Wednesday, May 13, 2020

W. Michael Gear Interview - Unreconciled

Photo Content from W. Michael Gear

W. Michael Gear is a New York Times and international bestselling author with 17 million copies of his books in print. Married to bestselling author Kathleen O’Neal Gear, he holds a master’s degree in anthropology, has authored more than 50 novels, and has been translated into 29 languages. He has worked as a forensic anthropologist, was principal investigator in his own archaeological firm, and raised bison for 29 years. He was twice awarded Producer of the Year by the National Bison Association. His hobbies include shooting large-caliber rifles and long-distance touring on his Moto Guzzi named Sheela. Gear lives in Wyoming.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
The greatest thing I learned in school were all the skills necessary to learning itself. If you don’t know how to learn, you are doomed to blindness, ignorance, and poverty of the soul for the whole of your life.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Seeing THIS SCORCHED EARTH finally published. I consider it the pinnacle of my career.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
With ALPHA ENIGMA coming out this November from DAW Books, I’m at work on the sequel. I will also be writing a 5th Donovan novel, and finally, the 5th book in the PEOPLE OF CAHOKIA series, titled LIGHTNING SHELL, will be delivered to Tor Books in June of 2021.
If you could work for anyone you choose, who would it be?
Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?

If you could work for anyone you choose, who would it be?
I want to work for readers who enjoy smart, intricate, well-plotted novels that stimulate the imagination and not only entertain but also educate. So, see, I’m already working for the perfect employers.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book 1 and in what way have they changed?
In the Donovan novels, that would have to be Kalico Aguila. From the snotty, self-serving Corporate Supervisor who arrived on Donovan in the opening chapters of OUTPOST, she’s truly come into her own. But then, Shig has always thought she had potential. Still, with UNRECONCILED, she’s face-to-face with a man she despised back in Solar System. She’s still got a long road to hoe, and the Corporation ultimately remains to be reckoned with. On Donovan, character arcs have a long duration.

1) Kathleen and I are anthropologists, and all of our novels deal with some facet of anthropology. Anthropology has always been fascinated by cannibalism. UNRECONCILED is about a ship full of cannibals. In UNRECONCILED the Ashanti has been lost for ten years. The hydroponics were designed for no more than four. What happens when they begin to fail, and the 500 people are aboard are faced with sustainable food production for less than half?

2) I think it’s the first honest anthropological treatment of cannibalism in science fiction.

3) There are four types of cannibalism: ritual, pathological, political, and survival. In the case of the “Unreconciled” they integrate all four.

4) Writing the character Batuhan was a particular challenge. Getting “into his head” was tough, and understanding him wouldn’t have been possible without the academic literature to fall back on. But then, getting into the monster’s head, you always discover that he’s never the monster you suspect that he is. The question the Unreconciled have to face is “Do you eat your fellows, or are you eaten?” What is the ultimate price of survival?

5) All of this poses a huge problem for the folks on Donovan: What do you do with a shipload of cannibals? What do you owe them? Where do you put them? And how, for God’s sake, do you interact with them?

6) Also aboard Ashanti is one Derek “Dek” Taglioni. A spoiled, arrogant member of the powerful Taglioni family who now dominate the Corporate Board. The last time a Corporate mucky-muck showed up, it was Tamarland Benteen, and that didn’t turn out too well. Worse, when Kalico knew Dek back on Transluna, the guy was loathsome. Now he’s arrived in Port Authority, claiming to have changed into a new man after the ordeal aboard Ashanti. But does a leopard ever change its spots?

7) Fact: Freelander is still in orbit, still creepy, and way too much fun to have as a background for some spine-crawling good times around the temple of bones. In this case, it’s Shig who takes Ashanti’s wayward captain Galluzzi up for a resetting of his psychological switches. Expect more revelations.

8) Yes, of course! The quetzals are back. Especially Whitey, and he’s taking his war with the humans to another level. This time, it’s scuzzy, sleazy Dan Wirth who is stuck front and center for a nose to nose meeting. Of course, the quetzal attack comes at the worst possible time for our characters.

9) The usual cast of characters are still carrying the book. Talina Perez is struggling to deal with the quetzal molecules that are modifying her body. She’s tougher than ever, and despite her better judgment, attracted to this new Taglioni. Kylee has a new quetzal called Flute, who joins her on a desperate mission to rescue her mother and Talbot from disaster. Nor would it be a Donovan book if we didn’t toss our characters out into the forest where life gets really interesting.

