Yoon Ha Lee
The maThs sTudenT Turned novelisT on The firsT in his new miliTary sci-fi Trilogy
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.