The Martian Author

Come one, come all! I have a chronicle here that will be beyond your wildest dreams! Well, maybe not beyond yours, kid. You look like you have some pretty fierce imaginings. But for MOST people, it will be beyond your wildest dreams!

You see, I collect authors. Well, not their bodies. Normally. You have to pay extra to see those. But I love collecting the odd book that’s not well-known or perhaps the author is unique.

And in a recent author-hunting expedition, I found myself on the Red Planet itself!

Kid, you already paid for your ticket. You can’t have it back.

I encountered the famous H. K. Devonshire! Who, you may ask? Well, why not have him tell you himself! He consented to an interview once I freed him from my devious trap. Devious? Did I say devious? I meant we sat down to coffee. Really.

First, who are you? Most of my readers reside on Earth, so they might not be familiar with you or your work, though I understand they’re bestsellers in Mars.

Howdy, Jon! Yeah, that coffee trap gets me everytime. Hope the Martian brew doesn’t kill you. If you start feeling queasy, we’ll open up a couple of Martian ales.

So… about me, huh? Guess startin’ with the facts is the best place. I was born in Enla, back in aught-5, just before the Martian Iron Rush started. My mom was a teacher and Dad was lab tech. He was really good at his job, so the Science Director moved him around a good bit for the first five years. So I lived in Enla, then Vermillion, six months in DeCanta and a year in Apia. I was five when the Science Director brought us back to Enla to stay. I finished up my schoolin’ there. Mom taught at Enla U and Dad took over as administrator for Lab Tech.

I graduated at Enla U with a major in astrophysics and a minor in English. I worked first for Harting, then the Enla spaceport. I was beginning to write about that time, putting out short stories about the Martian Rangers. They caught on, an’ Enla Publishing started printing out my books. Yeah, paperback books are real popular on Mars. ‘Course, you can find them on the Martian segment of the puterverse. Anyway, Enla Publishing gave me a book contract, so I wrote about the origin of the Martian Rangers, and then the origins of two of my favorite Rangers from my short stories: Roids Cavanaugh and Dixie Gomez. All these years later, I’m still writin’.

You could write about anything. Why the Martian Rangers? I mean, we got plenty of good red-blooded heroes here on earth already! Why, you could write about me! (What’s in this coffee? Writing about me probably wouldn’t see too many novels…)

You know, it’s strange you mention that. When you first introduced yourself and asked to interview me, I thought your name was familiar.

Turns out, you’re already in one of my books. You’re in the fourth and final novel of what I call The Origin Series, which details the origins of Greg Farer, Roids Cavanaugh, and Dixie Gomez. I had a character in the fourth novel. I won’t give you the titles ‘cause I’m not sure if my Earth publisher, John Hartness at Falstaff Books, is gonna change the titles or not. He appears toward the climatic end of the story.

He dies. Horribly. Sorry about that. I didn’t know you then, so no offense.

Anywho… I picked the Martian Rangers for three main reasons.

First: They were, and in lots of ways still are, the best of Mars. They hold the ideal of honor, justice, and freedom that embodies our Martian society. Yeah, there’s always bad potatoes in a bunch, but far fewer among the Rangers.

Second: They have a connection to Earth that reaches both ways. Earth and Mars have always been a bit tetchy with each other. We’re all humans – even the Pisces people – but we call ourselves by our planet: Terrans an’ Martians. We should celebrate the common ground when we can. In my universe, Greg Farer was an Arizona Ranger before being handed the job to startup the Martian Rangers in aught-7. I base Farer on Gary McFarland, the REAL Arizona Ranger who started up the Martian Rangers that same year. It went a lot better in real life, of course. There were some problems, but Captain McFarland didn’t pull a gun as often as Captain Farer. Though when they pulled iron, both did favor the Model 1911A Colt automatic.

As an aside, a number of my Rangers are based in different degrees on actual Martian Rangers. Hawkins, Quan, and even Gomez are examples. Same with Marshall Elam, who doesn’t show up until the second set of four books.

Third: While the term “Martian Iron Rush” sounds excitin’, those times had a whole buncha normal day living. Goin’ to work, payin’ bills, raisin’ families. Fill up and check the surface suits every day. Just regular stuff. To write an action story, you kinda’ need action. The Martian Rangers were the obvious choice. They moved around the planet, so I could show off a lot of places, towns, and people. The Rangers mixed with the rough element to keep ‘em in line and hold the general welfare of the people in a peaceable way. You can’t shoot a gun if’n you don’t have one, and the Rangers had guns. And, like I said at the start: The Martian Rangers were and are among the best examples of Mars.

Sounds more exciting than the Midway! (And what could be more exciting than the lights and the freakshows?!) You mentioned your earthside publisher Falstaff Books. What’s it like trying to publish a book on different planets?

I have no idea what a Midway is, so I’ll take your word for it.

Getting published on Earth was never really a goal of mine. And the only Martian authors I know who do have a publisher on Earth are from there, so they kinda know how things work. The two or three Martian authors from Mars who tried to get published there had a tough time, they told me. Sure, the market is incredibly huge. I mean, Mars has less than three million population, plus a coupla’ hundred thousand tourists at any point. The ‘troid mining colonies have thirty or forty thousand, maybe. But Earth has billions of people. So it might sound tempting to go there and pick up readers. Only the readers don’t seem too interested in us. They figure us as dirt diggers, I think. I dunno.

It was different with two people, though, and that’s what lured me to try an Earth publisher. Can I give shout outs? Give puterverse fame to ‘em? If not, just cut this part or somethin’.

First was Pete. Peter Prellwitz, that is. He’d come to Mars to do some research. He’s done a few books on us and he’s a damn good writer. Guy seems to know us inside an’ out. He tends to kill a lot of people in his books, so it’s not like I’d want to be in his universe. But as a colleague, he’s a straight-up guy.

Well, we met at ESSF (Enla Science & Science Fiction Literary Convention) and again at Vermili-con in Vermilion. He’d read all my books and was excited to meet me. We started talking over Martian ales and convinced me to try my stuff on Earth. Said he’d support me at the Earth cons he attends and that Falstaff Books was the perfect Earth publisher for me. He didn’t have anything with them yet, but said my books would fit the ‘sideways genre’ feel of the publisher. He named a few other authors who used Falstaff, but I only recognized Gail Z. Martin’s name. She writes great stuff. Weird to my way of thinkin’, but great. You can find her books on Mars easy.

So he got me in touch with John Hartness, the publisher. Guy’s from Earth, but he’s a Martian at heart. Honest, friendly, and straightforward. Between Pete and John, this has gone really well for me. My first book comes out in a few months. [Editor’s. Note: As of the time of this interview.] On Mars, it’s called “Company A”. On Mars, everyone knows exactly what I was talkin’ about. But John thought we should add “Origin of the Martian Rangers” to the title for Earth readers, so we did. The next one’s about one of my favorite characters, Roids Cavanaugh, but I’m not gonna give anything away.

Well, folks, this interview is getting long, and you’re going to have to pay up your two bits to keep it running. Or come back next week when we continue talking about Martian rangers and what H. K. Devonshire is all about! 

Amazon is still setting up their division for Martian authors, and will launch in another month or two. In the meantime, check out Peter Prellwitz, as H. K. Devonshire sure seems to be a fan of his!

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

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