Coming to Town: David Weber and Timothy Zahn for HonorCon

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Article and Interviews by The Exploding Spaceship (Angela and Gerald Blackwell)

This weekend (Oct 31-Nov 2) HonorCon is being held at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown. This is a science fiction convention celebrating military science fiction literature and Honor Harrington’s birthday. Most of the events feature David Weber’s Honorverse which now has a new participant, Timothy Zahn. A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn was released on October 7 (see review here). This is the first volume in a new series about the early days of the Royal Manticoran Navy.

The convention will include events about all aspects of the Honorverse including some panels led by fan groups as well as the expected Weber panels, events about writing and getting published, and some panels on other science fiction universes like Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. You can see a full schedule of events here. Online tickets have sold out, so if you don’t have yours already, then you must buy them onsite, where there are weekend passes as well as Saturday- and Sunday-only passes, as well as reduced-price children’s tickets.

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Interview with Timothy Zahn

You have a new book out which is set in the Honorverse. Can you tell us how you went about this collaboration? Did you interact with BuNine as well as David Weber?

David, Thomas Pope, and I first hash out the story, after which I write it all down in a general outline. David and Tom read the outline and we tweak it until we’re all satisfied. I then write the preliminary draft, which is then again filtered through David and Tom (and, via Tom, through BuNine). They send me their comments/suggestions/changes, and I do the rewrite. One final pass by everyone, a final (hopefully final) polish, and we’re done.

What are some of the events you are looking forward to at HonorCon?

Mostly, just meeting and talking to the fans of the Honorverse. David, Tom, and I (and probably Toni and/or Jim from Baen Books) will also be sitting down and discussing the current book and talking about future plans for the series.

You tend to write pretty quickly once you get a series going. Where are you with the next book?

I’ve finished the first draft of A Call to Arms, and have done most of the necessary rewriting on the first two sections. I’m currently awaiting the list of changes from David and Tom for the final section.

Is there anything other than the convention you are planning to do on this trip to NC?

We’re planning to have dinner with friends who are driving in for the occasion. That’s about as touristy as we ever have time for with a typical convention weekend.

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Interview with David Weber

You have a new Honorverse book out which is co-authored by Timothy Zahn. Can you tell us how you went about this collaboration?

It’s actually a collaboration with Tim Zahn and Tom Pope, and it is set about 400 years earlier than the life of Honor Harrington, the heroine of my Honorverse novels. It’s the story of a time when the Star Kingdom of Manticore — a galactic superpower by Honor’s time — was a sleepy little kingdom in the back of beyond, and it will cover the event that triggered Manticore’s eventual evolution into what it is by Honor’s day. Because it is set so much earlier than the other stories, I wanted it to have a distinctly different feel from those other stories, and I’ve always really, really liked Tim’s writing. He’s done several short stories/novellas for the Honorverse anthologies, so it’s not like he’s a newbie in the literary universe, and I really, really trust him both as a writer and a storyteller, which isn’t always exactly the same thing. As for Tom, he’s with BuNine, an organization of Honorverse fans who have invested an enormous amount of their time and energy in the stories. They did the first volume of the Honorverse Companion with me, and Tom probably knows as much about the Honorverse’s chronology and general technology as I do at this point. So it was a logical pairing to bring them together to work with me on this series. Tim puts the stories together, Tom handles the technology and acts as Tim’s sounding board, and I hover in the wings, offering editorial comments where they ask for it on the way through and then doing the final read/edit on the ultimate manuscript. So far, I think it’s worked extremely well.

This convention is about your SF universe and it must be quite a thrill to see all the fans. What event are you most looking forward to?

I don’t really have a specific single event that I am looking forward to. For me, any convention I’m invited to as a guest (which I guess this one qualifies for) is an opportunity to spend time with fans who read and like my books. Because this is Honorcon, it’s even more special in that respect. That’s the “event” I’m looking forward to. If I can answer a few questions, sign a few books, repay a few of the people who read them by spending some time with them, that’s what it’s all about, and it really doesn’t get much better than that. I write the stories, but every single reader comes to them from his or her own perspective, and the story that they read is the one the two of us build together — me by writing the words and them by shaping those words as part of their own personal iteration of the Honorverse. That makes them very special people to me, and I want to meet them, to talk to them. They tell me how much my books have meant to them. I think it’s important for me to be able to tell them how much their love for the books has meant to me.

Is this an entire Weber clan event?

Pretty much. Sharon and I are driving up on Thursday, and the kids — Michael, Megan, and Morgan — are coming up on Friday with Aunt Shannon, one of our dearest friends who also happens to be a huge science fiction and — especially — movie fan. It’s good to have a convention that’s close enough to drive to, because that means we can bring the kids along, and the fact that it’s Honorcon adds a certain special education enjoyment to it. All three of them are members of The Royal Manticoran Navy, the Honorverse fan club, and it’s kind of like having an entire huge extended family. TRMN takes really good care of Sharon and me at pretty much every kind we go to these days, and they really great with the kids.

Is there anything other than the convention you are planning to do on this trip to NC?

Aside from visiting Baen Books to check in with the people who write the checks, we really aren’t going to have time to do very much else. We’re heading back to Greenville immediately after the convention. On Tuesday we vote. On Thursday we get on an airplane and fly to Poland for a convention, and from Poland we take the train to the Czech Republic and the Czech fan club. We finally get home on I think the sixteenth. So between that and Honorcon, there aren’t very many free hours sitting around for me to do much of anything else. Mind you, I’d rather have too much to do than too little, but it does tend to keep you hopping.

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One Response to Coming to Town: David Weber and Timothy Zahn for HonorCon

  1. Pingback: November newsletter: Garth Stein and NC Specualtive Fiction Night, and (in December) Julia Elliott and Fred Chappell | Bull Spec

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