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Part 2 of the Toonari Post interview with author Wesley Chu talks about the sequel called The Death of Tao as well as some of the motivations behind the storytelling and plot of The Lives of Tao. His tour dates, which both San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con, are sure to please fans on both sides of the coast who are eager to meet this debut author.
Toonari Post (TP): Beside the mental connection, are there any sort of alien powers that a host will eventually gain? Was it a conscious move to keep things as close to human ability level as possible?
Wesley Chu (WC): I think it depends on your definition of alien powers. Will any hosts with Quasing ever be able to fly, launch fireballs, or climb walls? No. It’s not that kind of story. Physically, the host never acquires any special abilities. This was a conscious choice and one of the first rules I created for this universe. I wanted Roen’s development to really be his own. There are no easy outs like in ‘Wanted’ or ‘Matrix’ where you have an inherent gene to be the ultimate assassin or a program to instantly make you an awesome operative. Roen had to train and earn his stripes to become an agent. No doubt Tao guided and cheerleaded him on, but I wanted him to own his achievements and failures.
However, having an infinitely wise alien has its own perks. For example, Tao invented Tai Chi, can speak dozens of languages, and can code in Java. And let’s not forget millions of years of experience in life, war, and wisdom to draw upon. That knowledge is as powerful of a super power as any I can think of.
(TP): Additionally, why did you choose to give the aliens the ability to feel emotions after their many thousands of years in human hosts?
(WC): The relationship between Roen and Tao isn’t one way. It’s not the alien ordering the pathetic human around all day. Sometimes, the alien does order the pathetic human around, but it’s the human’s decision to follow those orders. The Quasing can’t really control the body (unless under special circumstances) so they need to work together as a team.
Several of my beta readers pointed that out to me that sometimes the aliens act very human. If these aliens are all so old and wise, shouldn’t they act like all-wise beings? Now, I could have portrayed the Quasings like Vulcans, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in a symbiotic relationship, influence should spreadboth ways. If anything, I would think it’d be unnatural that after thousands of years interacting with humans, the Quasings didn’t get some human cooties rubbed on them.
(TP): How has the fan reception been so far?
(WC): The early reviews are just rolling in and fan support has been fantastic. You never realize how much fan enthusiasm and feedback means to a writer until it’s your book that they’re talking about. So please, hit me up on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook; I’d love to hear from you.
(TP): When can readers expect a sequel to this sci-fi tale?
(WC): Due to some early fantastic reviews for The Lives of Tao, the ill-tempered robot overlords have bumped the release date of The Deaths of Tao up from February to October 29, 2013. The book is currently on my editor’s desk lock, loaded, and ready to go. As for the third book, well, it depends on how well the first two are received. So remember people, only you can make The Rebirth of Tao (title tbd) happen!
(TP): Will the second book also feature Roen’s character in keeping with a thriller style book or will Lives of Tao vol.2 add another character to Tao’s long history? If the next book is a different character, will it be a female protagonist?
(WC): The second book will still have Roen as the protagonist, but he’s got company.The sequel has three concurrent plotlines. Besides Roen, there will be a female protagonist. She’s a political operative maneuvering within the ranks of Congress as a high ranking aide to a Senator. Her job is to promote legislation friendly toward Prophus initiatives and to prevent the Genjix from taking over the US government.
Enzo, the last POV is the new antagonist. He’s a real son of a b***h if I may say so myself. An Adonis Vessel, he’s a genetically chosen human nurtured to be the perfect vessel for the Genjix. Intelligent, ruthless, and a physical specimen (like the quarterback, valedictorian, AND homecoming king of your high school), he’s f-ing better than you and he’ll make sure you know it. He does have some flaws though…
(TP): What are your convention tour dates? I’m sure the fans will want to meet you!
(WC): It’s my debut year so I’m trying to do it right. Here’s my entire convention schedule for 2013. Please, feel free to hit me up any time and say hi. If you wish to challenge me to a duel, I only fight with rope darts or in a game of Munchkin.
Wiscon May 25-27 Madison
SDCC July 18-21 San Diego
Readercon Jul 11-14 Boston
GenCon Aug 15-18 Indianapolis
Lonestarcon Aug 29-Sep 2 San Antonio
NYCC Oct 11-14 NYC
World Fantasy Con Oct 31- Nov 3 Brighton, UK
Image credit: Chuforthought.com