Behind the Scenes: Writing a Predator Tie-in Novel

Inasmuch as I'm known as anything in the writing world, it's as a "literary fantasist". In fact, my last novel, Shriek: An Afterword, was about as literary as you can get and still be published by a large New York publisher. So it came as a surprise to some of my readers that this month Dark Horse has published Predator: South China Sea, written by yours truly. This novel is unabashedly action-adventure with a SF veneer. It's my idea of the ideal third Predator movie, preferably as directed by the ghost of Sam Peckinpah.

Predatorcover  Predator Predator_limited
The Dark Horse edition (art by Stephen Youll), the Romanian edition from Millenium, and a joke "limited edition" (John Coulthart)

Why did I take on this project? First of all, I like the Predator movies quite a bit. I think the second one is underrated simply because it has a very outdated sense of fashion. I also welcomed the opportunity to invert my normal ratio of action and experiment with cutting scenes and creating tension in ways different than in my other novels. I knew my next novel, which I'm completing now, would be a mix of fantasy and noir mystery, with an intricate plot. Doing the Predator novel would teach me a lot. Finally, the contrast to Shriek appealed to me--I hate doing the same thing twice.

As it turned out, I had a lot of fun writing Predator: South China Sea. It features a battle-tested Predator against an island full of ex-military men, spies, crooks, and pirates. I managed to reveal a little more about Predators generally, which should appeal to the core fans, and I added touches that are specific to my original work: like a fungus-based invasive species that comes to Earth as a result of the Predator's sloppy hygiene. It's got shoot-outs in ancient temple ruins, fights with 28-foot-long African crocodiles, double and triple crosses, and characters I grew very fond of by the time I'd finished writing the novel.

I got so immersed in writing this novel that I remember that about six weeks before I was supposed to turn it in, I went out to my car to run an errand and was relieved to see I had a flat tire. A flat tire meant I couldn't leave the house. So I went right back in and kept working on the novel. I didn't have the tire fixed until six weeks later. I only left the house on weekends, with my wife driving her car. I converted one room into a gym and did my weightlifting in the mid-afternoons before going back to writing.

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Comments (4)

Hello there, looks like a great story and I do love the "joke - limited edition".

Is there a way to buy one of these? Many thanks for your feedback, cheers, Olivier

Posted by: Olivier | Sunday May 17, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Hello there, looks like a great story and I love the "joke - limited edition" look.

Is there a way to buy one of these?

Many thanks for your answer, have a nice day, cheers, Olivier

Posted by: Olivier | Sunday May 17, 2009 at 10:31 AM

I couldn't help cracking up about the barber shop. I had the same experience at my local diner when I didn't show up for a few weeks. I sat down at the bar and the waitress was real friendly until I began to babble about editing a book and wouldn't shut up. LOL

Posted by: Jamie Grove | Tuesday October 28, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Holy shit. Could this be that mashup of Predator and Peckinpah I've been dreaming about for 20 years? Goddamn, I've spent too many sleepless nights, tossing and turning, hearing Lyle Gorch say "This stuff will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me" and Mac and Dillon scream "Demarcation!" and Billy rumble "Let's go!" and Tector Gorch say "I wouldn't wish that on a broke-dick dog" and Hawkins joke "She got an ass on her like a forty dollar cow an' she got a tit--why I wish it were full of tequila" and Blain say "You guys are definitely on my shit list!" and Dutch Engstrom smirk "Stick around!"

I think my head is going to explode. Or my testes.

Posted by: DJ | Monday October 27, 2008 at 8:41 PM

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