The tribal Braxaná-created to become the ultimate warriors. The Azeans-raised to master the power of the mind. Two civilizations fighting an endless war over a long-forgotten cause. Now, after a century and a half, the legacy of their greatest military leaders threatens to tear apart both empires.
About the Author
An acknowledged master of Dark Fantasy, Celia Friedman is a John W. Campbell award finalist, and the author of the highly acclaimed Coldfire Trilogy, New York Times Notable Book of the Year This Alien Shore, In Conquest Born, The Madness Season, The Wilding and The Magister Trilogy. Ms. Friedman worked for twenty years as a professional costume designer, but retired from that career in 1996 to focus on her writing. She lives in Virginia, and can be contacted via her website, www.csfriedman.com.
Table of Contents
An Explorations Interview with C. S. Friedman
Paul Goat Allen: Celia, it's been almost two decades since the release of In Conquest Born. What was the motivation behind returning to this universe?
C. S. Friedman: Mostly a few key people making big puppy-dog eyes at me…for 18 years!
PGA: One characteristic about your novels that I particularly enjoy is the sheer density of thematic subject matter -- it's like brain food. What were some of the major themes that you wanted to explore in The Wilding?
CSF: As with In Conquest Born, the main theme is exploring consequences: What would we become as human beings if psychic power were made available? What would modern society be like if we gained technology before we cast off all our "barbaric" trappings? What would we become if we had the science to have children born any way we wanted them to be, including appearance? The ideas explored here are far from the only answers, but they show us how different our own world might be if certain things we now take for granted were to change. Beyond that, there is a theme that permeates all my work: Our world may change, but human beings do not. While I was working on In Conquest Born, someone I was telling about it regaled me with his own beliefs about how, if we were to gain telepathic ability, all war would end, because how do you keep secrets and hurt people when everyone knows everyone else's thoughts? I responded that in all ages, human nature has been essentially the same, and if psychic power were to develop, I had utter faith men would figure out ways to keep secrets, wage wars, and hurt one another -- as well as all the good stuff. That is really what all my books are about, the core of human nature and how it adapts to various challenges, both good and bad. I also like to think that each of my books enables the reader to experience something that does not exist in our universe. In In Conquest Born and The Wilding, I have attempted to create a vision of psychic ability that is compatible with what we understand of the human mind, and to give the reader a sense what it would be like to actually have such powers, as well as how they might be abused.
PGA: If given the choice to have psychic abilities like some of the characters in The Wilding, would you accept or decline, and why?
CSF: Sure, especially if I were the first one to be offered it. No need for cell phones!
PGA: How cool is it to have arguably the best artist in the genre, Michael Whelan, painting your book covers? And what are your feelings about The Wilding cover art?
CSF: It is the coolest thing since sliced bread, for sure. I hold my breath every time they ask him. Michael is a brilliant artist, and seeing what vision he came up with is like rediscovering my work. I think The Wilding is one of his best works. But I'm biased.
PGA: Any chance of another Azean/Braxin novel?
CSF: Absolutely not. Of course, I said that 18 years ago, so who knows?