With her fantasy novel The Harbors Of The Sun (hardcover, paperback, digital), writer Martha Wells concludes both The Books Of Raksura series as well as the duology she started with 2016’s The Edge Of Worlds. But as she revealed in the following interview, The Harbors Of The Sun may ends this series, but it may not be the end of the story.
As you know, I always like to start with the basics. So, basically, what is The Harbors Of The Sun about, and how it fit in, both chronologically and narratively, with both the other books in The Books Of Raksura series and the other book in the Three World duology, The Edge Of Worlds?
The Harbors Of The Sun is a direct sequel to The Edge Of Worlds, and finishes the story that started there. It also finishes off some story lines that have been part of the whole larger series.
The Books Of The Raksura series follows an orphaned shapeshifter named Moon, who finally finds his own people, the Raksura, and has to try to fit into their very complex and alien society. The Raksuran court that he becomes a member of is in the process of collapsing, and has to make its way back to the Reaches, to their ancestral home, to try to survive. This is complicated by the Fell, a rival species of shapeshifter, who feed on other sentient species. The Harbors Of The Sun is the last book in the series, and resolves a lot of the ongoing story lines.
Just so I’m clear, how does the Three World duology fit into The Books Of Raksura series?
The Edge Of Worlds and The Harbors Of The Sun are basically the climax of the series, and the end of the story of Moon and the Indigo Cloud Court.
Given how The Harbors Of The Sun is part of two different connected series, do you need to read any of the other books to enjoy it? Obviously, if you have read them, you’ll get more out of it, and reading them out of order will cause a rift in the space-time continuum, but aside from that, is there a reason I shouldn’t read this one first?
I think if you aren’t going to start with The Cloud Roads and read the earlier books, you should start with The Edge Of Worlds, since The Harbors Of The Sun is a direct sequel to it.
Gotcha. So when did you come up with the idea for this book? Was it while you were writing other books in the Raksura series, as you were finishing The Edge Of Worlds…?
I came up with the idea for it and for The Edge Of Worlds at the same time. I wanted to take the Raksura out of the Reaches for a larger, more expansive story that would explore more of the Three Worlds, plus finish off some story lines concerning the Fell and the history of the Raksura. Plus I just wanted to take these characters on another adventure.
You said earlier that The Edge Of Worlds and The Harbors Of The Sun are the end of the story for Moon and the Indigo Cloud Court. But is this the end of The Books Of Raksura series?
It’s definitely the end for now. I’ve done five books and four novellas, plus a few short stories, about these characters, and it’s just time to finish the story.
I might write more books set in the Three Worlds, but they’ll probably involve different characters and settings. It’s a very fun world to write in, so I’d hate to leave it permanently.
There are a lot of different fantasy sub-genres, and N.K. Jemisin [author of The Fifth Season] even referred to The Edge Of Worlds as having a “new pulp” feel. But what fantasy sub-genre do you think The Harbors Of The Sun fits into and why that?
It’s probably new pulp also, since it’s basically the second half of the story begun in The Edge Of Worlds. There’s a lot of adventure, rescues, encountering strange places, ancient mysteries, and so on.
So do you think there’s any writers or specific novels that were a big influence on The Harbors Of The Sun, but were not an influence on your other work?
I’m not sure that there were. As a writer, I’ve been influenced by Andre Norton, Judith Tarr, Tanith Lee, and many others. I don’t think there was any specific new influence for this book.
And this is my last influence question, I promise. You also published a new science fiction novella, All Systems Red, a few months ago. How, if at all, do you think writing All Systems Red — both that book specifically, and a sci-fi book in general — influenced what you did in The Harbors Of The Sun?
Actually, The Harbors of the Sun was finished before I started All Systems Red. If anything, writing about the issues of trust, and attempting to fit in — or not fitting in — to an unfamiliar culture, and feeling like an alien among a close-knit group of people in The Books Of The Raksura led me to writing All Systems Red.
So has there been any interest in making a movie or TV show out of The Harbors Of The Sun or The Books Of Raksura series?
No, not anything so far. I think a miniseries or movie of The Books Of The Raksura would be awesome. But since none of the characters are human, it would need to be animated or need a lot of CGI. I’ve always had a daydream that maybe the Jim Henson Company would want to make a movie of it, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen.
If someone did want to make a movie out of these books, who would you like to see them cast and why them? Or rather voice them, since they need to be CGI or puppets.
As we mentioned, you recently published a sci-fi novel called All Systems Red. And in a previous interview we did [which you can read here], you said that if someone enjoyed All Systems Red that they should check out The Cloud Roads because it has a “sci-fi-like approach.” So then do you think All Systems Red has a fantasy-like approach? Or that people into your fantasy novels would appreciate it?
It’s got my same sense of humor, so I think they would appreciate that.
Finally, if someone really enjoys The Harbors Of The Sun, what book by someone else would you suggest they check out and why that?
I got to read J.Y. Yang’s two novellas in her new Tensorate series [The Black Tides Of Heaven and The Red Threads Of Fortune], I’d definitely recommend them. And Jessica Reisman’s sci-fi novel Substrate Phantoms, and Nicky Drayden’s The Prey Of Gods. I’m also looking forward to Christopher Brown’s Tropic Of Kansas and Sharon Shinn’s Shattered Warrior graphic novel.