Claire Buss is a science fiction writer whose first book The Gaia Effect won a publication prize. Her sequel, The Gaia Project, continues the story of Jed, Kira, and the array of characters in a world set two centuries into the future.
You have a husband and wife as main characters. Tell us a little about them?
Jed was a Force Detective but at the beginning of book 2 he is promoted to Captain of City 42 Guard and gets sent on a diplomatic mission to City 15.
Kira is an Archivist.
From what I remember, themes include genetic engineering, right? Do you continue in that vein or is there focus on other stuff in the sequel?
No, not really – it’s more about hope in a dystopian setting. Man has screwed up but there’s still a little light at the end of the tunnel. The Gaia Project though is my Empire (Star Wars) in the trilogy – it’s when the bad guys fight back!
So do you have a chief villain running through the trilogy? Tell me about the bad guys.
In book 1 we knew them as Corporation. They were in charge of everything, they ran the city, the healthcare, the child allocation, the food supplies, education, training, tech etc etc but during Book 1 we discover Corporation have been deliberately keeping the population sterile. A radical terrorist movement blows up their tech building which leads to city-wide riots and all the Corporation Board governors being murdered. Remaining city officials step forward to create an interim government and hold a vote. Martha Hamble, one of my main characters becomes the new governor.
In Book 2, Corporation retaliate as New Corp – they’re more high tech, crueller and less worried about being the kind, caring government body that looks after you and are more interested in wiping out any opposition and keeping the remaining populace under their control with new technology, neural implants – designed to make you easier to control.
What about world-building etc? How do you go about it? Is Kira’s archivist role important there?
Kira’s role as Archivist is handy because she knows about the different cities – or at least she knows some of what Corporation allow them to know. She also knows more about the historical way of life (i.e. today) as the book is set about 200 years in the future.
In Book 2 we visit more cities – City 15, City 36 & City 9 and my characters have to start looking for a way off their island to try and get to some kind of safety.
The subtle tech assists are still in the story making life easier. The Daily Sweeps – a futuristic version of Twitter – is still a prominent feature.
And do we know yet what caused the radiation attack 150 years ago?
Yes, well I do. It was called The Event and it was a war using high energy radiation weapons that damaged the Earth so badly the remains of humanity were divided into 50 cities – that’s all we know at the moment.
So this sequel is the evil empire making a comeback?
The Gaia Project is my Empire (Star wars ref lol). Corporation are fighting back after the events of Book One and my MCs’ future is really uncertain.
Sounds like a good read, Claire. Thanks for the chat.