Marina J. Lostetter lives with the subsequent geek, as well as two capricious house cats. She enjoys globe-trotting, board games, and all things art related. Marina’s numerous original short stories have appeared in venues such as Lightspeed, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, and Uncanny Magazine, while her sci-fi novels, including NOUMENON and NOUMENON INFINITY, are available from Harper Voyager. She has also written tie-in materials for the Aliens and Star Citizen franchises. Marina tweets as @MarinaLostetter and her website can be found at http://www.lostetter.net.
Dr. Xander Lostetter earned his doctorate in microelectronics-photonics engineering from the University of Arkansas in 2003. He subsequently took his research commercial, building a tech company that developed state-of-the-art power electronics solutions for military and defense programs, spacecraft, satellites, renewable energy, and electric vehicles. Dr. Lostetter has been awarded over two dozen patents, is the author of more than one hundred engineering publications, and has been the recipient of three international R&D 100 Awards for top technology breakthroughs. He currently lives in Arkansas with his wife, Marina, where the two love strategy games, arguing Kirk vs. Picard, and spending their time engaging in all things geeky.
Their story, “Tap, Tap, Tapping in the Deep”, appears in the Weird World War III anthology.
Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?
Xander: I’m from a tiny blue-green rock orbiting your average yellow dwarf star at a distance of approximately 8 1/2 light minutes. On that tiny rock, I live in Fayetteville Arkansas in the United States. I have a doctorate degree in microelectronics engineering, but can often be found secretly building Legos by moonlight.
Marina: I live with that weirdo. I write sci-fi and fantasy full time.
What authors have had the greatest influence on your writing? Why?
Xander: Terry Pratchett, because well, he’s pure genius. Philip K. Dick for his mind blowing philosophy. Stephen King is the ultimate in the study of character psychology. And Tim O’Brien has the uncanny ability to get to the core of very dark but real human experiences.
Marina: Tolkien made me fall in love with SFF, Tanith Lee and Madeleine L’Engle made me want to become a writer, and Dan Simmons made me fall in love with space-opera–the formatting of his novel, Hyperion, had a huge influence on my own space-opera series, Noumenon.
Besides yourself, which other contemporary authors would you recommend?
Xander: Stephen Baxter’s Manifold series and the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons are two of my all-time favorites, since I love well written hard science fiction. I like Max Brooks for his zombie work, especially World War Z. Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan and Siobhan Dowd’s / Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls are both amazing works on the nature of humanity.
Marina: Nicky Drayden writes great genre-mashups, like The Prey of Gods; JY Yang writes brilliant fantasy, such as the Tensorate series; Megan O’Keefe performs incredibly skilled unreliable narrator work in Velocity Weapon; and Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar have done fascinating epistolary work in This is How You Lose the Time War.
What kinds of stories do you write? Why?
Xander: I am always fascinated with science fiction and fantasy, because it allows you to push the boundaries of “what if” beyond any limits of the imagination. To me, these are the ultimate playgrounds for creative exploration.
Marina: I tend to write stories about re-establishing understanding. That might mean a sci-fi story where the characters think an alien megastructure is meant to do one thing, but instead it does something completely unexpected. Or a fantasy story where magic seems to play by one set of rules, but the character’s conception of their world is all wrong. I try to tell stories with layers, where the over-arching conflict, personal conflict, and inner conflict are all intimately entangled.
What’s your favorite book? Why?
Xander: The Hobbit, because at the age of 10 it introduced me to the amazing world of fantasy literature. Star Trek, though not one book, is also a sentimental favorite. At that same early age of 10, it was the inspiration that filled me with the passion to pursue the path of becoming an engineer and loving all things “space”. When I was young, and the original TV show was in reruns, I gobbled up Star Trek books as fast as they could publish them.
Marina:Hyperion gets a hattrick here. I also love Vellum by Hal Duncan because of how masterfully complex it is; Vicious by V.E. Schwab is super-anti-hero melodrama at its finest; and Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee is my go-to comfort read.
Each of the stories in this volume evoked certain themes and emotions that can sometimes be approximated with music. The below video is the editor’s best interpretation of the feelings and themes that this author’s story evoked. Please note that this is only the editor’s interpretation. The author did not know this portion of the blog post existed until the editor published it.