Go the the Eyrie Productions webpage and you'll notice that it's very well designed. A lot of that is the work of John "Truss" Trussell, who in addition to being the co-designer for the site, is the only Eyrie Auxillary member being interviewed who was actually in the original "Undocumented Features".
First of all, how did you get into anime?
Hmm. I think it's predominantly Zoner's fault. I became aware of
anime when he hauled his entire anime collection -- which fit in a
single milk crate, back in 1990 -- down to the Wedge at WPI and held a
marathon showing of Robotech. It wasn't enough to completely hook me
on anime, but it was enough to make me seek out other (better) series.
The original BGC was the first one that -really- grabbed me, though
I'm not as fond of it as I used to be... strangely enough, I think
that Gunbuster is the one that's aged the best of my early favorites.
I still love that show... it's completely nuts.
Were you in any of the core UF stories? If so, what did you think of
their portrayal of you?
I'm in all four core stories, but I have a grand total of five lines.
(Unless you count "Huh?" KLANG! "Ouch!" as two lines.) A summary:
So there's not really much of a "portrayal" to speak of. :) There are
some plans for my character in upcoming UF:Future Imperfect stories, but that's a
fair bit down the line.
- UF1: I panic as the Wedge takes off and the WPI reactor explodes.
- UF2: I bang by head on the SDF-17's GNDN pipes. Twice.
- UF3: I watch about 1/3 of Star Trek V before giving up and leaving.
- UF4: I take command of the WDF Pennsylvania, but have no actual lines.
What is your character like?
Well, here's the nickel history. (This is probably way too long for
you to use, but it's here to pick and choose from, anyway.)
During the Golden Age, Truss kind of bounced around within the WDF
because it was comfortable. He didn't really have a clear picture of
what he wanted to do with his (suddenly much longer) life. Just being
near his friends was enough for him.
Then came the Exile... not many people knew his face, so avoiding
persecution wasn't very difficult, but the comfort of the WDF was
gone. A friend offered him a job at a news outlet to be revealed
later (behind-the-scenes stuff, nothing glitzy), and he took it
because he really didn't have much else to do.
When the Exile ended, he went back to the WDF for a while -- they
needed everyone they could get -- and was given command of the WDF
Pennsylvania. He kept that job for quite a while, until everyone he
knew started getting transfered to other posts... once the "old crowd"
got disbanded, his heart wasn't in it anymore.
So, now, he's finally having to decide what he wants to do. He's back
at the news outlet he worked for during Exile, only as a reporter this
time. He's happy -- he gets to travel a lot, he still sees his
friends a fair bit, and he's got plenty of time to himself (it's just
him, his pilot, and some droids on the ship), and his life makes sense
Then something unexpected happens that screws up his whole existence,
but you'll have to wait to find out about that. <grin>
I'm rather looking forward to developing my UF avatar. NXE-Truss
(which is almost exclusively written by Gryph) has turned out
something like I would like to be, if I could ever muster the sense
of focus and direction. UF-Truss (at least up until "Future Imperfect") is more like
what I'm afraid I'd turn into if I didn't push myself enough. He's
not accomplished nearly as much as he'd like to... without the pressure of a short life, he's procrastinated away his existence. Now he's
figured that out, and is trying to change it.
Second, how did you get into fanfic?
In a very sideways fashion. I've known Gryph for 15 years now, on and
off, so I was very aware of UF during Eyrie's formative days. It
never occurred to me to contribute early on, because I'd never thought
of myself as much of a writer, but I kept up with most of the material
they wrote... the core of it, anyway.
And have you ever been tempted to write anything other than Eyrie-related
Oh, sure. I have, actually, if you include plays and LARPs [live action role playing games]. But I've rarely been tempted to write anything solo. My muse is a very erratic creature, and I much prefer collaborating with other authors. There are some people loosely affiliated with Eyrie with whom I'd like to write sometime down the line. Phil Moyer is the first name that comes to mind, but he's got zero free time as it is...
What made you decide to "join" the Eyrie crew?
I don't think I ever made a conscious decision, really. Over the last
several years, I've accrued a fair number of writing projects --
live-action roleplaying games, mostly -- and that gave me just enough
confidence in my writing to try my hand at something like this. I
more or less stumbled into a contributing role by coming up with ideas
for NXE that Gryph felt I was better prepared to write myself. And now
they won't let me leave. <grin>
What's it like to work with the Eyrie writers? Is there a lot of conflict
in the group?
The interaction gets rather colorful sometimes, but it's been a lot of
fun. Gryph and I make a very productive brainstorming team. Larry
Mann (who I've only dealt with electronically) is very laid-back and
has been great to work with.
And Zoner is the free-floating agent of
chaos that he's always been... he's also the only one of us that knows
how to write Ritsuko Akagi well. <grin>
What's a typical Eyrie plotting session like?
