X Faction Soldiers
JC Axe is an author currently living in Australia. He is working on a dystopian serial called "X Faction Soldiers", among a few other projects. We have conducted an interview with him.
Why are you writing a dystopian serial? How challenging is it?
When writing a dystopia, it is important to parallel the times we currently live in. It can be quite difficult to create a world which is radically different from our own, but at the same time, is a credible foreshadowing of the future.
I think one of the biggest challenges with writing a dystopia is balancing the horror of a world gone to hell, whilst maintaining the spirit that a better world is still worth fighting for.
What is the political warning you want to extend with your writing?
I don’t know, I’m just the writer! It’s up to the readers to decide for themselves what –if any- message the serial portrays.
I’m happy for people to make up their own minds about what political message X Faction Soldiers sends. Some have called it socialist, others have called it anarchist, and some have even suggested it has a fascist message. I think all of the above can be argued, depending on the character you’re analysing.
To quote one:
“We are not politicians, nor philosophers. We simply detest the state of the nation, the draconian government which fosters it, and the indifferent, apathetic majority who suffer it.”
What other projects are you writing about?
I’m currently working on a few different serials; The Deadeye Murders, which is about a serial killer terrorising a small town in Greater Manchester. Dungeon of the rats, which is about a gang of sociopathic teenage boys, and Human Resources, which is about a young man employed by a company that hides a terrible secret.
Who inspired you the most for the characters in ''X Faction Soldiers''? Why did you write about them?
I get inspiration from many places. Often amongst what some might call the ‘Underclass’. I’m a traveller, and I have a morbid fascination with the post-industrial, decayed and derelict parts of the world, and the people who inhabit them. I was homeless for a time a few years ago, and I met all kinds of people who were down on their luck. Drug addicts, the mentally ill, and travellers who’d ran out of money or had overstayed their visas. I’ll never forget one night I spent sleeping in a multi storey car park with a Russian guy and a Canadian girl. The girl had bright pink hair and carried a scalpel around in her bag for protection, but she also used it to cut her hair! The Russian was a metalhead with metal nuts tied into his hair, despite the fact he was homeless, he rode around the city on a scooter, usually down the pavement. I suppose many of the characters are inspired by these weird and wonderful people I’ve met, and their peculiar habits and talents.
The Canadian scalpel girl was a big inspiration for the character of Sadie the surgeon, with her personality stemming strongly from my brief meeting with her.
Brass was loosely based on a punk rocker I used to know; 6ft 5inches tall, with a foot long Mohawk, who was known as ‘Little Tom’. He once told me about how he’d carved his initials into a man’s forehead for trying to rape his sister. He was pretty intimidating, and nuttier than squirrel shit, but surprisingly confident, loyal to his friends and family, and genuinely hated homelessness, even going so far as to shoplift from big supermarkets to feed the homeless.
The beautiful thing about human beings is that we are all –in some way- contradictory characters. It’s very rare that you meet anyone who isn’t constantly developing their ideologies, and so all of our moral compasses are shifting throughout life.
What is the first dystopian literature you read? Which character gave you the deepest impression?
The first dystopia I ever read was (surprise surprise) George Orwell’s 1984. I’ve always preferred Dystopia’s that have come about not because of natural disaster, extinction event or disease, but because of our own appetite for destruction. 1984 was written at a time when the British Empire was coming to the end of it’s days, and there were three emerging superpowers in the world; America, the USSR and China. During the cold war, there were many times in which hot war did come close to breaking out, which could have led to an extended and apocalyptic war. If it wasn’t for the rational thinking of people like Vasili Arkhipov and Stanislav Petrov, a nuclear war could have broken out between the two most powerful countries in the world at the time. The perpetual war talked about 1984, and the population ‘on the brink of starvation’ creates a horrific, yet surprisingly credible world view, ruled by powers so strong and coercive that rebellion is futile.
In “X Faction Soldiers”, I wanted to create a world in which the government is heavy handed and draconian, but does not wield the illimitable control that is shown in other dystopia’s, such as 1984. In this world, people can and do rebel against the government, but it rarely ends well for them.
There is no bigger inspiration for me than reality. I am constantly reading about military history, the cult of personality, insurgencies and revolutions that have occurred in the past, and that inspires me to write more than any fiction.
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