Novelist Graham Storrs’ first novel was published on February 15th by lyricalpress. This week, as part of his blog tour, we are featuring an interview with the main antagonist, a psychotic killer named Sniper.
An exciting near-future thriller set in a post-depression Europe where two young people must fight to save millions from destruction by a time-travelling terrorist who is the willing pawn of his criminal backers.
Two young people, Jay and Sandra, each traumatised in their different ways by their involvement in the youth cult of timesplashing, struggle to bring down Sniper, the glamorous cult-figure who turned a one-time extreme sport into a deadly weapon for sale to the highest bidder. From the Berlin of 2049 to Edwardian London, they track the man who destroyed and defined their lives. But Sniper has powerful backers and all the police and security forces of Europe can’t stop him. In the end, Sandra and Jay are all that stand between Sniper and the achievement of his greatest and most devastating timesplash.
It’s early morning and the bistro is almost devoid of customers. In a corner, a blond man of striking composure and looks, is talking to someone who is a caricature of a young cub reporter, which indeed is what he is. Sitting at the tables around the pair and with their backs to them are security guards, intently scanning the empty room. Outside the window another stands, watching the street. The reporter smiles and reaches forward to activate the recorder that sits on the table.
?| It’s just awesome to be talking to you, the world shaking Sniper, ever since Ommen there’s not been anybody that can pull off the lobs that you do, and survive to brag about it. So tell our readers, what’s your best experience in a lob? And your worst?
Sniper| World shaking is right! Those guys in Beijing, they were good, you know, but if you don’t come back alive, if you kill everybody on your team, you’re just not good enough. When you’re back there – way back, like I was at Ommen – the world is just crazy. Space and time are so screwed up, nothing makes much sense. Things can go backwards, or in a loop.
Spatial relationships change at random, local density can change so you sink into the ground, or fall through a wall. There is chaos everywhere.
Buildings collapse, people are screaming and running. It’s amazing! But if you want the splash to be good – and I mean really good – you’ve got to be part of the chaos and do what you can to make it worse. Ommen was good, even though a friend of mine died. And that crazy bitch Patty…
You know they locked her up in a loony bin, then they let her escape?
Can you believe that? She’s stalking me, you know. Trying to kill me. I know she’s out there. I know you’re out there you mental case! I’m ready for you! If you’re reading this, you’d better be scared, ’cause I’m waiting for you, Patty.
?| Er, right, and you’ve been in the timesplash scene since pebble flips. How’d you get started and what makes you so good at what you do?
?|What drives Sniper?
Sniper | Yes. Of course. The first time I went to a splashparty, the first time I saw the bricks up there in the cage, ready to go back and make it all happen, that’s when I knew I had to be one of them. When I looked into the faces of the crowd, heard them screaming for those bricks, felt the adoration, the hero worship… I was seventeen and all I had was my ambition. I knew nothing about the scene back then. It took me months to get my first lob. I’ll tell you why I’m so good. It’s because I love it so much. I love knocking the world to the ground and kicking it until it submits. The world needs a good kicking don’t you think? Well I have found that if you kick it hard enough and long enough it loses its veneer of propriety and gentility and reveals its true self, the screaming, deranged whore that lies beneath the surface. And, of course, I have Klaatu.
? |Yes Klaatu, “The” Uber-Teknik, we must talk about him as well but it is the name “Sniper” that is on the lips of the world. As you said, others have the technology, others have tried, others have died trying. Yet you have managed repeatedly to get the people, equipment, organisation, backing all coming together in one place at the right time and one, if not two steps ahead of the law. Tekniks that have worked for you say that the Sniper that drives the build is a driven genius, a master of planning and detail, that the serious side is different from the chaos loving face in the cage. Will you tell us a bit about putting everything together during a build?
