Writing. Culture. Politics. Wandering.
Welcome to the Desert of Man, blogging home to Science Fiction reader and experimenting writer Mack Meijers. From time to time I open the stage to other creative souls to shine a spotlight on them as human beings, their thinking and their work. This time the light shines on Alexes Razevich facing the Spotlight Questions and featuring Khe.
Shall we begin?
Alexes Razevich was born in New York and grew up in Orange County, California. She attended California State University San Francisco where she earned a degree in Creative Writing. After a successful career on the fringe of the electronics industry, including stints as director of marketing for a major trade show management company and as an editor for Electronic Engineering Times, she returned to her first love–fiction. She lives in Southern California with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys playing hockey and travel.
Neither “man in space” science fiction nor classical fantasy, Khe deftly blends elements of both while satisfying those searching for something different. Readers looking for solid world-building and fresh and fully-realized characters will especially enjoy this book.
You can get it right here!
What was the challenge of this project?
The greatest challenge in writing Khe was working in a world with no human characters. Not only did the entire world—society, family relations, methods of reproduction, foods eaten—have to be developed solely from imagination, but the characters—two sets of alien species—had to be distinct and unique, yet close enough to us that the reader could relate.
I hope I’ve pulled it off.
Where was the fun in this project?
For writers, I think the best part of any project is getting to know and live with your characters. It was such fun to discover how clever and determined Khe was, and to watch her come into her own.
What do you think is the best way to share a story?
I’m a big fan of stories that transport me to another world, whether it be a classic “different world” in science fiction or fantasy, a story set in another country, or a society other than my own. I like to know what people think and feel, and how they work out the way to live their lives.
Do you think you could survive in the wild, on your own?
Not a chance. Which is ironic since my character, Khe, has to survive on her own in the wilderness, and the main character in my work-in-progress is abandoned in the rainforest with little more than a nearly empty can of bug spray and some fishing line. I’m strictly a hot showers and flush toilets kind of person.
How do you get up every morning?
Bleary-eyed. Full of wanting to get things done with a brain that is mostly mush. Thank goodness for caffeine!
What is the best thing a friend has ever done for you?
This may not be the sort of answer you’re looking for, but I’d have to say it was my husband, who gave me the gift of our two children.
Have you ever failed? What did you learn from the experience?
I fail several times a day. I fail when the perfect line won’t come, or when I can’t for the life of me figure out what happens next in a story. I failed ten years ago when first Khe and then another book I’d written and didn’t sell to traditional publishers—despite editors gushing—because my stories didn’t fall into easily marketable categories. What I learned was to be patient. To keep traveling the path that is clearly your own. And to love Indie publishing.
Given the chance, how would you travel the world, where, and why?
I love to travel. I will go anywhere, any time—just give me a moment to pack my bag. I’m the sort who likes to linger. None of this twelve countries in ten days stuff for me. In a perfect life, I would move from country to country, spending months, or a year, or more in each, getting to know the people, the language, what and how they celebrate, the daily routines. This, I think, would be bliss
What place has technology in your life?
Technology has allowed me to be a writer. I never could work a typewriter. My fingers were too big and clumsy, the keys all jammed, and I’m not much of a speller. Computers freed me. The Internet has made research so much easier than back in the day when I’d hoof down to the library with my note pad and long list of things I needed to look up. I love my smart phone—a library in my purse, full of novels and music.
If your life was a book, who would you like to write it?
Other than myself? The late Kurt Vonnegut, I think—a man of great humor and deep underlying kindness.
What place has knowledge in your world?
Knowledge is like love, you can never get too much.
“Nervous?” Pradat asked.
I nodded. Who wouldn’t be nervous, hooked to fourteen machines designed to test, calibrate, and analyze the very essence of her being? Expected to perform what
Thedra had begun calling, ‘the Lunge commune miracle’? Plenty nervous is how I felt.
“Afraid you won’t be able to do as well as you did yesterday?” Pradat asked as she twirled a lever on one of her machines. The machine answered her touch with a string of blips and snarls that made my skin crawl.
“No,” I said, staring down at my fingers that rubbed against each other as though they had lives of their own. I wasn’t afraid that I wouldn’t do as well. My fear came from knowing I could duplicate yesterday’s results. And do better. The proof of the kiiku, the preslets, and the awa trees convinced me. Knowledge of my power surged through my blood, tissue, muscle, and bone.
I felt two of my emotion spots flare bright green with pride, and another glow muddy gray with fear. I looked up, worried that the others would see my feelings, but no one paid attention to me. Not even Tav, whose eyes were stuck on the motions of Pradat’s hands on the machines. My emotions quieted enough for the spots to vanish, but dread still crept through me like ice spreading in my belly.
So much was unknown—how the community would react, what the ability might mean to my future. Was I to become a traveling freak, transported from research center to research center, performing my miracles on demand?
It wasn’t not being able to perform that frightened me.
“Ready?” Pradat asked.
I drew a deep breath, straightened my back and answered, “Yes.”
The machinery on the floor and tables surrounding where I sat glowed red, yellow, and blue. The blips and snarls quieted to a high-pitched hum that tickled the insides of my ear holes, making them itch. Pradat handed me the first covered bowl.
Bowing my head, I swirled the cerulean liquid in gentle currents, wondering what sort of little plants or beasts lived in the water, what they wanted from their lives. No more than I wanted—a pleasant place to live, food, companionship, and to leave their mark by reproducing.
I put my full concentration to the task. Remembering the joy and glory of mating during Resonance, in my mind I told the little organisms how lucky they were to have the chance to live and reproduce. I told them that if they wanted, I would help them with their task, if I could. I told them how happy helping them made me. When I felt I’d done all that I could, I handed the bowl back to Pradat.
“Seventeen percent above normal,” Pradat said when she finished the count. Her voice held no excitement or disappointment to help me know her expectations. She tapped the information into a thin device on her wrist.
While I’d been holding the bowl, Pradat had watched the machines, noting the blips, gains, and dips of my physiological changes while I’d worked. She recorded this information as well, but said nothing about what the machines told her.
I spent most of the day in that room, endlessly repeating the same act with various organisms. As I tired out, the rates of increased dropped but never so low as normal.
Finally, seeing that I was exhausted, Pradat sent me back to my dwelling.
At the door, Tav squeezed my shoulder. Her dark eyes gleamed.
“Oh, Khe,” she said. “Think of the good you can do for Lunge commune.”
You can get it right here!
Thank you, Alexes Razevich, for your openness and your work!
Are you a creative soul with a focus is on the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action & Adventure and Mystery & Thrillers, including their respective sub categories (Steampunk, Survival, Horror)?
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