Monday, November 6, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 16: Kozeniewski's Character Has Spoken


The hematophages are an alien species of lamprey-like parasites infesting the living planet Vilameen. While they appear at first glance to be unintelligent animals, they are actually an incredibly advanced race of philosophers, poets, and thinkers.  When the human vessel Manifest Destiny crashed into (and accidentally killed) the living planet, the hematophages began scrambling to find a new host - or hosts - in order to survive.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
I'm intrigued about the chance to interview a hematophage, so thanks for agreeing to meet with me.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

A hematophage:
Well, I'm the hero of the story, naturally.  On two separate occasions, human invaders defiled my home planet.  My family and I battled the first batch for generations.  When the second arrived, I led my people to victory, driving off the invaders and even finding a new home for my people.  History will no doubt view me fondly.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

A hematophage:
I belive in the incredible power of the spoken word to comfort, enrich, and inspire.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

A hematophage:
What haunts me is the same thing which has haunted my species (and my world) for generations: the hulk of the human vessel which murdered our beloved home.  It stands there, a mute testament and monument to the callous cruelty and thoughtless violence of a depraved and inferior species.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

A hematophage:
I fear asphyxiation and nutrient deprivation more than anything else.  The idea of being out of the blood ocean for even a moment is enough to send a shiver down my length.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

A hematophage:
Encountering and being forced to interact with a species as despicable and repulsive as homo sapiens.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

A hematophage:
I am a purveyor of truth.  I fear no truth, no matter how painful or harrowing.  Beauty is truth, truth beauty.  (That's a line from a poem I wrote.)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

A hematophage:
My time frolicking in the spawning pools were joyful and fancy-free.  I was born in a clutch of ten thousand, over 9,500 of whom died, including a few dozen I devoured personally.  (Don’t weep for my brothers and sisters, though.  Their deaths ensured that only the strongest of hematophages – like myself – survived to improve our society.)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

A hematophage:
I have to believe at this point that it was destiny which led me to be in the position I was in at the time when the second invasion of foreign monsters arrived on our world.  To lead our people to triumph was, if not my fate, then in some way pre-ordained by a thousand million generations painstakingly struggling to craft me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

A hematophage:
But of course!  I would have stopped the humans from murdering our world.  Perhaps we could have contacted their vessel and reasoned with them to change course, but knowing humans as I do now, I doubt it.  I would’ve happily destroyed the ship and warned the rest of them to leave us unmolested.  In any case, that misbegotten species will soon learn the grave consequences of their attempted genocide, so everything’s worked out for the best! 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

A hematophage:
My name is a note of inspiration in the sheltering dusk of a once-great civilization.  It is a flame in the night, a flickering spark of hope for the hematophages.  Of course, the weak and useless human tongue is incapable of pronouncing it, yet another sign of their intellectually destitute barbarism.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

A hematophage:
There is a large splotch on my back which I obtained from cracking through the shell of my birthing egg, which was unusually thick.  I like to think of my mark as a reminder of the strength I have borne since birth.  (And the females find it intoxicating.)

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

A hematophage:
Ah, home.  There’s nowhere in the universe quite like it.  Our feculent crimson seas stretch off in every direction, far beyond the horizon.  When the planet was still alive, the ocean was ripe with nutrients.  After the humans caused our ecological apocalypse, our dwelling grounds were diminished as we had to migrate in search of the few remaining pockets of nutrition.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

A hematophage:
I am just a simple man of leisure and culture.  My poetry was legendary, and repeated throughout the world ocean.  I like to think that I gave succor to the meek in their times of sorrow, and steeled the wills of the strong in their times of difficulty. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

A hematophage:
The humans doubtless see us as vermin to be exterminated.  They’ve shown it with their every thoughtless action, their every half-cocked deed.  They probably think no more of wiping out our grand and ancient civilization than I would of destroying a colony of microbes.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

A hematophage:
The author seems to constantly refer to us as being similar to some terrestrial animal, which only betrays his ignorance, racism, and anthropocentric view.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think he did a good job?

A hematophage:
Except for focusing far too much on the invader characters (which, I suppose, is understandable in light of his obvious mental limitations as a human) I think he did a fair to middling job of at least capturing accurately our perspective.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

A hematophage:
I’m delighted, of course.  Humanity will receive its comeuppance for what it attempted to do to us.  And, naturally, I received a happy ending, too.  I get to spend the rest of my life with my mate and countless spawn.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you correctly?  Would you change anything about the story told?  Did they miss anything?

A hematophage:
My only regret is that the human was unable to properly convey the beauty, the sheer attractiveness of the hematophage form, of which I am a near-perfect specimen.  But who can blame such hideously ugly creatures for being unable to even comprehend, let alone appreciate, true beauty.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' works?  Any good?

A hematophage:
I rather enjoyed HUNTER OF THE DEAD.  That Cicatrice is a kindred spirit of mine, and not just because of his love of hemoglobin. 


About the author:
Stephen Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") lives in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie.  During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star.  He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.

About the book:
Doctoral student Paige Ambroziak is a "station bunny" - she's never set foot off the deep space outpost where she grew up.  But when she's offered a small fortune to join a clandestine salvage mission, she jumps at the chance to leave the cutthroat world of academia behind.
            Paige is convinced she's been enlisted to find the legendary Manifest Destiny, a long-lost colonization vessel from an era before the corporations ruled Earth and its colonies.  Whatever she's looking for, though, rests in the blood-like seas of a planet-sized organism called a fleshworld.
            Dangers abound for Paige and her shipmates.  Flying outside charted space means competing corporations can shoot them on sight rather than respect their salvage rights.  The area is also crawling with pirates like the ghoulish skin-wrappers, known for murdering anyone they can't extort.
            But the greatest threat to Paige's mission is the nauseating alien parasites which infest the fleshworld.  These lamprey-like monstrosities are used to swimming freely in the ocean of blood, and will happily spill a new one from the veins of the outsiders who have tainted their home.  In just a few short, bone-chilling hours, Paige learns that there are no limits to the depravity and violence of the grotesque nightmares known as... The Hematophages.

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