There’s a reason why Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series has been going strong since 2007. And no, it’s not just because they’re fun pulpy, action-packed urban fantasy tales. It’s also because he keeps injecting new perspectives into the mix, be it in such short story anthologies as Monster Hunter Files or the Monster Hunter Memoirs subseries, both of which have other writers playing in Larry’s monster-filled sandbox. The latest of which is Jason Cordova, who’s joining Larry for Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever (hardcover, Kindle), the fourth in the Memoirs subseries, but also a new beginning for it…sort of. I’ll let them explain in the following email interview.
Larry Correia, Jason Cordova
Larry, you explained the idea behind the Monster Hunter series in the interview we did about Monster Hunter Bloodlines, but what is the Monster Hunter Memoirs subseries about, and how does it connect to the main series?
Larry: The Memoirs stories are set in the Monster Hunter International universe but feature other characters and time periods in history, and I co-write them with another author. The first Memoirs series — Grunge, Sinners, Saints — were cowritten by John Ringo, and the narrator was a Hunter named Chad Gardenier talking about his experiences in Seattle and then New Orleans in the 1980s. The success of those opened up the possibilities of me doing other Memoirs in other settings with other authors. The setting really lends itself to a lot of historical stories.
And then what is Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever about, when and where does it take place, and how does it connect to the previous Memoirs book, Saints?
Larry: Fever is set in the 1970s in Los Angeles. The main character on this one is Chloe Mendoza, and she is a wildly different character than Chad.
Jason: Yeah, Chloe is a PUFF-exempt hunter who’s tasked to help start a new team in Los Angeles in the 1970s. She is a nagualii, a hybrid human / monster, and is struggling to contain her monstrous half while fighting a growing evil spreading throughout southern California.
Who came up with the idea for Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever?
Larry: This one was all Jason’s idea, and he pitched it to me.
Jason: Guilty as charged. It was my bonkers idea. I’ve loved the series since a friend of mine told me about Monster Hunter International back in 2008 or ’09. I was in the middle of writing another book back in 2020, and kept having this weird image of a bunch of monster hunters hunting a vampire through a disco hall in the ’70s. The image and idea kept hounding me. It started interfering with what I was currently working on because it wouldn’t let me go. So I spoke with Larry, and he was receptive to the idea.
Is there a reason you set it in Los Angeles in the ’70s as opposed to, say, New York City at the same time? Y’know, where Studio 54 used to be located?
Jason: I know the Los Angeles area well. I grew up there, moved around a lot, and it was easy for me to remember that gritty 1970s and ’80s “vibe” of the town before they started cleaning it up. I still remember how bad skid row was back in the day. New York City was better known, sure, with Studio 54 and Saturday Night Fever, but Los Angeles has that movie star allure to it. Plus, the weather is nicer.
The Monster Hunter novels were pulpy, action-packed urban fantasy tales. Are the Monster Hunter Memoirs novels as well?
Jason: When sorting out the first draft and details, we worked very hard to make certain it had the same feel as the Monster Hunter Memoirs books as a whole. The challenge there is that the first trilogy with John, the main character could be classified as an “unreliable narrator.” I think in the introduction of one of the books, Milo Anderson (one of the characters from the mainline series) speaks about this. Chad is a fascinating character, but we wanted to ensure Chloe was her own person and voice. So while she brings plenty of action sequences to the table, she’s got other issues of her own to work through.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever is obviously not the first published novel for either of you. Are there any writers, or specific stories, that had a big influence on Fever but not on anything else you’ve done, and Larry, in your case, especially not any of the previous Monster Hunter books?
Larry: I can’t think of any stories in particular that influenced me on Fever. It does have some tie-ins with the regular books, especially the antagonist / allies we meet at the end of Bloodlines, as we were able to draw on a bunch of Aztec mythology and monsters.
Jason: Me neither. The mental image of the disco scene wouldn’t leave me alone. Like Larry said, being able to draw upon South American mythology — Aztec, Mayan, and even a little Olmec — was a lot of fun.
How about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or games?
Larry: I was born right around the time Fever takes place, so the adults I grew up around were about the same age as most of the main characters in this. Several of the Hunters are recently returned Vietnam vets, and I grew up around a lot of those guys and tried to draw on the stuff I saw from them. As far as TV influences, believe it or not, Magnum PI. It’s set about 5 years later, but I just love that show.
