Interview: David Sherman

Tell us a bit about your story.  What’s it about?

“Contained Vacuum” is a story set in the Starfist universe, created by Dan Cragg and me.  This story takes place immediately following the campaign told in Double Jeopardy, Starfist book 14.  In it, a derelict freighter is discovered drifting at an established “jump point.”  Third platoon’s second squad boards the freighter to investigate, only to find that the ship isn’t abandoned.  Instead it’s held by the enigmatic foe called “Skinks,” set to drift to lure Confederation forces into an ambush.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

Oh, yes, it was indeed challenging!  I’m a novelist with only a handful of short stories to my credit.  As such, I find short works very difficult to write.  But it was a satisfying challenge, and I’m thankful to John Joseph Adams for giving me the opportunity to write it.

What is the appeal of power armor/mecha? Why do so many writers—or you yourself—write about it? Why do you think readers/viewers/gamers love it so much?

Throughout history, various armies have come up with forms of armor ranging from Sumerian chariots to modern M1A1 tanks and infantry body armor.  For a time, the armor is invincible.  But armor has a problem—it’s expensive.  Sooner or later, someone comes up with a relatively inexpensive way to defeat it.  Indeed, the armored vacuum suits worn by the Marines in this story can be defeated by the weapons used by the Skinks.