Today's interview is with Peter Lukes, author of the science fiction novel Perchance to Dream. He grew up in Massachusetts, where he also went to college, law school and graduate school. Peter is an attorney who frequently teaches classes in history, political science and government as an adjunct faculty professor at local colleges. His true passion lies in writing the kinds of science fiction and fantasy stories that he loved reading throughout his life. Peter still lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son, who have both been indoctrinated into the worlds of spaceships, vampires, super heroes and dragons.
Michael K. Rose: What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?
Peter Lukes: Speculative fiction offers the reader a believable escape from reality. In addition to the obvious entertainment value, the specfic landscape can also potentially provide the reader with a meaningful reflection on themselves, society, or life in general, without being "preachy." The complex and imaginative settings of speculative fiction camouflage any resemblance to our actual surroundings, thereby providing some cover for a greater philosophical message. Exceptional science fiction has achieved this end for a long time, and now speculative fiction seems to be taking readers on an even greater journey of possibilities, while simultaneously making important statements about a world view, (from Dune to The Road to The Hunger Games). I think that because so much of science "fiction" has turned into reality over the past thirty years, people are more inclined to suspend their limits of belief, and this allows writers more leeway for stories of travel to parallel worlds, magic realism, and other fantastic incorporations that might have been scoffed at by mainstream readers (and publishers) years ago as being too far "out there."
MKR: Why do you write in this genre?
PL: It's the genre that I enjoy reading the most, so it was a natural fit. Since I first read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a wee-lad, I've been hooked on speculative fiction. I'm an avid science fiction and fantasy reader as well, but if I can mix it up and make it work with a little paranormal here, and a little sci-fi there, with a touch of alternate reality, it's the best of all worlds!
PL: I've kicked around the concept of dream invasion and alternate reality travel for years. It went through so many changes and re-formations that it's hardly where I started, but the story definitely improved at each step along the way. It's a complicated world and we barely peel away the first layer in Perchance to Dream. The sequel is on its way, but there will still be much more revealed as we go.
MKR: What was your biggest challenge in writing it?
PL: Keeping track of everything. When you design a complicated environment, it has to work, even if it's technically or scientifically "impossible." There have to be explanations, limits, and rules, even if it's based in magic. The writer is required to provide a basic set of guidelines for how this world operates, and things just can't happen willy-nilly in favor or against your protagonist. Therefore, everything has to add up and be consistent from chapter one through the final sentence. At the same time, you don't want to bore the reader with exposition regarding how or why things are happening the way they are. Consistency is the key and a slow trickle of information adds to the suspense.
MKR: What are you working on now?
PL: I'm in the final editing stages for a new title being released in January 2013 called The Dominus Runes. It takes place on an alternate Earth that's been conquered and divided up by a demonic family from another dimension. The demons are on the verge of war with each other, and the only guy who can save humanity happens to be an underworld crime boss anti-hero.
I'm also currently writing the sequel to Perchance to Dream. It's almost finished and I'm hoping for a July 2013 release date.