Folks, please give a warm welcome to J B Rockwell to the blog today. Learn about Jennifer’s dream library, just who the Swiss Army knives of spec fic are, and how she ended up in a duel of toothpicks at dawn! Interested in winning a CD copy of her latest SF book Dark & Stars? Then scroll to the bottom for the giveaway!
If you could be an extra on a TV show or movie, what would it be and what would you be doing?
Well, if you could resurrect Firefly, I’d be all over that. Me and Kaylee hanging out, slinging wrenches in the engine room, lobbing one-liners at the rest of the crew. 🙂 If we’re sticking with something current, I’d love to be on Fargo—that is the darkest, funniest, most oddball show out there and I love it. I’d want to play a Deputy or something so I can PACK HEAT AND EAT DONUTS ROWR!!!!
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
Smaug. I mean, that poor little guy was the only dragon left in Middle Earth and, yeah, he was squatting in the dwarves’ house, but c’mon! Dude was cold! And gold hungry! Can’t blame him for wanting to move in! And what do they do? Run away. Abandon him. Leave him all alone sleeping on a cold, hard bed of coins. Sheesh. No wonder he had anger issues. They could have at least given him a kitten. I’d love to see a rewrite where Bilbo lures Smaug out with a pretty, little lady dragon and they fly away to live happily ever after on some nice, warm tropical island where there are no dwarves at all. THE END.
Is there a genre or literary niche that you feel hasn’t gotten it’s deserved amount of attention?
I don’t even know what to call it, but there’s this grey area between horror and mystery that needs more love. I love a creepy, mysterious story that’s a little scary, but I don’t necessarily need the graphic gore. So light horror/creepy—more of that, please! Oh, and give it a name, too, so I know how to google it.
The public library of your dreams has arrived! What special collections does it hold?
UGH! THIS QUESTION IS TOO HARD!!!! Soooo many books.
Okay. If I have choose something, let me highlight a few sections I think are mandatory:
1. Every edition and every cover of Lord of the Rings ever printed—some of those were GORGEOUS. Also include any of the companion books, map books, art books, etc. I want all the Lord of the Rings book things!
2. An entire section devoted to folklore. And make it BIG because I want Celtic and Norse, Russian and Bulgarian, Korean and Japanese and African and everything else. GIMME ALL THE FOLKLORE FROM ALL THE CULTURES!!!
3. An entire section dedicated to books on dragons. And not just fiction books (stop laughing, dragons are real). Science books, picture books, biology texts, I want it all.
4. An entire section devoted to female spec fic authors. Another section for spec fic POC authors. A third for spec-fic LGBTQ. I want to highlight their awesomeness—they deserve more space!!
5. A Dr. Seuss area with all his books, a load of bean bags, and some big, comfy chairs. And puppies. And a few kittens.
If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?
Supernatural creature hands down. I can even see how this scenario would play out: Nessie saves me and takes me to her secret and awesome lair beneath the loch (this is also where all the world’s unicorns hide out, too, by the way). Over tea and cake we become fast friends, spending our days playing bagpipes and eating shortbreads, and our nights drinking beer and tossing haggis at the tourists.
Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?
Modern fantasy is a lot more all-encompassing, so definitely, yes. Early fantasy was very western culture and myth centric (still is), but we’re gradually seeing more books based on African, and Asian, and other world cultures, which is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. The global economy is exposing people to other foods, and beliefs, and ways of thinking, and fantasy is giving us amazing new backdrops, and creatures, and characters that influence art, and culture, and fashion, and so many other aspects of our lives. We just need more—MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!!
What future invention would you like to see not only created during your life time, but readily available to the public?
TRANSPORTER PLEASE??!! Raise your hand if you’re sick of sitting in traffic? Or driving hours to the airport to sit for hours in the airport and then spend hours on a plane. Granted, there’s the whole ‘catastrophic failure ending in subatomic deconstruction’ thing, but c’mon! Hawaii in 2 minutes! GIMME THAT!
You are stuck in space in dire straights. Which science fiction authors would you want with you?
