An Interview With Malachi Slade By Taniko

Malachi Slade is Mobster on two new novels, and apparently very busy in many other corners of Pan Historia. He's helped start up Slave to the Hunger, a vampire novel; and Alien Hive, an Aliens novel (which also happens to be Novel #200!) I caught him as he was making his rounds, and he very kindly consented to answer a few questions:

Q1. An Aliens novel? Tell us something about why you've decided to help start this one up. Which of the Aliens' movies will this novel take its jumping-off point from?

Well this was an original idea by Susan DeVries and we’ve had this as the “Bug Hunt” novel on Short Cuts for a few months. My fellow MOB, Jezzick Raan, is a big fan of the Alien movies, as am I, and we both felt that it was a great story but a little lost on Short Cuts and maybe not fulfilling it’s true potential. When Susan said she couldn’t be as involved as much anymore because of real life commitments, we jumped at the opportunity to develop the story into a fully fledged novel and the existing writers were all supportive of that.

It’s based in 2179AD which is after the ALIENS movie but before the last couple. We’re really pretending that the last two didn’t happen because, let’s face it, they were rubbish although I did personally enjoy Aliens vs Predator LOL We’re working on the principle that the corporations are still willing to fund research and development and still want a live specimen and in order to do that they’re willing to lie about a mission and sacrifice a ship full of Marines…….that would be us! There’s also a lot of interplay between Marine and Civilian characters on the ship itself and some very creative back stories and relationships. It’s not just about killing aliens, although that bit will be fun.

Q2. So just who is Malachi Slade? What sort of character are you playing, and where do you see him going in the story?

Who is Malachi Slade? Now there’s a question I find myself asking every time I start a new storyline LOL. In Alien: Hive I play a Marine, a weapons expert and a guy that’s popular with the ladies but doesn’t have time, or the inclination to go further than a one night stand. After thinking he was shipping out on the USS Dauntless, he finds himself transferred at the last minute with his best buddy to the USS Bourgainville where the lady he just spent the night with turns out to be his Corporal. However despite his reluctance to “get involved”, he finds he’s developing feelings for her and on a trip that could end up with one or both of you dead, it’s not the best situation.

Personality wise, he’s a fun guy, always has a ready quip and never wants to let the team down although he’s a little accident prone. By the end of the storyline, he’ll have discovered things about himself and done things that he never thought he could. Maybe he’ll even get the girl – who knows, we haven’t plotted that far ahead yet LOL One thing I will say is that his best buddy, in the best Star Trek tradition, may as well be wearing a red shirt because somewhere out there there’s a facehugger with his name on it!

Q3. If you are at liberty to tell, where else do you play here at Pan Historia? What draws you to this community?

I write (and am also an MOB) at the Time Lords which is a great love of mine. I joined because Ayesha (Meritamen) is one of my best friends in real life and we developed the whole concept between us. I like that we have several storylines on the go at one time which means, as a Time Lord, I can play in a lot of different arenas. She’s a great MOB and I’ve learned a lot from her plus it made me improve my writing skills and get a lot more into plot and character development. We do spend hours developing ideas and helping out new writers and it’s very satisfying.

My latest venture is Slave to the Hunger, which is another new novel created with Candice, who is Ayesha’s alter ego. We’re both big fans of the series “Blood Ties” and vampire films in general, and we liked the whole idea of having a vampire novel set in a contemporary setting and being more about character and storyline than the vampire traits themselves. We’ve developed a pretty good idea I think and I hope others will want to come and write there. I play a vampire who is also a vampire hunter – regarded as the lowest of the low by his fellow vamps, and the story has an initial arc with a rogue vamp neatly picking off members of the Vampire Senate (sort of a ruling council) and no one having any idea who it might be. In fact apart from myself, Candice and the rogue vamp, no other character will know who the villain is as he or she has two characters in the novel – one good, one rogue - kind of like a murder mystery. I’m very enthused by the whole idea.

I also write on Star Wars: The Saga in the Nar Shadaa storyline, which is great fun, but mainly because it’s with friends, although I’m a fan of the films. I play an explosives expert who’s also a pirate and on the run from a particular tenacious bounty hunter.

As a reader, I tend to just nosey around a variety of novels just to see what’s happening and check out other writers. There’s some really good stuff out there.

Q4. Any words of advice on running a novel?

Be fair, be approachable, listen to your members and don’t just blindly do what you want with no regard for your writers because after all, if you lose your writers then you don’t have a novel. For me it’s about building partnerships so I tend to be friendly, try and help where I can and be patient. I’m a big believer in rewarding people and I think it’s a good motivational tool, so we have a featured member and we’ll be instituting writing awards and having fun competitions and trivia quizzes. I like that kind of stuff and it helps to keep people interested. I’m absolutely hopeless on the html and graphics front though so I do rely on Ayesha for that and she’s done a great job on the Alien: Hive & Slave DJs respectively.

Q5. What three favorite movies come to your mind just now, and why?

OMG, only three? That’s difficult. But, trooper that I am, I’ll do my best. Ok not really in order of preference:

The Thing, the one with Kurt Russell although the original is good too. I just love the character development, the script is superb and the alien kicks ass.

Split Second, a low budget movie starring Rutger Hauer, again fantastic movie, funny and nasty all at one go with some superb one liners.

Aliens although it would be tied with Alien – both for very different reasons. Alien was dark and creepy and atmospheric and my favourite scene just has to be when they’re tracking Dallas in the tubes and the Alien is right there and the tension is way up high…….Just a very cool scene, oh but now I said that I just thought of half a dozen more, oh well. From Aliens, a similar scene near the end, when they’re in the room tracking the approaching aliens and they suddenly realize that they’re above them and Hicks looks through the roof and there they are! LOL That moment of realization that they’ve outsmarted you and you’re trapped – terrifying. And yeah, I know that was four but the last two were from the same franchise LOL Now if you’d have given me ten I could have rattled quite a lot more off with ease, but I mainly tend to watch Sci-Fi and Horror.

Q6. Two new novels! Just noticed this earlier one! Busy guy! Tell us something about Slave to the Hunger, which looks to be another dark venture. Where do you plan to go with this novel, and where might your character fit in?

Well I think I maybe answered this a little in Questions 3 but the idea was really to create a vampire novel that didn’t stick to the expected traits. Our vamps don’t burst into flames if they go out in the sun, they’re not affected by churches or crosses but they do blend into everyday life. Our vampires cannot stand to be around others of their kind and have a territory into which other vamps cannot stray without seeking permission. The story is more about each vampire and their existence, examining their history and, in some cases, their dissolution with their ruling council.

We liked the idea of starting off with a controlled situation, where every Vampire obeys their ruling council except one, and through the actions of this one vampire, others start to question their existence and begin to rebel. From there, chaos ensues as many revert back to their more basic instincts and their whole society falls apart. It’s also the “what if” questions. What if there were vampires in our own cities, how would we know? What if they suddenly reverted to killing and bloodlust, how would modern society handle that? How would we hunt down and trap something that could heal itself, had the strength of twenty men and could move faster than you could see? It’s an interesting idea and one I’m keen to explore although we didn’t want it to be Buffy or Angel and it most definitely isn’t. Add into the pot a little black magic and supernatural summoning and we have, in my opinion, a good plotline.

Thanks Taniko, it was a pleasure talking to you.