Beyond the Words Past
By Jo Rogers

Interview with Chris Bunch
Review of Corsair

Beyond our own world of Earth lie many other unknown and unexplored worlds that we can only visit in our imagination.  This is the realm of science fiction and fantasy, the realm we will explore together.  We'll visit worlds of magic and worlds where the magic of science holds sway.  And we will visit with those who create those worlds and see where those fantastic ideas come from.  So come along with me as we fly between the worlds on our trip beyond the words.

Now, I've asked the author of Corsair, Chris Bunch to answer some questions for us.

A Writer of Plenty
An Interview with Chris Bunch
By Jo Rogers

Jo Rogers: Mr. Bunch, thank you for joining us on our first journey into the realm of science fiction and fantasy.  First, please tell us a little about yourself.  Where did you grow up?

Chris Bunch: I don't know about growing up...I still think I'm having  trouble with that. But I was born in Fresno, California.  Which is a good place to be from. A long ways from...

JR: Did you always want to write?

CB: It was either that, or mug drunks on the Sunset Strip.

JR:  Not an interesting option.  Were you always interested in writing fantasy, or did writing other things lead you into the realm of fantasy?

CB: Can't answer that, since I've done hard SF, historical, a Vietnam novel, and so on and so forth. I like fantasy, because it gives you a chance to create your own worlds, without having to be stuck with things like reality, probability, Einstein, and so forth.

JR: Now tell us a little about Corsair.  Where did the idea for a pirate adventure come from?

CB: From being a pirate freak when I was a kid. I mean, who doesn't want to run away to sea, shoot the shit out of the Royal Navy and its hangers-on, court beautiful maidens and such (obviously, Rennie Harlin doesn't want to, since he directed that abysmal CUTTHROAT ISLAND, one of the  biggest bombs in history, with his then wife, Geena Davis). It's just a pity that the cycle is against pirate novels these days, so you've got to do them as fantasy.

JR: Where is the world of Gareth Radnor?

CB: Just below my third rib, down and to the left.

JR: (Laughing) That's an interesting location.  Do you plan to revisit this place?  I know I would like to read a sequel.

CB: Thank you. I'd like to do a sequel, too, someday.

JR: Will we ever find out where the Linyati originated?

CB: As soon as I figure it out. Maybe they're demons, maybe there's a more prosaic explanation, like they came down a wormhole.

JR: Though Corsair is the first of your novels I've read, it won't be the last.  Do all of your fantasy novels contain a touch of science fiction?

CB: No.

JR: How soon may we look for the next Chris Bunch novel?

CB: DRAGONMASTER has already been finished, and is sold into Great
Britain. I'm waiting for an American  market. As far as hard SF, August sees the fourth in the  LAST LEGION series, and sometime next year the STARRISK, ltd. series will begin. Both of these are from ROC.

JR:  You mention two series here.  Have you done others?

CB: I've done the STEN series, the SHADOW WARRIOR  trilogy, the FAR KINGDOMS trilogy, the SEER KING trilogy, the LAST LEGION series, the STARRISK, ltd., series, the DRAGONMASTER trilogy, and so forth.

JR: Do you plan to do a series involving any characters from your previous novels?

CB: Can't answer that.

JR: Do you ever write short stories, or has it always been novels?

CB: I do the occasional short story, generally for one or another of the DNA publications (ABSOLUTE MAGNITUDE, DREAMS OF DECADENCE, FANTASTIC, etc.)

JR: Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for beginning writers?

CB: Find a good, honest day job, like playing piano in a whorehouse. More fun, the tips are better, and the clientele is more civilized.

JR: Thank you so much for your time, and may you enjoy many more years of happy writing!

Chris Bunch at Time-Warner Books
Corsair: Free Chapter (You can find other free chapters of his titles there also)

Next month, we'll delve into the world of hard science fiction with David Hewson's new book, "Solstice."  Until then, happy reading!

Corsair by Chris Bunch
Reviewed by Jo Rogers
Warner Aspect - 2001
ISBN: 0-446-60946-3 - Paperback
406 pages -  $6.99 US
Buy a Copy

Corsair is a swashbuckling pirate fantasy, and a great yarn. I haven't read an adventure this appealing in quite a while.  It is mostly fantasy, yet there is a touch of science fiction here, for it clearly takes place on a world not our own.

Gareth Radnor would like to go to sea, but his father insists that is only son learns the family business, dullsville to Gareth.  However, today, he is going fishing with two of his friends, though he is still angry enough with his parents he doesn't even say goodbye.  While the three young men are fishing behind an island out of view of home, they see thick black smoke billowing out across the water, and decide to see what is burning.  To their horror, it is their village burning, and they see the Linyati slavers sailing away.  They stay out of sight until the slavers are gone, then head for home as fast as they can, to see what they can do for their village. 

What they find was a grisly sight.  Gareth's parents are dead, had died fighting the Linyati.  The body of one of the Linyati is found not far from the Radnor home.  But the parents of Knoll and Tom are missing, undoubtedly on their way to a life of slavery.

Gareth now wants to go to sea for an entirely different reason.  He wants to catch the slavers and put an end to their reign of terror.  They have often raided the coastal villages of Saros, and he wants them to pay for their crimes.

But no one seems to know much about the Linyati.  They're a brown skinned race while Gareth's people are white.  No one has ever seen a Linyati woman or child, only the men.  Since no one who had ever seen the Linyati homeland had returned to tell about it, there was no one Gareth could question.  All he had was the sure knowledge that they were vicious killers, and the rumor that they were not human. 

And he knew that, as long as he was an accountant in his uncle's merchant business, nothing would change.  For his uncle, Pol Radnor, absolutely refused to let him go to sea.

Gareth's frustration is palpable in this book.  But he does accomplish a part of his mission, through accidental good luck.  His courage is remarkable, his friends are the kind of friends that stick through thick and thin.  His girlfriend is just as loyal and adventure loving as Gareth himself.  There are passages of bloody battles in the book, and strong violence in the book, which makes it unsuitable for children, unless they have learned the difference between fiction and reality.  But it is a great pirate yarn, and one that begs to have a sequel.

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