Sniper | Ha! They say I am a genius, eh? That is good. Very good. But, you know, making a splash happen is about getting the right team. Once you have that, the rest is just pointing everyone in the right direction and keeping them focused on the work. And I have learned this, if you are the best, the best will want to work with you. Klaatu came to me because he could see that. World-class bricks, like Edna and T-800 would rather work on my timesplashes than lead their own. Yes, there is a lot of detail. Making a splash means organising people, getting the logistics right, knowing how to prioritise shit, keeping your network sensitive to the possibility of trouble. But the big thing is to want it, to want it more than anything, and to make it happen no matter what it costs.
? | After you broke your first record in 2045, your poster went up on bedroom walls all over the world, even in America, and the sponsorship deals followed. I even bought my first com-patch because it was the same as yours, but that’s all stopped now since the law changed and companies won’t associate themselves with splashing, apart that is, from viral net vids. Do you ever want the old splash days back?
Sniper | Ah, don’t get me started! Those were good times. The money was easy. Living was easy. Now everything is hard. You would shudder at the kind of people we have to deal with to get funding now – crooks and terrorists, religious loonies and rogue governments! They all want to use me! They all think they can buy a piece of me! Old guys with ancient axes to grind. I don’t give a shit about what they want, but I need their money. Timesplashing was always expensive. Now it is a very rich man’s sport! Do I miss the old days? I’ll tell you what, those stupid politicians who keep passing their stupid laws are just making things worse. When it was all out in the open, we could push the envelope just a bit each time, go back a bit farther, make just a little bit bigger splash. We were all competing, true, but in a smaller way. Now you have to push it as far as you possibly can. There aren’t so many bricks now, but each of us knows the cops might get us at any moment and each splash might be our last. So that means we have to make each splash count. It has to be so big and so bad that no-one else can ever do it again. They brought it on themselves those people who criminalised what we do.
? | You have had the most beautiful women in the world wanting to be your bitch, and even if they make it, most don’t last long. The other year, fourteen ex-bitches got together and produced the calendar “Sniper Bitches” and it out sold all other calendars in that year, I think it is still selling. So given all that, what would a girl have to have, to be perfect for you?
Sniper |Yeah, I saw that calendar. I got a copy for everyone on the team. They’re looking a bit old now, eh, some of those girls? I suppose making a calendar is easier than trying to make their money on the streets when you’re past your best. Listen, I don’t want to boast, but I’ve had a lot of girls. After a while, you start to realise they’re all the same. There isn’t a perfect girl. Some of them look better than the rest, that’s all, some of them are more eager to please. You know that film, The Stepford Wives? Hey, maybe I’ll get Klaatu to build me one! He could do it, don’t you think?
? | Klaatu is known as being the best Teknik in the world and being teamed up with him has helped you with your fantastic splashes, but sometimes the two of you appear almost as enemies and at other times as inseparable mates. How did you two get together and is the technology as important as the Brick?
Sniper | Without a good teknik there can be no lob. Without a good brick there can be no splash. But with Klaatu and me it is more than that. To be the best in the world, I need him to send me farther and farther back.
No-one else can do what he does. The boy is a genius! But he needs me too. If he wasn’t working with the best, he would never get the chance to push the boundaries the way he does. I picked him up off the streets, you know? A snot-nosed kid with big ideas. Now I’ve made him a household name. He owes me big, and I think he knows that.
? | We all know you can’t reveal your identity or the police will use it to track you down, but the word is that Sniper hails originally from Germany. Did the young Sniper have a traditional German family, loving Mutter und Vater, or was there a harder childhood?
Sniper | I don’t want to talk about that. My father was a worm and my mother… I don’t want to talk about it.
? | Have to ask, just have to. Have you ever gone back and shot your Mother?
Sniper | You know, there’s an interesting thing about timesplashing that people learned back in the early days. You don’t shoot your father, or your grandfather, ’cause sometimes it’s a waste of time. You don’t get the paradox you wanted, you see, because sometimes dear old Mutti has been playing around. You’d be surprised how often that happens. You can’t trust women. Even your own mother. I can’t think of a single one of them who doesn’t deserve to… Look, I said I don’t want to talk about this.
