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An interview with Sam Sykes

Sam Sykes is the author of The Aeons’ Gate trilogy, a vast and sprawling story of adventure, demons, madness and carnage.  Suspected by many to be at least tangentially related to most causes of human suffering, Sam Sykes is also a force to be reckoned with beyond literature. Here at Fantasy Book Review we have read the first two books in The Aeons' Gate trilogy, Tome of the Undergates (8.9/10) and Black Halo (7.6/10), while the third book, Skybound Sea, was listed as one of our most anticipated reads for 2012.

Bored one Saturday afternoon having finished writing Skybound Sea, Sam was soliciting bloggers for interviews in an attempt to brighten up his day, so Ryan Lawler duly obliged. The following impromptu interview took place on Twitter (@SamSykesSwears and @RyanL1986), so expect some short questions and even shorter responses.

Sam Sykes: I am bored. Bloggers, lets do interviews.

Ryan Lawler: Ok, first question. Who is Sam Sykes?

Sam Sykes: A huge jerk.

Ryan Lawler: Where is Sam Sykes?

Sam Sykes: Seventh circle. Got himself a real nice pad here. Rent's a bitch, so rooms with the centaurs.

Ryan Lawler: I imagine Centaurs must be a pain in the ass to live with. What inspires Sam Sykes?

Sam Sykes: Everything. Everything at all times. All that is or ever was. The need to tell the story is what inspires. Also beer.

Ryan Lawler: So how do you translate your need to tell a story into words on the page? Has it gotten any easier for Skybound Sea?

Sam Sykes: Amazingly so. My lunatic enthusiasm was tempered with age and experience.

Ryan Lawler: In your post "Girls Gone Moral", you talk about moral complexity. Is there still a place for "pure" good vs evil stories?

Sam Sykes: Tricky. The reason morality should be presented as multifaceted is because the story's aim should be to explore those moralities and how those moralities affect the characters. You could make the argument that you could do a pure good vs evil conflict, but it would be largely an exploration of how good vs evil works or how good and evil affect characters, which is a foregone conclusion.

Ryan Lawler: So multifaceted morality is part of what makes us human. Do you think the same rules apply to non-human characters?

Sam Sykes: That's sort of the core of it, isn't it? That's how the story becomes multifaceted in its morality. If the non-humans have  different way of looking at things, can justify their viewpoints, have logic behind their motives, are they wrong because they aren't human? It's that question that enhances the characters and the world at the same time. So, yes, non-human characters are capable of multifaceted morality. Their culture should be represented and explored.

Ryan Lawler: When can we expect to see Skybound Sea?

Sam Sykes: Skybound Sea will be out in a few months.

Ryan Lawler: Who else in fantasy should we be reading right now?

Sam Sykes: Saladin Ahmed is hot shit.

Our Sam Sykes reviews

Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes

"And I felt like I was choking on my own blood again. I felt like I was drowning on dry land. I felt like I wanted to tear my throat out so I could breathe again. I felt like I wanted to take out my gun and start shooting until things made sense."Well, fuck. If this isn't my jam, I don't know what is!Sal the Cacophony (rad name, yeah?) felt as though she was a part of my soul. I related to her in many ways... for awhile there, I was feeling personally attacked! Goddamn. Sarcastic, sweary, tattooed, self-deprecating, a bit surly yet trying to remain optimistic [...]

9.5/10

Read our full review

Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes

Adventurer.The name never uttered without scorn, they are long loathed for their knowledge of nothing beyond violence and greed and their utter disregard for human life, least of all their own.And Lenk, a young man with a sword in his hand and a voice in his head, counts them as his closest company.Charged with retrieving the Tome of the Undergates, a written key to a world long forgotten by mankind and home to creatures determined to return, Lenk is sent after ancient evangelical demons, psychotic warrior women and abominations lost to myth.  Against them, he has [...]

8.5/10

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Black Halo by Sam Sykes

Sam Sykes’ first book Tome of the Undergates belongs to a select group of debut novels that takes familiar fantastical tropes and transforms them into something completely new. Knitting together great characterisation with bloodthirsty adventure and shameless humour, Sykes’ debut made itself a tough act to follow.The sequel, Black Halo, sees our band of socially-challenged rogues stranded and separated on a tropical island with only tubers to eat and their consciences for company. A pleasant change of tack from Tome’s seafaring antics, this instalment sees the motle [...]

7.6/10

Read our full review

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