With A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy (paperback, Kindle), writer Alex White is continuing The Scavengers series they began last year with A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe. In the following email interview, they discuss the origins of this space fantasy story, how it connects to the first, and their plans for the third.
Photo Credit: Kyle Cassidy
First off, for people who haven’t read A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe, what is the Salvagers series about and when does it take place?
It’s a space fantasy, full of mysteries, explosions, and lesbian romance. The Salvagers follows two women, Boots Elsworth and Nilah Brio, who are a washed-up treasure hunter and a race car driver, respectively. When both get tangled up in the legend of the Harrow, a missing warship, they find themselves forced together on the run from a killer known only as “Mother.” They end up on the Capricious, a small vessel run by Boots’ old defense force captain, who has now turned smuggler. The rest of the book is them shooting and investigating their way to untold glory.
And then what is A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxyabout, and how does it connect to A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe, both narratively and chronologically?
A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy picks up one year after A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe leaves off. The crew of the Capricious are victorious, celebrated throughout the galaxy for their valiant actions. However, Nilah and the others aren’t finished with the conspirators from the first book. They’ve uncovered evidence of a massive financial syndicate, and they want to take it apart. At the same time, a dark cult rises in the corners of the Link (Space Internet), calling the crew crisis actors and gaining momentum for their creepy conspiracies. In order to stop both, they’ll have to go way down the rabbit hole.
When in the process of writing these books did you figure out what A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy would be about, and how did that idea evolve as you were writing it?
I deliberately left room for the series to continue at the end of the first book, on the off chance that it was picked up for a multi-book deal, but I wasn’t sure what the shape of the series would be until I was asked to nail it down. A bunch of time spent staring at my monitor later, I had the bones of a decent series.
As you said earlier, A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy is a space fantasy. But are there are other genres at work in the book as well?
It’s definitely a space fantasy, though there are elements of heist, horror, pulp action and more. It’s basically a smorgasbord of your favorite SFF/fantasy ingredients.
Are there any writers, or specific stories, that were a big influence on A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy but not on A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe?
I certainly cribbed a bit from the Capital folk in The Hunger Games when writing the sections that take place in the Masquerade, a sprawling space station of hidden identities and debauchery.
How about non-literary influences, such as movies, TV shows, or video games; did any of them have a big impact on A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy?
For the aforementioned heist, I watched a lot of heist movies, including Soderbergh’s Oceans series. It’s funny, I tend to read dour books and watch exciting movies and try to combine the two.
In the previous interview we did about A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe [which you can read here] you said that you were inspired to write a space opera because you were listening to Seven Lions’ album Worlds Apart on repeat, and that music is begging for space battles. So, did you ever hear from him about it?
You know, I never did, that jerk. (Call me, Seven Lions. I’m desperate to hang out.)
You also said A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe was the first book in a three-book series, but that you were hoping to write more after the initial trilogy was complete. Is that still the case?
Oh, that’s still the case. I’ve got some more stories in me. Now, if we only end up with three, I can still promise you a great story arc with a satisfying ending. But if we get more books, I’ll turn the whole story upside-down.
The third and final book of this initial trilogy is called The Worst Of All Possible Worlds. Do you know when that book will be out?
Likely August of next year. I’m so amped!
Me too. Anyway, going back to our earlier interview, in it, I asked if there had been any interest in making a movie, TV show, or video game out of A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe, and you said, “Let’s just say it’s making the rounds in Hollywood, and has some pretty big-name parties reading it.” Are they still reading it, or have plans been set in motion?
Those processes take forever, so my lips are sealed.
Understood. And finally, if someone has enjoyed A Big Ship At The Edge Of The Universe and A Bad Deal For The Whole Galaxy, what space fantasy novel would you suggest they check out while waiting for The Worst Of All Possible Worlds? Oh, and Alistair Reynolds’ Revenger doesn’t count; you said that last time.
I’m currently reading Megan O’Keefe’s Velocity Weapon, which is knocking my socks off. I just started, but the style is exactly what the doctor ordered. It’s not space fantasy, per se, but if you like my writing, you’ll probably like O’Keefe’s.