02 Dec 2009
by Jeffrey Thomas
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Andy Remic first came to my attention as a fellow writer over at the Solaris imprint, and when I delved into his initial book with them, WAR MACHINE, he hooked me with more fast-paced, hyper-imaginative action and thrills than one could imagine being packed between two covers. And Andy has kept up that same kind of pace in producing a bunch of new novels, shooting your way like a stream of bullets in the near future. I asked Andy some questions, via email, to share with you here. So let’s get to it!
JT: Andy, my first exposure to your work was the rollicking, slam-bam Solaris Books novel WAR MACHINE, a totally fun mash-up of science fiction, action, horror, comedy, etc. etc. But I see you had a number of other novels released before that: SPIRAL (2003), QUAKE (2004) and WARHEAD (2005), from Orbit Books. What can you tell us about these books? Were they part of a series?
AR: Yes, my first three books are my SPIRAL trilogy. They are out and out action thrillers, with only a taste of SF elements and starring a schizophrenic psychopathic anti-hero, Carter, and his alter-ego, Kade – who always gets the job done when things turn bad. Think Tom Clancy without the long boring bits, and with lots of guns, motorbikes and explosions. James Bond on mescaline!
JT: WAR MACHINE (2007) has been followed by a number of sequels featuring the “Combat K” crew: BIOHELL (2008) and the upcoming HARDCORE (due January, 2010). How about telling us a little bit about this series? Where has Combat K been, and where will HARDCORE take them?
AR: My Combat K books are kick-ass rollercoaster action-adventure SF extravaganzas. They involve a corrupt and slightly insane combat squad who go on a variety of deadly missions and wreak planet-wide havoc. There is Keenan, the straight guy tortured by the death of his kids; Franco, the sexually perverse mad ginger nutcase with a love of German sausages; and Pippa, slightly deranged sword-wielding man-hater, and the toughest Lara-Croft type woman ever written! This series begins with War Machine, an SF action thriller, then Biohell, a zombie SF action thriller, and the new one out January 2010 is Hardcore, a medically deviant SF action thriller which runs something like: In a far future where a Junk alien scourge multiplies across Quad-Gal, Combat K are charged with finding the Junk’s homeland and annihilating the enemy. Mission: a quick SLAM drop to Sick World, a long-abandoned hospital planet once dedicated to curing the deformed, the insane, the dying and the dead. As daylight fades, so hibernation ends. The Medical Staff of Sick World, the doctors, nurses, patients and deviants, abandoned with extreme prejudice, a thousand year gestation of hardcore medical mutation and accelerated healthcare technology … they can smell fresh meat … And Keenan, Pippa and Franco face their hardest battle yet. HARDCORE. You’ll never look at a nurse the same way again. Haha!
I’ve just pitched another 3 Combat K books to Solaris, so we’ll see what comes of that J
JT: I hope they go for it! In the meantime, that brings us to another series set to take the world by storm, THE CLOCKWORK VAMPIRES CHRONICLES (Angry Robot Books), beginning with the spanking new KELL’s LEGEND and continuing in March with Book 2, SOUL STEALERS and September with Book 3, VAMPIRE WARLORDS. KELL’S LEGEND sounds like a departure for you, into the realm of fantasy, but it also seem to blend other genres such as horror and perhaps SF (it’s the “clockwork” that hints at this). Am I right, here?
AR: Yes, although originally I did start writing fantasy before I wrote SF, and was (and still am) deeply inspired by the fantasy works of David Gemmell. I’ve also brought along my thriller writing action skills to the writing of fantasy, so instead of bumbling along for 200 pages describing the dull politics of a dull-ass world, Kell’s Legend kicks off into action and is a fantasy rollercoaster ride! Great fun to write!! Hopefully, it’s great fun to read J
JT: Andy, besides being proficient at multiple genres, you’re also a Renaissance man in other ways. You designed a 48K Spectrum video game to promote BIOHELL, and you’ve directed some extremely cool trailers to promote KELL’S LEGEND and HARDCORE, the former even featuring yourself as one of the actors. Is filmmaking something you’ve only lately started pursuing? Are the movies as fun as they look to put together, or is filming and editing them difficult?
AR: Haha, an actor? Moi? No way. I move around in front of the camera, but I do not “act” as such. I struggled getting somebody to act for me; imagine the pitch: Hi, I want you to wear a bearskin, carry a huge axe, and try and look menacing. I got some strange looks! So, it was easier to do it myself, but since making the little promo films I’ve now had an influx of offers, so the films must have been at least a bit better than people were expecting!!
In about 1996, me and a friend (Jim Roth.) made a school promo film for the school where we worked, and I built a video editing PC (at a time when PCs didn’t really have the power to do it). That gave me a taster, but at a recent marketing meeting with Angry Robot I suggested making another movie to promote Kell’s Legend. And what a rush it turned out to be! I enjoyed it so much, I’m making promos for all my new books now J
JT: You’ve also got a trailer over at YouTube for something called THE CHEMICAL MAN, which is very effectively directed, appears to star you in the lead, and looks very ominous and disturbing. Is this a thriller kind of thing, and how long will it be when finished? Will it be available at YouTube in installments, or via some other avenue?
AR: It’s just me learning a little more about film making by actually doing it. It’ll be a short, about 8 minutes long, and yes it is very disturbing, although I toyed with turning it into a wacky comedy at the end. I like things like that.
JT: I see from your Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Remic) that you were born in North Manchester, in the UK. What can you tell us about your upbringing; what do you think inspired your creativity?
AR: Definitely long trips through Europe in the car. This forced me to read a lot, Tolkien, Moorcock, then later Pratchett and Gemmell to name a few. It also gave me a wide experience of different cultures at a young age, which I think helped prime my imagination.
JT: What other projects or aspirations do you have, beyond completing the CLOCKWORK VAMPIRE sequels, as a writer and director?
AR: I’d love to make a full feature film, and I’m scripting one now along with a TV sitcom and sketch show. However, novel writing is my primary, my bread and butter, and I have, er, let me count, twelve novels in the pipeline at the moment. Jeesh!! That many? I better get a new printer!!
I’ve currently put together a small film crew for the promo of HARDCORE, which we’ll be filming around mid January 2010. We’ve got proper actors, a proper set, even a special FX make-up guy!! Should be, er, crazy! I’m nervous already!!
JT: Now that sounds cool, as does the novel itself. I’ll be sure to follow your fascinating career avidly, Andy. All best to you with all your varied projects!
AR: Thanks very much, mate. And don’t let that James Cameron get away with nicking your blue Punktown universe!! Sue him! Go on, I’ll be a witness!! J
JT: We’ll let Cameron off the hook for stealing my BLUE WAR for AVATAR (ahem…) if he promises to make a feature length version of your HARDCORE, how about that, Andy?
Check out Andy’s videos at YouTube, such as:
The KELL’S LEGEND promo vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSm-nTzGGtA
The teaser vid for HARDCORE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s1bjEIsmzQ
The trailer for his short film in the making, CHEMICAL MAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab4RMVOIZhU
And here’s the man himself reading from KELL’S LEGEND at FantasyCon 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSm-nTzGGtA
Andy Remic’s official web site is: http://andyremic.wordpress.com/