Matthew Jarpe's first Novel, "Radio Freefall" was recently published by TOR Books. We used this novel to start off our book discussion group in January. A review of the this work can be found there. We encourage everyone to pick up a copy, not only to help out a new writer but also because it is a good read. In this interview you'll get to see a bit of the person behind "Radio Freefall." A number of the questions are about music, because mush of the novel revolves around a rock group, and especially their leader: Aqualung.
Did you play in a band at some point? If so, what instrument?
I play guitar for a band called the Snake Vendors, who exist only in Guitar Hero world tour. We enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, concluding with a fateful concert in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Then, tragically, I completely botched Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and got booed off the stage. I'm now contemplating taking my music in another direction, or taking up my old vocation as a space mercenary fighting the Metroids.
How old are you? I mean Tull is an old group to be pulling Aqualung from. How many young readers will know the reference. It's good by me though, Jethro Tull is one of my favorites. I've seen them in concert twice.
I have achieved the very important (in science fiction) age of 42. I listen to a lot of old junk. I used to have three or four Jethro Tull albums, including "The Broadsword and the Beast," which is one of my all time favorite album covers. I don't know how many kids will get the reference. Make them look it up. It will be good for them.
What is your favorite band?
Right this second, Spoon, but they're still so new (to me) that I haven't had a chance to get sick of them, yet. I've listened to a hell of a lot of Green Day, Nirvana, and the Ramones without ever getting sick of them, so I think they're going to stick.
What was the genesis for the Digital Carnivore?
The thought process is the same as I described in the book. I read something about artificial life and put that together with a computer virus and a long forgotten financial scam and asked, as science fiction writers do, where could this lead?
Are you planning a sequel?
No, I'm not a big fan of series, myself. Why would I inflict one on the rest of the world?
This is your first book. How long from the fist word jotted on a piece of paper until it was ready to submit for publication?
It took me about five years, but I had a lot of down time in there. The writing has to incubate for a while before you can look at it with fresh eyes again.
How long have you been writing before this book? As guess it would be better to ask for you "literary background?"
I started writing in high school, and you can guess how great that stuff was. When I was in graduate school, my mid 20's, I wrote most of a fantasy novel and gave up, then all of a movie script. By then I'd flushed a great deal of the suckage out of my system. (I'm afraid some of it still clings to the dark corners, you can never get rid of it completely). So I decided I was ready to tackle The Book I'd been thinking about on and off since college.
The relationship between Cheeseman and Quin is very much like that of Edwin Armstrong, the inverter of FM, and David Sarnoff, the president of RCA and is also similar to Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Did either of these stories influence Radio Freefall?
You know, I hadn't heard about either of those stories. I want to check them out, now. The whole "I'm smarter than my boss and I'm going to prove it to the world" story line is a common one. I wanted to explore how it might play out if they were both geeks with, shall we say, substandard social skills.
What are you working on now?
I've got two "slow boat to the stars gone horribly wrong" books in the works. Completely different stories but a similar setup. I'm not sure if this is a wise move for my career, but it's where the writing takes me.
We have to ask this, because it's tradition: Of the book that you published, which is your favorite?
My favorite book of my own is the one I haven't written yet. It's frigging brilliant.