Now available, an all-new Darkover anthology featuring tales of decisions, turning points, love lost and found, all in the beloved world of the Bloody Sun. Stories by Jenna Rhodes, Pat MacEwen, Gabrielle Harbowy, Evey Brett, Rosemary and India Edghill, Diana L. Paxson, and more!
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Table of Contents is here.
Deborah J. Ross: Tell us about your introduction to Darkover.
Rebecca Fox: As a moody teenage girl with SFnal leanings in the early/mid-1990s, I really had three main reading choices: Pern, Valdemar, or Darkover. Pern I’d found on my own, in a sixth grade language arts reader of all places. My discovery of Valdemar and Darkover (simultaneously) at the age of 14 or 15 and the subsequent loss of at least a week’s worth of sleep while I devoured several books as fast as I could possibly read them I owe to a camp roommate.
My introduction to writing Darkover came via Rosemary Edghill - who is, incidentally, a brilliant human being, a terrific writer, and a truly stellar teacher - who mentored me through my angst-filled and far less than graceful move from Darkest Fanficcia to the Land of Paid Professional Writers and somehow managed not to murder me in the process (it would have been entirely justified, trust me). At any rate, Rosemary invited me to collaborate with her on a story for Stars of Darkover (“Second Contact,” of which I’m still terribly fond) and the rest is history. I remain more grateful than I can really express for the invitation, as well as for patient lessoning in things like how to pace a story and how to edit my own work and more than a few good stiff doses of humility. I wouldn't be here without her, and I hope one of these days I’ll at least get the chance to pay it forward.
DJR: What inspired your story in Crossroads of Darkover?
RF: Well, the glib (and not in the least untrue) answer here is: my complete inability to let anything go, ever. I get so attached to some worlds or characters that it’s hard to simply bid them adieu after a bare six thousand words or so. And I just couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to Jamie MacRorie and Miralys after nothing more than a few paragraphs in “Where You’re Planted” (never you mind that I’d originally produced them simply because Cat needed to get her parents from somewhere).
The less glib answer is that at the time I sat down to think about my next Darkover story, I’d been wallowing happily in the very earliest Darkover books, and in one of them – I think it was The Bloody Sun but I wouldn’t swear to it in a court of law – there’s this really brief mention of the Terranan and the Darkovans having fought a war over “resources,” with the implication that the Terrans lost or were somehow humiliated. Since that one paragraph was the only time I’d ever seen that “war” mentioned, it couldn’t have been much of a war, could it? Between the fact that I found myself kind of obsessing over what might have happened (because that’s what I do) and the fact that I’ve never met a spy story I didn’t like, “The Short, Inglorious War” was born.
DJR: Is there another Darkover story you would particularly like to write?
RF: Speaking of my inability to let things go, I think we’ll be seeing more of Miralys in the future assuming The Powers That Be let me write another one of these things. Sometimes characters surprise you when they start taking shape on the page, and she definitely did. I love that she’s such a badass, but in a very Darkovan way! And she’s such an interesting character anyhow, since she was born on Darkover but educated in the Terran Empire and as a result finds herself very much caught betwixt-and-between two worlds. I can’t imagine her re-entry to Darkovan society after years spent among the Terranan was either smooth or easy.
I suspect I’ve probably also got an Ages of Chaos story or three in me. Given my horsey background, it’s a wonder I haven’t written a MacAran Gift story yet. (As the wise woman said, give it time…)
RF: My story “Ordinary Miracles” was just published in Pathways, the newest Valdemar anthology. If you’re fond of Karse, wayward Companions in sticky situations, and scruffy barn cats that might not be exactly what they seem, you should definitely go and read it (also the other stories in the anthology are amazing, which is probably the more compelling argument here…)
DJR: Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you, Darkover, or life in general?
RF: You know, the fastest way to make my mind go completely blank is to ask me a question like that. Um, these are not the droids you’re looking for.
Rebecca (Becky) Fox is a Kentuckian by happy accident and an Arizonan by birth. She has sold short stories to a number of anthologies, and someday–if she can stop being distracted by horses, wild birds, Walt Disney World, and the Internet for long enough–she may actually finish a novel. In her “other life”, she’s a field biologist and an associate professor of biology at a private four-year college, and enjoys pointing out to her students that the dinosaurs are in fact alive and well and eating at your bird feeder. Becky shares her life with three parrots, a Jack Russell terrier who makes no secret whatsoever of being an evil genius in a dog suit, and a big goofy gray thoroughbred gelding who was once the world’s worst racehorse.