choices, and things are going to get real dramatic in all the best ways.
Not to mention how wild the finale of the Phobos series, Stretti, is going to be…
We also have our continuing serial series Academy 27, which follows kids at a school on Gongen that’s had a surprising amount of success lately and we’re very proud of.
WARSONG has been resting awhile, but there’s a lot in the works and on the way. We can’t wait to show it to you!
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