Yoon Ha Lee

The maThs sTu­denT Turned nov­el­isT on The firsT in his new mil­i­Tary sci-fi Tril­ogy

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

What is Nine­fox Gam­bit about?

A dis­graced cap­tain is given the chance to re­deem her­self by re­cap­tur­ing a fortress. She al­lies with a 400-year-old un­dead gen­eral. The good news is that he’s a tac­ti­cal ge­nius who has never lost a bat­tle – the bad news is that he was ex­e­cuted for mas­sacring two armies...

Tell us a lit­tle about your pro­tag­o­nist.

Kel Cheris longs to be a good sol­dier, but is a lit­tle too in­de­pen­dent-minded. She’s also a first-rate math­e­ma­ti­cian, and be­cause the tech­no­magic in this set­ting runs on maths, this makes her very dan­ger­ous...

You ma­jored in maths. How has this in­flu­enced your writ­ing?

Learn­ing to write math­e­mat­i­cal proofs taught me one way of struc­tur­ing sto­ries – you start with a set of ax­ioms and work out the con­se­quences. I used some math­e­mat­i­cal ter­mi­nol­ogy in the book, like ma­trix di­ag­o­nal­i­sa­tion.

How have you found mov­ing from short sto­ries to nov­els?

I was ner­vous about my abil­ity to han­dle a novel, so I warmed up by writ­ing a 27,000word Full­metal Al­chemist fan­fic for prac­tice!

This is the first of a tril­ogy. Have you started book two?

It’s fin­ished! Book two in­tro­duces new char­ac­ters and has more space bat­tles. Parts of it are less grim. I like grim­dark as much as the next reader, but there has to be some hu­mour!

Nine­fox Gam­bit is pub­lished on 16 June.

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