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Award-winning author John Kenneth Muir chats passions and latest books

Author John Kenneth Muir
Kenneth Muir

John Kenneth Muir’s first original novel, ‘Space: 1999 - The Forsaken’ won over the hearts of fans of the cult British TV series by Gerry Anderson. Since then he has become an icon in Sci-Fi, Horror, and Cult TV books, blogs, and reviews. Fans are anxiously awaiting the release of his new book 'Space:1999 - The Whispering Sea.’ In addition to his passion for writing, Muir absolutely loves fatherhood to a seven year son with the bonus fun of playing Godzilla and Megalon.

Q. Fans are curious if ahead of its time British TV series Space:1999 inspired you become a writer.

A: Yes, absolutely. ‘Space: 1999’ was and remains a key inspiration in my writing career. I probably wouldn't have ever become a writer if that series didn't spark my imagination the way it did. Truly, I think of ‘Space:1999’ as my good luck charm, professionally-speaking. My first non-fiction book that got published was ‘Exploring Space:1999' in 1997. And the first novel I had published was also ‘Space:1999’ - "The Forsaken," in 2003.

Perhaps most significantly, it was through my ‘Space:1999’ connections that I was introduced to the great Johnny Byrne, who authored many outstanding episodes of the series. He was a mentor to me, and a friend. He always said that you can succeed as a writer if you figure out a way to turn weakness into strength.

Also, I was five years old when I saw ‘Space:1999’, and I credit the episode ‘Dragon's Domain’ to turning me on -- forever -- to the genres of science fiction and horror.

Q. Tell your fans about your new book ‘Space:1999 - The Whispering Sea’ as well as your two other recent releases, ‘Horror Films FAQ’ and ‘Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s’.

A. ’The Whispering Sea’ is a ‘Space:1999’ story that bridges a gap in series continuity. Year Two began with ‘The Metamorph,’ an episode introducing Catherine Schell's alien character, Maya. The episode ended with Maya crying in an Eagle, as her world was destroyed. But the very next episode, ‘The Exiles’ began with Maya ensconced as Moonbase Alpha's science officer. She was already in uniform, and familiar with all aspects of Moonbase technology. With ‘Whispering Sea’ I wanted to write the missing chapter. How did Maya make that transition? What events took place? What did she think of Moonbase Alpha when she first saw it? I thought it would be a lot of fun to write that story, and also include some aspects of the tale that pass the torch from Professor Victor Bergman, the former science officer, to Maya.

‘Horror Films FAQ" is part of the "FAQ" series at Applause Theatre and Cinema Book. For me, that meant dividing the horror film into thirty or so sub-genres -- and explaining what these films symbolize, and what they say about our culture. I was thrilled to have Chris Carter, creator of ‘The X-Files,’ pen the foreword of the book for me.

‘Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s’ is a big book that reviews -- in detail -- over 125 genre movies made between 1970 and 1979. The book also includes a history of that tumultuous decade, and looks at the events that shaped SF movies of the time. So I get to talk about Watergate, Vietnam, Three Mile Island, and things like that.

Q. What would you say your “hidden talents” are?

A. I don't know if it is exactly a hidden talent, but many readers may not know how much I love being a Dad. I have a beautiful, smart, imaginative seven year old son named Joel, and I prize the time we spend together building Legos, playing with micronauts, and wrestling each other on the sofa while I pretend to be Godzilla and he pretends to be Megalon. I absolutely love being Joel's father.

Q. If you were a baseball player, what would your walk up song be?

A. Without a doubt, Blue Oyster Cult's ‘Don't Fear the Reaper.’ That's my all-time favorite song, and I love every variation of it, from slow love song version (played in ‘Scream’ [1996]) to the traditional version, played in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978).