? | At Ommen you took your Bitch Patty with you, and she managed to come back alive but the lob mangled her brain, so what goes on inside a Sniper mind that allows you to survive all the lobs you’ve done and still think straight?
Sniper | It was a mistake taking her. She was like, “Oh no, don’t shoot that poor little baby!” Women have no place on a splash. They don’t see the bigger picture. It all fixes itself up afterwards. The timeline is self-healing. You can do what you like, kill who you like. The more the better! None of it matters. It’s about having a good time. It’s about the rush. I never feel so alive as when I’m back there. It’s like I’m the Lord of Chaos, destroying the world with my own hands. There is no feeling like it. Nothing.
? | I heard that on the bigger splashes the paradoxes are getting so large that causality loops are causing echoes during the splash and you can meet yourself on the same timeline and that things can react in new and unpredictable ways. Is there a physical limit to a splash even if the new formulas have infinitely increased the lob?
Sniper | Yeah, the limit is how much energy you can put into the lob. In theory, you can go back as far as you like, but the energy requirements go up very steeply. In reality, you get to go back maybe three or four hundred years, but the farther back you go, the less time you get to spend there before you’re yanked back. If you only get a few minutes at the other end, you’d better be sure your target is right there when you arrive so you can shoot them without wasting any time. Then, when you get back, you better have a rocket ship waiting to get you clear of the backwash or you’re a dead man! No, about 100 years is a good lob to aim for. You can do plenty of damage and still have time to get clear. Of course, that would take a really good brick. Me, I might try for 150 years. Now that would be cool!
? | You’ve loads of muscle protecting you these days, and since Ommen, the police have been after you for two years, do they stand any chance of capturing the Sniper?
Sniper | The police couldn’t find their own arses with both hands! Every security service on the planet is after me, every police force in every country, Eurpol and Interpol. It’s like watching the Keystone Cops. That madwoman they let escape has more chance of finding me than they do.
? | The net is on fire with rumours that someone will break the hundred year lob barrier, and all the betting is that you are the Brick to do it. Is there a hint for us of what the Sniper master plan is or how long we are going to have to hold our breath?
Sniper | I’ll tell you this, and any cops reading this should pay attention. There’s a big splash coming. Bigger than anything you’ve ever seen yet. Bigger than you can imagine. It won’t be long now. I’m going to do it right under everybody’s noses. No-one will have a clue until the buildings start falling down around their ears. And I guarantee you, no other brick will have the balls, or the skill, to do what I’m about to do. Never again. What I’m planning will make me a legend, the one that every other brick will try to live up to forever.
The guard outside the window taps on the glass, suddenly the reporter is alone.
TimeSplash Virtual Book Tour (Blog Tour)
This interview is part of the virtual book tour running from 16th of February to the 5th of May. To find out more about the book, characters, Graham, publication and inside information about writing the story, go to the virtual book tour schedule page at “TimeSplash – The Blog Tour 2010″
About Graham Storrs
Graham Storrs is someone who thinks a lot about the future. It’s a place we’re all going, whether we like it or not, a place where we, our children and their children will have to deal with changes we can barely imagine. Some of us can’t wait to get there, to see what it’s like, and how we will cope. That’s why Graham writes science fiction – he wants to know what happens next in this amazing story we’re all living.
After a career in research and software design, Graham has turned his gaze firmly to the far horizons and now lives and writes on a remote mountain-top in rural Australia. Surrounded by gum forests and wild animals, he relies on his wife, Christine, and their Airedale terrier, Bertie, to keep him anchored in the present.
Released: February 15, 2010 · Lyrical Press Inc.
Purchase: TimeSplash can be bought as an eBook direct from the publisher, by clicking on “Buy now”.
e-Book: All six popular formats supplied with each purchase
Price: US $ 5.50,