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Beyond The Words, Past
A Science Fiction / Fantasy Column
By Courtney Skelton   

The Tabernacle of Legion
By Kevin Schillo

The Tabernacle of Legion is one great read! I found it to be less of a science fiction story and much more of a story of space exploration. True, it does have elements in it that have not happened that lend to the science fiction category, but mostly it shows how small earth is in the universe, and with a few well placed “what if” questions, expands all kind of possibilities to the reader. One personal reason I liked it, the story stands on its own merit. It does not rely on references of any other book or movie for references. There are no movie analogies. Above all, Kevin Schillo has achieved every writers dream. He wrote this book in a way that through words, you can visualize everything happening. It was so good, that while I had originally planned on reading it in two weeks, I ended up reading in a day over one week. To all fans of space exploration, I recommend this read.

Kevin has taken time out of his extremely busy schedule to grant this exclusive interview to give some insight on the making of his first book.

 

Corky- First, congratulations on a well written book. How did you come up with the idea of the story?

Kevin-I’ve thought about this story for a very long time. And it did not come to me all at once. I went through many iterations of the story I wanted to tell. Years ago I wrote enough material for at least several books and wrote it all very quickly. But then one day I took a more critical view of what I had and was appalled at the poor quality of it. The story, the characters, plot, all of it was beyond terrible and I would have just embarrassed myself if I had released that. I ended up throwing out everything I had written and started from scratch. I thought my next iteration was far better, but unfortunately I found it also be too poorly written when I examined it more critically. This process repeated several more times before I finally came up with the story that became The Tabernacle of Legion.

I always knew that I wanted to write a hard sci-fi story. This has always been my favorite genre, which I partly attribute to my desire to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.

I also feel that hard sci-fi is underrepresented in science fiction as a whole. Popular works of science fiction like Star Trek and Star Wars have next to no respect for actual science or engineering. As an aerospace engineer, I can’t help but watch such shows and movies and be appalled at the horrible science presented onscreen. Some argue that scientific accuracy can be sacrificed for the sake of good storytelling, but I don’t believe this needs to be the case. I feel that the real reason why the science in movies and TV shows is often so terrible is simply because the people who make such pieces of entertainment rarely, if ever, having any science background at all, and have never bothered to learn about real science.

Another thing that I particularly hate in science fiction are aliens that have nonsensical goals. Too often, you see alien invasion stories where the aliens have no justifiable reason to invade Earth. What I really wanted was to tell a hard sci-fi story about contact with aliens with highly advanced technology and explore what their motivations might be and what, if anything, they might want from humanity.

 

Corky- The story takes several twists and turns (a couple of shockers as a matter of fact), did you have this all planned out, or did the story develop those turns on its own?

Kevin- A combination. When I finally settled on the story I wanted to tell in The Tabernacle of Legion, I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to happen in this book and what will happen in the sequels. But there were a handful of things that I thought of during the writing process that I had not originally planned in advance. None of these change the final outcome of the story, but I hope that they enhance the reading experience.

If you read my book carefully, you’ll see foreshadowing of what will happen in the story and some things that will happen in the sequels. There is one line uttered by a certain character (I won’t say who it is or what they say) that foreshadows a major twist that I have planned for the sequel. I thought up this particular twist while I was in South Africa and nearing completion of The Tabernacle of Legion. I hope that readers will enjoy what I have in store for them.

 

Corky- As I read it, I really could not see any writing style that I have read in the past. Who would you credit as your biggest influence as to how you wrote this?

Kevin- If I had to pick one author, I would have to say Stephen Baxter. He is by no means perfect, but I love his books. I would definitely say he’s one of the best hard sci-fi authors out there.

 

Corky- Some of the scenarios lend to things that have not happened yet. Having said that, do you see us making the technological advances mentioned in your book within our lifetime?

Kevin-I want to believe that all of the technologies I envision in my novel will become a reality in my lifetime. But I have a large amount of cynicism to counterbalance the optimism I express in my novel. You always hear about all of the incredibly technological advances that are being made all the time, but it could be argued that for much of history, this has not been the case for space travel. For example, many of the NASA engineers who worked on the Apollo program believed they would work on the first manned Mars mission. None of them could have imagined they would not come anywhere close to achieving this over the ensuing decades. But I can’t allow myself to believe that it will be like this forever. I have to believe that brilliant engineers will one day return astronauts to the Moon and that humans will walk on Mars in the near future. This is why I was compelled to pursue a career in engineering and help push the boundaries of spaceflight technologies. I will not sit idly by and hope that others will create the future in my novel. I will help make it a reality.

 

Corky- Do you have anything else you are working on that you plan on releasing that our MYSHELF readers would want to read?

Kevin-I’m in the process of writing my next novel, “The Wayfarer.” It’s another hard sci-fi novel about contact with highly intelligent alien life. This novel is set closer in the future and has less speculative technology than what I have in The Tabernacle of Legion. I have already posted the first chapter of this book in my “Future Scope” anthology on Amazon. I hope to complete the book in a few more months. I am also writing the sequel to The Tabernacle of Legion, which I also hope to complete soon.

 

Corky- Lastly, if your readers get one thing out of your book, what would you want it to be?

Kevin-I would want them to enjoy reading my book and be inspired by the future I envision.

Be sure to visit Kevin on Facebook


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