This column is the second of a three-part interview with author Allan Yoskowitz, co-author of the new book Codename: Winterborn, a science fiction novel that has some surprisingly religious twists to it.
Q: So, why this premise? You have a very strange little universe, if only from the tidbits you've given us here.
AY: Believe it or not, the book started as a prequel to a series I had already developed on paper. Then Codname: Winterborn “ate” book one. But the nuclear war was always a part of it – and with anti-missile systems online, any nuclear war will never be 100% destructive. As the the Islamic Republic of France, that isn't our idea, that was actually suggested by real-world birth rates in France. As of ten years ago, the demographics suggested that France would be an Islamic country by 2050.
Q: And killing politicians?
AY: [Laughs] Who doesn't like killing politicians? On paper. Vince Flynn has gotten away with it for over a decade now. Only in our book, we make sure to kill the Senate intelligence committee (which doesn't exist), and we don't identify what political parties the targets are from. We don't want to encourage anyone to skeet-shooting politicians.
Q: In our first part of the interview, you mentioned that there were “priests riding to the rescue”?
AY: After a fashion. Keep in mind that only half the novel is about revenge / tyrannicide. The second half is about Kevin Anderson dealing with the consequences of his actions. Remember, this is a world where we're mission about 15 states, the Senate is only 70 senators, so this is a small body of people. They know each other, they know each other's kids. You can't go around offing over a dozen of their colleagues and not expect blowback. But at the same time, the colleagues have all died because they betrayed the country. What happens next is when the real fun begins.
The priests come in because we needed a non-government agency to act. All governments, without exception, do not – some might say cannot – act without some reason that is beneficial to them. An NGO is different. And, seriously, what is the biggest, most generous NGO outside of the Catholic church? That's probably why there are so many conspiracy theories about it – before there was Blackwater and private military contractors, there was [dramatic pause] the Catholic Church.
Q: But you're not doing a conspiracy angle, are you?
AY: Not with the Church, no. Mostly politicians. And the way we handle politicians is interesting. We've had one reader – Ellen Stedfeld, an artist friend of ours – suggest that they were almost cartoonishly evil. But the fun part is that we're only taking parts of historical politicians who have pulled some of this garbage, and condensing it into one, contemporaneous body of targets … or senators, depending on your point of view.