I love that first line, by the way. It simultaneously reads like poetry, and like I got dropped into a choose your own adventure story. 😀
And now, my answer! I am TOTALLY bringing Elizabeth Bear because she would either fight her way through any and all adversities, or lie, cheat, steal and swindle to pull us through. I’d also want N.K. Jemisin because she seems to think quickly on her feet and would come up with some wonky and entirely unexpected solution to save our bacon. Bear and Jemisin: the Swiss Army knives of speculative fiction.
Often various historical aspects (people, locations, events) are used in fantasy and sometimes rehashed in a far-flung future. In your opinion, what are some examples of such historical aspects being used well in the SF/F genre?
So, I’m a huge fan of Stephen King’s Gunslinger series. One of the things I loved most about these books (beyond the movement between time periods) were the references to various cultures, and myths, and stories that are sprinkled throughout. ‘See the Turtle of enormous girth’ is an obvious reference to a classic creation myth. The character of Roland: a reference to Child Roland to the Dark Tower Came. The six beams and their guardians—all references to Native American totems and myths. That’s just a sampling of the rich tapestry of this multi-part story, a series that mixes sci-fi, fantasy and western elements and pulls it off in style.
What is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?
Oh man. I was lucky enough to get invited onto the Super Awesome Geek Show (twice!) and we geeked out so hard on Star Wars. I’m a huge fan but not a super fan so I love talking Star Wars, but I admit I also enjoy mercilessly teasing the ‘cannon’ quoters. 🙂 I honestly can’t remember what specific part of Star Wars we were discussing—this was in the run-up to The Force Awakens this first time, and Rogue One the second time—but it ended with a challenge involving toothpicks at dawn…?
May 2016 Episode of Super Awesome Geek Show with J B Rockwell
December 2016 Episode of Super Awesome Geek Show with J B Rockwell
About Jennifer Rockwell:
J.B. Rockwell is a New Englander, which is important to note because it means she’s (a) hard headed, (b) frequently stubborn, and (c) prone to fits of snarky sarcasticness. As a kid she subsisted on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore, mythology augmented by generous helpings of science fiction and fantasy. As a quasi-adult she dreamed of being the next Indiana Jones and even pursued (and earned!) a degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, those dreams of being an archaeologist didn’t quite work out. Through a series of twists and turns (involving cats, a marriage, and a SCUBA certification, amongst other things) she ended up working in IT for the U.S. Coast Guard and now writes the types of books she used to read. Not a bad ending for an Indiana Jones wannabe…
Places to Stalk J B Rockwell
Book Blurb for Serengeti:
It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti – a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain – on her own, wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space. On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside. Then a scavenger ship arrives to pick Serengeti‘s bones clean. Her engine’s dead, her guns long silenced; Serengeti and her last two robots must find a way to fight the scavengers off and save the crew trapped inside her.
Book Blurb for Dark & Stars:
For 53 years Serengeti drifted, dreaming in the depths of space. Fifty-three years of patient waiting before her Valkyrie Sisters arrive to retrieve her from the dark. A bittersweet homecoming follows, the Fleet Serengeti once knew now in shambles, its admiral, Cerberus, gone missing, leaving Brutus in charge. Brutus who’s subsumed the Fleet, ignoring his duty to the Meridian Alliance to pursue a vendetta against the Dark Star Revolution.
The Valkyries have a plan to stop him – depose Brutus and restore the Fleet’s purpose – and that plan involves Serengeti. Depends on Serengeti turning her guns against her own.
Because the Fleet can no longer be trusted. With Brutus in charge, it’s just Serengeti and her Sisters, and whatever reinforcements they can find.
A top-to-bottom refit restores Serengeti to service, and after a rushed reunion with Henricksen and her surviving crew, she takes off for the stars. For Faraday – a prison station – to stage a jailbreak, and free the hundreds of Meridian Alliance AIs wrongfully imprisoned in its Vault. From there to the Pandoran Cloud and a rendezvous with her Valkyrie Sisters. To retrieve a fleet of rebel ships stashed away inside.
J B Rockwell is offering up 1 audiobook (CD) copy of Dark & Stars (US Only due to shipping). Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments. 1) What state do you live in? 2) What future invention would you like to see during your lifetime? Giveaway ends May 27th, 2017 midnight.