In Eric Klein’s new hard sci-fi novel The One (paperback, Kindle), B.J. Armstrong wins the lottery and gets a free trip to outer space. Which makes it rather fitting that Klein’s book benefitted from him being a winner as well.
What is The One about?
The One follows the adventures of B.J. Armstrong as he explores several of the colonies in the solar system. A trip he knew nothing about on the morning of the launch. You see, he is given a lottery ticket after finishing a big job, and wins a trip on the maiden voyage. On this trip are a beauty pageant and a space symposium, leading to lots of interesting people for him to meet.
Where did the original idea for The One come from, and how different is the finished novel from that initial concept?
The concept actually came to me in a dream that would not go away. So after having the same dream four or five nights in a row, I typed it up and ended up with almost the first four chapters. The rest took research and proper outlining, so they stayed close to the original concept.
The One is a science fiction story, but is there a subgenre of sci-fi, or maybe combination of them, that you think describes the book better?
This was an easier question that you would think. When I started writing, I was encouraged to enter the Geek And Sundry Hard Science Fiction contest, in which three books would get their science checked out by the National Science Academy team that helps movies. So that kind of pushed me into the hard science fiction category. Though there is a bit of space opera and space exploration in it as well.
Are there any writers or specific stories that had a big influence on The One?
Actually, the list is almost too long to mention. I was writing in the style of the great masters of the 1950s and ’60s, so there is a lot of Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke influences. And references. Kim Stanley Robinson and Spider Robinson also influenced the story a lot. I even have a scene in the ship’s library mentioning some of the various space related authors represented there. Oh, and I have a chapter that is a homage to Shakespeare.
What about non-literary influences; are there any movies, TV shows, or video games that had an influence on The One?
Less so than the literary, but going back to the Shakespeare chapter, this was very influenced by Gene Roddenberry’s references in the original Star Trek.
A lot of sci-fi novels lately are not stand-alone stories, but are instead parts of larger sagas. Is The One the first book in a series or a self-contained story?
Originally, I was doing The One as a stand-alone novel, but I was encouraged by my publisher to leave it open for a sequel. So it can be read as a stand-alone or as part of the series. There’s a teaser part at the end of The One for a second book. This would be a two-book series, with another trilogy taking place later in the same universe. That one I intend to do as if it was serialized before publication the way they were in the 1930s and ’40s.
I am hoping to have second book out in eighteen to twenty months. It’s outlined, I just need to get more written.
Earlier we talked about the movies, TV shows, and video games that had an influence on The One. But has there been any interest in adapting The One into a movie, show, or game?
As part of the contest they asked the top ten authors who should play the main roles. Other than that, no one has inquired about the rights yet.
Personally, I think it would work well as either a movie or a TV show. The bulk of the action happens on the ship, with short stops at various colonies. And everyone is human. So limited special effects other than sets would be needed, and most of those could be filmed on location or in a sound stage.
There’s not enough action for a modern computer game.
So who do you think should play the main roles?
For the two main characters, I was looking for relatively young and tall individuals with some genre experience.
For B.J. Armstrong, I’m thinking Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Jojen Reed in Game Of Thrones. I was thinking an everyman who can become the hero, and Thomas has the makings of a young MacGyver that I was looking for in B.J.
For Fay Englehorn, Elizabeth Olsen. She has her experiences as Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, but she would also look comfortable ballroom dancing in eveningwear.
In Farscape, Ben Browder was able to be the friendly, get along with everyone kind of person who could turn into the dictator that a captain should be in an emergency. He’d be good for Captain Dave Englehorn.
Dolph Lundgren, who was Andrew Scott in Universal Soldier, would be perfect as the villain. Between his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and his physical presence, he is the perfect genius mastermind.
I’d also love to get voice overs from [Star Trek‘s] Nichelle Nichols for main ship A.I., Vena, and [veteran voice actor] Rob Paulsen for B.J.’s wristpad, Brain.
Finally, if someone enjoys The One, what would you suggest they read next and why?
Now that is a hard one, I would refer them back to the classics that inspired me: Doc Smith’s The Lensmen, books three through seven; Heinlein’s teen stories or his collaboration with Spider Robinson, Variable Star; and Spider’s Callahan’s Bar series. There are also four Mars series I would strongly recommend: Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars for the concepts about terraforming and the politics behind it; The Martian Race by Gregory Benford; The Martian by Andy Weir; and the Red Desert series by Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli.