Interview: Planet Oz by James C. Holder

planet ozPlanet Oz is a novel written by James C. Holder, which is currently on Kickstarter, a website that helps artists raise money to produce their art in return for cool perks to those who donate. I was intrigued by this project, so I asked James to tell us a little more. First, his description of the story:

Back Cover Blurb:
Dorothy expected to leave her adoptive family’s junkyard one day, just not through a wormhole. Worse, she proceeded to crash-land her uncle’s ship on a planet lost to the star-charts. With only her laser rifle and the ever-faithful T.O.W.T.O.H. by her side, Dorothy sets off to search this world of technological wonders for a way home.

Dorothy picks up three companions – a cyborg, a mutant, and an inhuman intelligence – along the way. She also manages to make enemies of the most feared despot on the planet. Worse than that, Dorothy hasn’t yet figured out that she’s running from herself faster than from anything else. Even a battle between giant robots cannot determine whether Dorothy will escape from Planet Oz.

Q and A
• Introduce us to the product your kick starter will fund.

Planet Oz: the Novel is a young adult sci-fi journey five years in the making. I’ve written the entire novel, started putting it through its editing paces, and now I need your help to get it printed and in the hands of those ready for a fantastic adventure! To clarify, I’m giving the book another serious editing pass before it goes to print, having received some amazing beta reader feedback since putting this project into motion, and have already started commissioning professional editing services.

• What makes the funding of this project so important to you?

I only got to where I am today, running a Kickstarter like this, because I realized that the amazing characters in the book came from inside of me. The same goes for anyone who can write a hero, and keep writing, as long as they finish what they start. I want to inspire young men and women to take charge of their lives, like the Dorothy in this book, and keep writing, until their perseverance makes their own creative dreams come true.

• If you could name one strength about this story, what is it?

I wrote the story almost entirely from Dorothy’s perspective, so we see her grow as a person from the inside out. We don’t just see the “why” of her transformation into a kinder, more mindful, more mature individual; we see the “how” that the reader can take to heart and act on themselves.

• What makes the integration of Oz characters essential to this story?

One central theme of the story is that other people are much more complicated and and different than we can imagine. The same goes for the original story itself! Did you know that, in the book, Dorothy’s magic slippers are silver, or that the Tin Man fought and killed a whole pack of ravenous wolves? I didn’t until I went back and read the original before writing Planet Oz.

We all have these false ideas that I want to bring to light, and not just about the Wizard of Oz and its characters. I want my readers to ask themselves, “What else have I gotten wrong all these years? Who else have I misunderstood in the way that Dorothy and her new friends misunderstood each other at first?” Bringing the classics into this new era of fiction helps me accomplish exactly that.

• What’s the setting for the story?

It begins on New Kansas, a “junk planet” littered with the salvageable fallout of intergalactic war. It soon moves to the planet Oz, a long-forgotten space colony ravaged by its own civil wars. The colonists took some of the most advanced technology known to mankind with them, however, and shaped the new homeworld in their own image.

• Is it Dystopian?

Yes. People live in fear of individuals empowered with alien super-tech. Mutants and bio-mechanical constructs roam the countryside. Brave soldiers give up their organic bodies to continue the fight against a totalitarian regime, while others escape into the false utopia of the city of Oz. Left on its current trajectory, Oz might regress to total barbarism.

The people of the planet have endured too much to give up now, though, even if they do not realize it yet. The right kind of outsider might just inspire insurrection against this oppression.

• How is Dorothy a modern-day character?

She’s strong-willed and determined, intent on taking whatever action she can to make her own way home. Dorothy and her laser rifle make their own direct contributions to the many battles that find her. Most of all, she’s a self-taught engineer. It wasn’t enough for Dorothy to put a little oil on this TIN Man; she plies her own wrench and soldering in getting him back online. Girls today can look to her for inspiration on how to make things happen.

• What kind of issues does she try and figure out within her character?

Dorothy’s too focused on herself. Back on New Kansas, she didn’t really appreciate how much she depended on her aunt and uncle until the wormhole took her away from them. She even takes her companions for granted at first, preoccupied with her own mission, before losing them in battle. By the end of the story, though, her inner world has grown much larger, encompassing those she meets as complete people.

• What types of cool science fiction tropes do you use?

Giant robots! (My personal favorite.) Transhumanism. Inhuman intelligence. Cyborgs, running battles with energy weapons, and the discovery of the new and just-created.

To everyone out there reading, I need your help to pay for the actual print run, along with the professional layout and editing services that will make Planet Oz into the best book it can be. Thank you!
Timothy C. Ward
Executive Producer

Timothy C. Ward has been podcasting since 2010, first as AudioTim, and now with AISFP. His first publication, Cornhusker: Demon Gene (A Short Story), is available on Kindle for $.99. He just turned in his novel to his editor, Joshua Essoe. Kaimerus is described as “Firefly crashes on Avatar and wakes up 28 Days Later.”

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About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for AISFP. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America's buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for updates on new releases.

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