Gun Runner, the Dragon Award winning sci-fi novel by me and John Brown is now out in paperback.
This was a really fun project, and it came about in a weird way. Basically this novel is everything a 10 year old boy thinks would be awesome in a sci-fi story, crammed into one book.
John and I started writing about the same time, and we had gone on book tour together so we’ve talked a lot about writing. We were asked to teach a class on plotting. Now normally in those sorts of things the authors are given some story elements from the audience, and then they take those and use them to plot a book on the fly, live, to demonstrate the process. Problem is, the audience loves to give authors really goofy shit, which we inevitably make work, but that wastes a lot of time, and we only had two hours.
So John and I got together a few days before, and he suggested rather than use plot suggestions from the audience, we get some in advance from one person, so they’d be coherent. My (at the time) 10 year old son was nearby, so I shouted at him, “Hey Joe, what’s cool stuff to have in a sci-fi story?”
And he immediately came back with “space pirates, giant robots, war, and monsters.” John and I were like, okay, we can work with that! Then while we talked about a plot using those elements, Joe sat there and drew pictures of the giant robots. (One of which John kept, which we stuck in the back of the book as an illustration)
Then we did the class and plotted out a whole story live in front of an an audience of about a hundred people in two hours. At the end the two of us looked at the dry erase board that had a cast and list of scenes from beginning to end, and we both said, yeah, I could actually write this.
Fast forward a few years, and Toni Weisskopf asked me if I had any new collaborations to pitch her. I pitched this one and Servants of War with Steve Diamond (which comes out next month).
Another funny anecdote about this one, anytime I do a collaboration with another writer I like to pick out an actor or someone we know for various characters, that way we are both visualizing the same person as we work. It keeps the collaborators on the same page.
One of those was Captain Nicholas Holloway, who is basically in charge of the smuggling crew, and our main character’s boss and mentor. We decided that we would use Nick Searcy for that role. (all around good dude).
Then when we were trying to name the ship, we wanted to have it be something North Carolina based (that’s where the captain was from) so we asked NC residents on Facebook for name suggestions. We were getting bunches of them, but then Nick himself chimed in, and said he’d name it The Tar Heel… Boom. The Captain has spoken. Tar Heel it is.
Because I like this setting, I’ve actually used it for two other projects as well. Lost Planet Homicide (novella) and A Tank Named Bob (short) are both set in the same universe as Gun Runner. (totally different planets, but all the tech works by the same rules). There is also two Easter eggs in Gun Runner related to another one of my series, but I leave those to astute readers to find, enjoy, and then extrapolate out and go “Oh shit… So that’s how that works.” 🙂
Anyways, Gun Runner is in paperback now. It is also on Audible narrated by Oliver Wyman (who also does Monster Hunter and Lost Planet Homicide). I hope you like it.
8 thoughts on “Gun Runner, now in Paperback”
Larry, I’ve read most of your work, and one of the things I enjoy is that each world has a completely different feel from the rest, while still being great stories. Gun Runner had kind of a space opera/cyberpunk vibe going on that really seemed to work it reminded me of some of the classic sci-fi stuff I read in the 80s (it’s sad that the 80s are considered “classic”, but there you are).
I just finished reading this one and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m hoping for a sequel some day.
I got the audiobook as soon as it came out and it was a magnificent listen. I am certainly hoping for more in that setting because both this and Lost Planet Homicide strongly suggest that there is so much more to the setting, and I want to know everything about it.
I am probably incredibly late to this particular party, but if anyone is at all wondering if John D. Brown’s stuff is worth reading: it absolutely is. I picked up Servant on the strength of this collaboration and I’m currently devouring it.
I agree. Its a good universe. I hope you or John or together write a another full novel in the setting.
So far everything has been rock solid.
Gun Runner was awesome but Lost Planet was James Bond super-cool
Fantastic book. Really enjoyed it, especially that last Mech on Mech fight scene. I had been anticipating a three way Mech on Mech on Kaiju fight, and what you had instead was great.
Great book, and That Reference to That Thing was very interesting . . . (don’t ask me, I won’t spoil it)
Finally found a bricks-n-mortar bookstore that had it in hardback a couple of month ago. Fun reading, although the action sequences left me a bit out of breath at times (guess I’m growing old). Felt like a cross between Harrison’s first Deathworld, Pournelle Falkenberg’s Legion series, and Jane’s Mobile Weapons of the Galaxy, circa 2415. Plenty of loose threads to pull or weave into sequels or spinoffs. I look forward to the next book.