Friday, September 24, 2004

Science Fiction Weekly Interview: Charles Stross

Scifi: Would it be fair to say that you consciously modeled this conflict on the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5: the impatiently innovative Japanese versus the doddering Russian imperium, the doomed voyage of the Tsar's Baltic fleet?

Stross: Yes. That was exactly the naval campaign I wanted to base it on—the Voyage of the Damned is one of the weird, great anomalies of 20th-century history. A battle fleet is sent on a desperate mission that takes it three times further than any fleet has sailed before, burning insane amounts of fuel (a third of a million tons of coal exchanged at sea to keep the boilers running), fighting bizarre problems (sailors being shipped home in straitjackets, destroyers overrun by the sailors' exotic pets), mistakenly shooting up a powerful neutral party's fishing fleet ... and then, after an epic voyage, when they reach their destination, they're blown out of the water in the space of three hours flat by a technologically and tactically superior force.

David Weber, the arch-proponent of Traditional (as opposed to New) Space Opera, likes to use Napoleonic battles as set pieces. I decided to do something a little different ...


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