Jason: The Monster Hunter International Role Playing Game was hugely beneficial for research purposes. As for TV, well, Kolchak: The Night Stalker used to be on reruns every night, and when you only had 3 channels you could watch without a lot of static drowning everything out, certain TV shows stuck with you through the years.
Now, along with Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever, the two of you are also co-editing an upcoming Monster Hunter anthology called Monster Hunter Files 2. Larry, was the first Monster Hunter Files just a collection of Monster Hunter short stories written by other people, or was there a theme to those stories?
Larry: The first Monster Hunter Files didn’t really have a particular theme, as it was just a wide variety of stories from across the Monster Hunter universe, featuring my regular characters and a whole bunch of new original hunters and monsters. It has been wildly successful. Anthologies don’t normally sell as well as regular novels, but first Monster Hunter Files‘ sales have been super consistent, and I’m still paying royalties to the authors all these years later. That’s incredibly abnormal for an anthology.
And is Monster Hunter Files 2 the same, or is it different from the first one?
Larry: It is going to be a similar format. With the Monster Hunter universe being so broad, and it being so easy to take real life historical events and blame them on the secret supernatural, I hate to limit the authors too much. Last time they really surprised me with some of the stuff they came up with. The hardest part for me is telling people no and keeping it all contained to the established canon.
So, who are some of the people who contributed to Monster Hunter Files 2, and do you know yet when that book will be out?
Jason: We’re still working out the details at this time. We don’t have a final list of authors yet.
As if that wasn’t enough, Larry, you also have a fifth Monster Hunter Memoirs novel in the works, co-written with Les Johnson. Without spoiling anything about it, or Fever, is there anything you can tell us about the story?
Larry: Les Johnson is a very accomplished sci-fi author, and his day job is as a NASA scientist. He’s a brilliant guy, and he approached me with a pitch that was unique, original, but also perfectly tied in with all the established Monster Hunter lore about historical conspiracies and secrets. Without spoiling too much, there’s gonna be little green men!
Also, the upcoming Memoirs project with Les Johnson is its own thing, too. It’ll also be about different monster hunters in a different era, but we’re going for a very different vibe on those which I can’t talk about too much yet.
I like doing Memoirs novels co-authored because that guarantees a really different flavor with the narrators to differentiate them from the mainline series. The mainline Monster Hunter International books will be written by me only. Monster Hunter Guardian is in the mainline series and cowritten with Sarah Hoyt, but that was before I really figured out the direction I wanted to take the memoirs as sort of spin offs that still tie into and expand on the original series.
And do you know what that book will be called or when it will be out?
Larry: I do not know that yet. I’m juggling a whole bunch of projects, so the cowritten ones get done based upon when the coauthors get me stuff and I can squeeze it in.
Going back to Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever, while it is part of the Monster Hunter series, and more specifically the Monster Hunter Memoirs subseries, it actually sounds like it’s also a stand-alone story. Or am I wrong about this?
Jason: Well, we sort of set it up to be its own contained trilogy with certain threads tying into the mainline Monster Hunter books, but it really depends on Toni Weisskopf [who runs Baen, the publisher of these books] if there are more Chloe books. A new reader wouldn’t necessarily be lost if they started with Fever, but it would help if they read Monster Hunter International for some character background.
So, is there anything else you think people need to know about Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever?
Larry: I had a ton of fun working on this book, and from the early reviews, readers are loving it. So I’m just really looking forward to it getting out there, and I hope everybody enjoys it.
Jason: This was a fun book to write. There were so many one-liners that I actually started to grow a little concerned that Larry might make me take some out. Instead, he added more. It was amazing.
Finally, if someone enjoys Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever, it will probably prompt them to read all of the other Monster Hunter books, if they haven’t already. But once they’re done, they might want to take a quick break from all the hunting of monsters. So, what pulpy, action-packed urban fantasy novel of someone else’s would you each suggest they check out?
Larry: Check out Forgotten Ruin by Nick Cole and Jason Anspach, which is Army Rangers getting dropped into a fantasy world. That’s a fun one.
Jason: As odd as this is going to sound, I’m not a huge urban fantasy reader. However, I’ll second Forgotten Ruin. Nick and Jason are two of my favorite authors out there.