Back | Next

Introduction: A Range of Treatments

I started out writing horror stories. To be precise, I started out by writing a pastiche of August Derleth pastiches of H.P. Lovecraft horror stories. (It was very bad. The only collection I can imagine reprinting it in is a retrospective where I can point to it and say, "See how much better I've gotten?" Which, believe me, will be damning my later work with faint praise.)

From horror I moved to heroic fantasy (sword and sorcery, if you prefer), to mainstream SF, to space opera, to military SF (I distinguish between those two subgenres), and even to humor. I've also written quite a lot of fantasy—the Isles series of Tolkienesque fantasies for Tor of course, but quite a lot before I started that series as well.

There aren't any fantasies in this collection, but I've included samples from the other named subgenres. I read widely across the spectrum of SF/fantasy, and I don't see much difference between writing one type and another. The stories I like are about characters—about people—and that's a constant in all genres.

These stories include one of my earliest as well as the two most recent (as of this writing). Some are self-standing, some were written for series of my own, and several were written for shared universes. There are light stories and some of the grimmest things I've ever written. (Yes, I know what I'm saying.) Some are carefully researched historicals, some take place in the far future, and one was set in the place and time where I wrote it.

What the stories have in common is that they're all about war. Some of the protagonists are fighting for the survival of the human species; some are fighting for national political ends; and many are simply fighting because it's their job. The reasons don't really matter to the people at the sharp end.

And above all, these are stories about people.

Dave Drake


Back | Next