With Light Of Impossible Stars (paperback, Kindle), writer Gareth L. Powell is completing the sci-fi space opera trilogy Embers Of War that he began two years ago with Embers Of War and continued last year with Fleet Of Knives. In the following email interview, he discusses what inspired and influenced Stars, as well as briefly mentioning the new universe he’s creating.
Photo Credit: © TomShot Photography
For those who haven’t read any of the books, what is the Embers Of War trilogy about, and when and where is it set?
The Embers Of War trilogy is set a couple of hundred years after humanity has spread to the stars. We were rescued from a dying planet by an alien freighter that stumbled on the solar system and sold us the secret of FTL travel. So, it’s not a Star Trek future in which we solved all our problems before heading into space. In this universe, humanity dragged all its baggage with it, including factionalism and war. This results in an epic conflict known as The Archipelago War. The first novel, Embers Of War, is set three years after the end of hostilities and looks at the lasting effects of the war on a small group of characters who are trying to make amends for their small parts in it.
And for people who have read the previous books, what is Light Of Impossible Stars about, and aside from being the final book of three, how else does it connect, both narratively and chronologically, with the second book, Fleet Of Knives?
Light follows on immediately where Fleet left off, with the good ship Trouble Dog and her crew besieged by enemies on all sides. It also introduces a new character, Cordelia Pa, who has an interesting relationship with Hearther technology.
When in the process of writing this series did you decide what Light Of Impossible Stars would be about, and did it end up like your originally planned?
The books were sold to Titan as a trilogy, so I had to provide a rough outline for the second two books up front. Obviously, writing the second book introduced some changes that required some re-plotting of the third. That said, they haven’t changed too much from that initial outline.
Both Embers Of War and Fleet Of Knives were sci-fi space opera stories, but ones that, in the previous interview we did about the former [which you can read here], you said were “more character-driven than you might expect.” Would you say the same about Light Of Impossible Stars?
All three books are definitely about the characters. They might be at the heart of titanic events, but the focus is always on them and their choices.
Are there any writers or specific stories that had a big influence on Light Of Impossible Stars but not on Embers Of War and Fleet Of Knives?
Readers of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series might find aspects of the final battle owe something to his vision of a cosmos caught between Order and Chaos.
As we’ve been discussing, Light Of Impossible Stars is the end of the Embers Of War trilogy. Some writers expand their trilogies with sequels or side stories. Are you thinking of doing the same with Embers Of War?
As far as I’m concerned, the story is done. I dearly love the characters, but their stories have now been told. It’s time to move onto something else.
Cool. Can you tell us what?
I have sold another two books to Titan [who published the Embers trilogy], which I am writing now. They are stand-alone space operas set in the same universe [as each other], and will certainly appeal to Embers Of War fans.
As you probably know, there are some people — present company included — who have been waiting for Light Of Impossible Stars to come out so they can finally read all three books in a row. But do you think this is the best way to experience this story?
I think you can read them any way you like, but you’ll probably get more from them if you read them close together, as it is all one long story.
Now, in the previous interview we did about Embers Of War, you said there were no plans at that time to adapt this trilogy into a movie, TV show, or video game. Is that still the case?
Gotcha. And do you still want Tessa Thompson [Thor: Ragnarok] and either Tilda Swinton [Doctor Strange] or Cate Blanchett [The Lord Of The Rings] to play Captain Sal Konstanz and the Trouble Dog’s avatar, respectfully, in a Battlestar Galactica-esque TV show?
That would be nice.
Finally, if someone enjoys Embers Of War, Fleet Of Knives, and Light Of Impossible Stars, what sci-fi space opera trilogy of someone else’s would you suggest they read next and why that one?