Books, news, & views from Karen Traviss

It's out. Buy it. It's the only way to be sure.

Waypoint has an exclusive interview with me on MORTAL DICTATA and the Kilo-Five trilogy in general, so check it out because it may be the only one I do. Hence the exclusive tag.

MORTAL DICTATA deals with some uncomfortable issues that no professional journalist worth their salt would gloss over if the events happened in the real world. It doesn't lend itself to binary thinking – hero/ villain, right/ wrong, victory/ defeat – so it's down to you as the reader to work out what you think. There's no right answer, either. Really, there isn't. You have (or should have) your own moral compass to decide what that might be. If you read my novels regularly, though, that won't come as any surprise to you, and you probably buy my books because of that.

A novelist buddy reminded me the other day that it's not the writer's job to make people feel comfortable. I don't deliberately set out to make readers feel uncomfortable, either, but even if I did it would be impossible. My audience is made up of many thousands of diverse individuals whose varied triggers and issues I couldn't even begin to guess, let alone address. If something strikes a chord with you, you're the only one who knows why. If that same thing rubs a nerve -- well, ditto. Any message you think is in it is your own voice echoing back at you. Fiction is a tool for looking at your own life and attitudes, and the same book (or movie, comic, game, whatever) is a completely different experience for each person because of the unique filter he or she brings to it. It'll also feel different every time you read it at various stages of your life.

So you may find MORTAL DICTATA uplifting, depressing as hell, an affront to every belief you hold dear, or a validation of your world view. Or just the conclusion of a spy story. For me, it's an examination of loyalty and conscience; who you put first when push comes to shove, and what you have to do to be able to live with yourself.