10) And, finally, just when we think we’re getting a handle on Donovan’s wildlife, something is lurking in the trees around Tyson Station. Something old, evil, and dangerous enough that even quetzals fear. The beastie is going to take a terrible toll.

What is the first job you have had?
Working in the Fort Collins Monument shop setting tombstones.

Best date you've ever had?
First date with Kathleen, and every date we’ve had since.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Read a Gear book. Granted, Kathleen is a better writer than I am, but hey, with seventy novels published and our work translated into 29 languages, we’re getting pretty good at this craft.

Who has had the most influence in your life?
Not even a head-scratcher. Kathleen, of course! She is the center of my universe, my partner, my friend, the foil who sharpens my ideas, the balance in my life, and my cherished lover. On top of which, if you haven’t read her latest novel, CRIES FROM THE LOST ISLAND, you’ve missed Hal and Roberto, two of her most charming characters ever.

The fourth book in the thrilling Donovan sci-fi series returns to a treacherous alien planet where corporate threats and dangerous creatures imperil the lives of the colonists.

Where does one put a messianic cult of practicing cannibals? That becomes the question when Ashanti appears in Donovan's skies. She was designed for no more than four years in space. It's taken ten. The crew has sealed the transportees onto a single deck--and over the years, the few survivors down there have become monsters. Lead by the messiah, Batuhan, they call themselves the Unreconciled.

Supervisor Kalico Aguila settles them at remote Tyson Station. With the discovery of a wasting disease among the Unreconciled, it's up to Kalico, Dya Simonov, and Mark Talbot to try and deal with the epidemic. Only Batuhan has plans of his own--and Kalico and her people are to be the main course.

Talina Perez has brokered an uneasy truce with the quetzal molecules that float in her blood. Now, she, young Kylee Simonov, a quetzal named Flute, and a clueless nobleman named Taglioni rush to save Kalico's vanished party.

But as always, Donovan is playing its own deadly game. Lurking in the forest outside Tyson Base is an old and previously unknown terror that even quetzals fear. And it has already begun to hunt.

Praise for the DONOVAN Novels

“What a ride! Excitement, adventure, and intrigue, all told in W. Michael Gear's vivid, compulsively readable prose. A terrific new science-fiction series; Gear hits a home run right out of the park and all the way to Capella.” —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night

“A marginal colony on a living world--where human life and human will are tested to the limits. An intriguing and inventive new work from Michael Gear, first of a trilogy. Recommended!” —C. J. Cherryh, Hugo Award-winning author of Downbelow Station

“Gear kicks off a new sf series by weaving a number of compelling characters into the narrative, including bold heroine Talina Perez and Donovan itself, a planet teeming with danger and delights in turn.... Fans of epic space opera, like Rachel Bach’s Fortune’s Pawn (2013), will happily lose themselves in Donovan’s orbit.” —Booklist

“W. Michael Gear creates a fun and colorful setting on a planet full of interesting fauna and cunning, deadly animals.” —RT Reviews

“Dark and gritty, this book shows both the best and worst sides of humanity, all while being emotional and thought-provoking.” —It Starts at Midnight

“It's not easy to create an entire new planet setting and to immediately ground the reader in that world, but Gear makes it look easy.... He strikes an impressive balance between only telling us what we need to know when we need to know it and making this feel like a fully-realized place from the get-go.” —Den of Geek

“The novel's prose is as razor-sharp as Donovan's toothy beasts, its characters deftly defined. The enveloping narrative gallops along at a fierce pace and will make Outpost one of the must-read sci-fi releases of 2018 when it arrives on February 20 from DAW Books.” —SyFy Wire

“A thrilling tale of high-stakes survival on an alien planet.” —Dread Central

You can purchase Unreconciled at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you W. MICHAEL GEAR for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Unreconciled (Donovan #4) by W. Michael Gear.


  1. "What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?" A clear plexiglass telephone!

  2. I saw a house that had two front rooms in the front of the house, both rooms were just rows of porcelain dolls it was creepy

  3. I knocked on my neighbor’s door, he seemed delighted to see me and invited me in and insisted that I take a seat on the couch. I obliged, and sat down on the couch, which had a coffee table by it…, which also had upon it a large marijuana bong!