Sage Walker Discusses SF and The Man in the Tree


Cover detail from The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker.

Science fiction has ever been the possibility of what can be.

Taking that idea to its far-reaching conclusion, there are a lot of possibilities for the future direction of humanity — and most of them are pretty dark. But that is the power of storytelling, to illuminate the hope and possibility of the future.

The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker is one of those wonderful science fiction novels that drives the reader to think while being wholly enjoyable in its read. Our planet is dying and the world’s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet. Everything is set for a bright adventure… and then someone is found hanging dead just weeks before the launch. Fear and paranoia spread as the death begins to look more and more like a murder. The authorities want the case settled quickly and quietly so as not to cause panic… and to prevent a murderer from sabotaging the entire mission.

It’s that kind of story that opens up a lot of questions — about law, and justice, and finding a balance between what is best for humanity versus what is best for the individual. The perfect kind of story for those who love science fiction!

Read more about the novel from Sage Walker, interview below!

Read on!

Unbound Worlds: The Man in the Tree is published now. Tell Unbound Worlds readers about the book and how you came to basically destroy Earth?

Sage Walker: Didn’t. Earth is wounded but struggling along. It’s hard to call what acidified oceans will do to the biosphere, but I left a population of three billion, with major population shifts to potentially arable northern and southern land masses.

UW: When beginning the work on The Man in the Tree, where did you begin? Did you have your main character first? Or did the overall story of having to leave a dying world come first? Or did the murder come first?

SW: Slow boat travel to another world came first, because although I love the convenience of ftl, faster-than-light travel, I’m tired of waiting for the real thing. We are tough critters and we are good at adapting to difficult environments, but we tend to play the “selfish gene” card by killing each other off. The limitations of surviving a journey in the No Exit environment of a hollow asteroid put some restraints on that time-tested strategy. Using a murder early in the game to stress the system left the problem manageable, and my solution guy got drafted for the job of solving it. He insisted on being a complex and flawed Human Bean and I love him. I’m in love with him. Whatever.

UW: Looking at our current political and ecological climate, do you think humanity will have it within itself to plan a trip to the stars that saves it?

SW: It’s tempting to give up hope, but there may be an intersection point when increases in available technology and decreases in available planetary (and perhaps belt) resources make a star-crosser possible and pertinent.

UW: Bestselling science fiction writer Greg Bear blurbed The Man in the Tree as “Rapid-fire storytelling from start to finish!” High praise, indeed. What does it mean to you to have a writer of Bear’s caliber not only blurb your book but love it?

SW: Greg was extremely generous and I am deeply grateful. I was lucky enough to be a student of his at Clarion West. Hint to the wise — Greg Bear knows Craft Secrets and can tell you how to get your very own Magic Decoder ring, so if he’s willing to teach somewhere, go sign up, okay?

UW: What’s next for Sage Walker? More science fiction? Something else? Spill!

SW: Science fiction, and if there’s another book it will probably be told by someone who is alive during one of the seven generations of Kybele’s journey.

The Man in the Tree by Sage Walker is in fine bookstores now!

Be careful on your space adventure!