By Carl Slaughter: The Runabout, Kris Rusch’s latest story in her Diving series, is out now in Asimov’s and I am mighty curious about her main character. Boss is an archeologist turned explorer turned corporate executive. Throw in some romance and some political intrigue.
CARL SLAUGHTER: What appeal does the Diving series have for you that you have continued it this long?
KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH: The characters, obviously, but there are lots of mysteries in the Diving universe that I haven’t resolved yet, and a whole bunch of stories to tell to help me figure it out.
CS: What kind of feedback have you received from readers and editors?
KKR: Readers love this series. They are constantly writing me about it, thinking about it, and asking questions. Sheila Williams of Asimov’s has been the most supportive editor on this project. She bought the first novella and all of the shorter works since. She’s just picked up The Runabout, which is a novel, and it’ll run in Asimov’s before hitting print from WMG Publishing.
CS: What was the inspiration for Boss, the main character?
KKR: I never know where these characters come from. She just started talking to me one day. The opening lines of the first novella (Diving into the Wreck) are the first things she spoke to me.
CS: Do you see some of Boss in yourself?
KKR: Oh yes. She loves history. She deals with people as best she can, but would rather be on her own. She’s loyal to a fault. She runs a corporation now, even though she doesn’t want to. (That’s familiar.) And she often dives in (pun intended) with both feet and is often out of her depth. Yep. We share a lot.
On the other hand, I’m not physically capable of doing what she does. She’s stronger and smarter and braver than I could ever be.
CS: Boss is “a tough loner, with more interest in artifacts than people.” But she has to interact with her team and other people she needs and who need her. How does she handle this?
KKR: Poorly at times. She often doesn’t understand why people do what they do. She does pick good people to work with her, though, which is a great thing. And she isn’t afraid to ask for help.
CS: How does she transform over the course of the series?
KKR: She becomes less of a loner. She falls in love. She runs a big company, and tries to preserve the past. She is learning her limits as well.
CS: The story arc seems to get bigger with each story. Will the mystery of the aliens ever be fully revealed?
KKR: Well, there are no aliens in the Diving Universe (that’s the Retrieval Artist). All of the various groups are human, and probably the result of colonization. I say probably, because I’m still guessing about the edges of some of this. But my subconscious and I are firm about the fact that there are no aliens—just humans who are radically different from each other. (Humfph. Rather like Earth.)
CS: Are we ever going to get a collection of all the stories?
KKR: Maybe an ebook. WMG did a collection of 6 of the Diving novellas, and that sucker is loooooong. And since so many are incorporated into the novels, the book is a bit confusing. So there are no plans at the moment.