12 November 2014

Author Interview: Anthony J. Melchiorri

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the writer of one of my recent Sci-Fi find, Anthony J. Melchiorri. Please check out his Goodreads page & Website for more information on his books.

Have you always wanted to write for the Sci-Fi genre?

Actually, the first book I wrote was historic fiction. It was a good exercise in research and it was more of a personal project than anything. But I fell into sci-fi quite naturally after that.

What is it in Sci-Fi that attracted you to it?

Since I spend most of my time doing scientific research or reading science journals, I’m surrounded by cutting edge technologies. Seeing the work of other scientists and researchers inspired me to ask “what if” questions. Writing science fiction allows me the opportunity to combine my two passions: biotechnology and writing.

What’s the greatest challenge in writing Sci-Fi?

I think the major challenge is making your world believable. Even though you’re given a world of freedom to extrapolate and invent technologies, you have to remain consistent throughout your books. You also want to ensure that your world doesn’t appear too much like magic. There’s a tendency to treat sci-fi like a world where no rules apply, but you don’t want to go so far that everything you “invent” fills your book with too many plot-holes, inconsistencies, and things that just plain-old don’t make sense. As an extreme example, if people are building a spaceship on Earth, that spaceship can’t be the size of the Earth. You’ve got to think about how limited Earth’s resources are. Did they have to go mine a whole bunch of asteroids and other planets or something? Why is it as big as Earth? Sci-fi readers are intelligent and inquisitive and they will challenge the concepts you present in your book—so you better back everything up with at least a bit of real science and logic.

Aside from your work, where else do you get inspiration for the characters and settings of your stories?

Traveling and meeting new people provides a veritable buffet of inspiration. It seems like every time I go somewhere new, I think up at least one scene that took place in a restaurant or in a creepy alley or a bar with loads of “character.” And talking with new people is always an eye-opening experience. You can tap into someone else’s lifetime of experience to see how they’ve made their way in this world and how they interact with it.

Which Sci-Fi author do you admire most?

Ray Bradbury kicked serious butt as a sci-fi author. Not only did he whip out some fantastic, entertaining stories, but there’s something about his work that is haunting and poetic in nature. The Martian Chronicles is a perfect example. So many interesting, amusing stories wrapped up in Bradbury’s unique writing style all packaged into one overarching collection that leaves you with all kinds of lingering questions about humanity and our relationship to home, the environment, war, and each other.

What is your favorite Sci-Fi book?

This is difficult to answer, but David Brin’s Earth is definitely up there. Earth follows several seemingly unrelated plots and character’s whose lives interweave in a disaster of epic proportions. Many of the technologies Brin included in the novel are reaching (if they have not already) realization. It’s amazing to see a work of speculative fiction that follows well-rounded characters in an adventure-filled plot with something smart to say about people and the rest of the world outside Brin’s fictional universe.

Sci-Fi movie?

It’s hard to come up with an all-time favorite, but ever since I saw District 9, that consistently hits my top ten list. The movie involved advanced weapons, aliens, spacecraft, and biotechnology (like the DNA-locked weapons). But it also provided a cool social commentary. Science fiction provides such a great avenue for exploring societal challenges in a unique way and District 9 did that without sacrificing entertainment value.

Sci-Fi character?

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien. Ripley is both cunning and brave but also portrays the very real fear any human would have when being hunted by a monstrous extraterrestrial hunter. Throughout the Alien series, Ripley’s character just keeps developing. Plenty of sci-fi roles can turn into a one-dimensional, cardboard character. You get the brave soldier type or the smart doctor. But Ripley was always so much more.

If you were to pitch sci-fi to anyone who hasn’t read it yet, what would you say?

It’s easy to be intimidated by science fiction, especially when the predominant notion is that you can expect to see hardcore space marines taking on waves of gruesome aliens. But science fiction is more than just space exploration and extraterrestrial life. While there are fantastic sci-fi novels in that niche, sci-fi can encompass everything from romance (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon or The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger) to murder mysteries (The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov) to literary fiction (The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury). There’s no need to understand rocket science or the physics of time travel. The only thing required by reading science fiction is an interest in the human condition and the willingness to go on a potentially wild ride.
Lastly, tell us a little bit of how Human Forged came about? What was your inspiration in writing the story?

During a visit to Estonia, I explored the abandoned Patarei Prison outside of Tallinn. The city itself was beautiful, full of historic landmarks and fantastic shops and restaurants. But the prison was creepy. Rusted-out fences and crumbling walls hid rooms still plastered with decaying magazine pages and pictures from the prison’s inhabitants. It was an extremely eerie environment and I needed to write a story there. The Human Forged started out as a short story that took place there but rapidly evolved into a novel.

Random Question: Out of all the advance technologies mentioned on your book, which one would you want to be able to use now? Personally, I love the holomeeting.

This is a good question because most of the technologies in my book would frighten me. Human cloning is quite a can of worms and having an implantable Chip that serves as your identification, credit card, and a GPS locator all-in-one poses some difficulty security risks. But self-driving cars is what I’d love to see. I’d be able to read, write, or sleep during my hour-long commute rather than have to deal with snail-pace traffic and blaring horns!


  1. Thanks so much for having me on the blog. I loved the questions--it's always fun to talk about some sci-fi!

  2. I love your questions, Ana. And I love Anthony's pitch. I've shied away from sci-fi before exactly because of what he said. I was intimidated. But now, I've been reading more of it and I realize that it's such a fun genre!

  3. I read quite a bit of scifi, mainly dystopians though. Ripley! She's the ultimate kick ass chick, so much so that even as a teen (many, MANY years ago), I'd always wanted to call my first born girl Ripley. A little Hollywood I know. I think what turns me off a little with scifi is how blokish it can be. I don't need romance, but close friendships within the storyline and occasional softness to the characters without it being so technical or scientific all the time.

    Awesome interview Ana, you're getting to be quite the pro at this <3


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