ON THE ORIGINS OF MAAURO: the combat android built by the long gone race she calls ‘The Creators’
Hmmn, how to discuss this without generating spoilers? Well I will just have to give it a go.
Maauro, like so many things, came from the failure of a prior project. I had decided to write a science fiction short with some of my favorite elements: morally ambiguous characters, the seedy Lowport of a colony world and the ancient remains of a lost alien race. I went further trying for something unusually gritty and noir for me. The story centered on discovering some sort of alien menace – and I came up with a nasty monster that was a little closer to Giger’s alien then I was comfortable with. Which, not for nothing, is quite close to the original monster in author A. E Vogt’s “Voyage of the Space Beagle” (not the dog, the ship named for Darwin’s vessel) and other works. The monstrous often takes a similar shape.
This story had one universal reaction from the every female in my life, wife, female friends, and writers. They hated it. I looked at the piece and decided there were two issues. The first was an excess of the gritty noir, the second was the monster. It made it into just a “bug hunt” as the jarhead in Alien II said.
The first was an easy fix, but the second… Then an inspiration hit me. I love anime, having been an Otaku before I knew what that meant, for Speed Racer, Marineboy and the 8th Man. I had always wanted to do a story with a character who had an anime appearance. But I as at a loss as to how to do so.
Enter Maauro, the ancient AI who chooses her appearance, doesn’t quite get it right and ends up looking like a Japanese anime character. I originally envisioned her as a sort of “cute gal” sidekick for the other lead, Wrik Trigardt, human and disgraced fighter pilot. That was not to be. Maauro gently but very firmly insisted that she was a serious person, that her choice of gender and to a lesser extent her appearance had great meaning (more on this in another blog post). The short story grew into a book and now into six full and at least three more planned novels of the voyage of self-discovery of this, my favorite character.
Writing Maauro is never an effort, when I want to visit, I sit down and open the channel to her and she simply tells me the story. Truth be told this happens with all my characters but never with the crystal clarity of this relationship. Maauro always knows where she is going, even if I do not. Hope you will take the trip with us. I may end up as surprised as you are about the places we end up.
With the launch of the second book in the series, “Against that Time,” the first book “My Outcast State will be offered as a free download this weekend.
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