Unplanned. <grin> Seriously, it's rare that we sit down and say "ok, let's
plot now." One of us will get hit with an idea, and bring it up.
Another person will say "I like it" or "are you completely high?"
(Sometimes both.) Bits of prospective dialogue will get bandied
about, we write it down, we find The Big Gaping Hole in the new idea's
logic, which requires us to brainstorm something else that will let it
make sense... it can be chaotic. But it generally works.
What, in your opinion, is a "gweep"?
Anyone who enjoys using computer equipment for purposes which are
frivolous, social, and non-destructive. That was our original
definition of it, anyway... it's evolved more than a little in the
last 10 years.
So what's the 2000 Gweep like?
Mostly the same. Somewhere along the way, though, the term became a
moniker for not just our social group at WPI, but other people we knew
as well... even the ones who weren't particularly into computers.
It's become somewhat vague.
If you still had the time/energy to change some of the stuff you've
written, what would you change and why?
Honestly, I don't think I would.
What do you read on a regular basis, both fanfiction and non-fan
Not much in the way of fanfic. I don't share Gryph's "I don't read
other people's fics for fear that I may subconsciously plagiarize"
policy, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. Most of my
non-fanfic reading material is science fiction of one flavor or
another... I'm a big Neal Stephenson fan, though I've fallen a bit
behind on his works lately. Some Vonnegut, too... I like authors who
have a sense of humor and sarcasm as twisted as mine. <grin>
Again, in your opinion, what work of your own do you consider to
be the best?
Again, I've only written for NXE, and only then as an auxiliary
author. I'm more active as a roaming muse. Gryph and I sit around a
few times a week and just bounce ideas for characters, plotlines, and
new projects off of each other. I've helped design some upcoming
material for UF that I'm rather proud of, I've poked "Gods Willing" in
an odd direction once or twice, and there are two
currently-unannounced future projects whose debut I'm anxiously
looking forward to. The best is yet to come. <grin>
Oh, and the web pages. Gryph bribed me to craft the new Eyrie site
for him, and I'm extremely happy with the way it came out.
They are very neat webpages. Did you take a class in webpage design or
are you mostly self taught? And what do those odd symbols on the "About"
Self-taught, no classes. The Web didn't exist until after I
graduated, and once I got a job, taking more classes wasn't an option.
I'm low enough on free time as it is. I'm working for a web
development company (www.eventzero.com) now, though, so I'm getting a chance to learn more as I go.
Ah, the Varelse characters. They say the same thing that the rollover
images with normal text do. It's an alphabet (of sorts) that I made
up for a long-stalled LARP project... Gryph saw it, really liked it,
and asked me to use it on the buttons. I'll probably put up a
translation key one of these days, if no one figures it out first. <grin>
What anime series have you seen that you would never want to see Eyrie
get a hold of and tweak?
There is no "sacred cow" as far as I'm concerned... the only series
that I'd rather not see us work with are the ones that don't hold any
appeal to me at all. (Ranma's probably at the top of that list -- it
just doesn't do anything for me.) If we incorporate a character, it's
because we like them... so the idea of leaving something alone because
we like it doesn't really make sense.
What work of others in Eyrie do you consider to be the best? If there
are any other fanfics out there by other authors you like, which of those
works do you consider to be the best?
I hate to play favorites, though I do have a soft spot for Gryph's
".45 Caliber Angel" series. If only because its existence is
partially my fault.
You know you're going to have to explain that statement now. <grin>
Gryph got into "In Nomine" because I claimed I was going to start
running a campaign. That never happened, but he started making up
characters anyway... and when he couldn't use them in gaming sessions,
he started dropping them into stories (one makes a cameo in the NXE
3:8 Bonus Theater!!).
(The In Nomine stuff in NXE, though, wasn't entirely my fault. Gryph
came up with it, I just helped work out a few kinks. And we're not
following the IN cosmology to the letter in NXE, anyway -- we take
Belial isn't the Lord of Fire, Moloch is (err... was). The way
Remnants work in IN has been ignored/twisted to make many of the
celestial characters work better. Lots of the mechanics (corporeal
vessels, celestial combat, songs) are streamlined so that they don't
get in the way of the story. And I'm not even sure how the Ellisons
could work in "proper" IN.
There's more, that's just what pops to mind. In NXE, we're really
only using the IN cosmology as a rough guide -- a framework to build
from. If we prominently feature a game mechanic in the story (like,
say, the way Elohim work), we explain it as or before it becomes
important. If we don't explain it, it's not relevant, and you don't
need to know it.
If you want a strict interpretation of IN mechanics, go read .45
Caliber Angel. That's what it's for. <grin>
As for other fics... hmm. I rather like "Eva-R". Oh, and I'm a huge
fan of Twoflower Gagne's work. I'm not into Ranma at all, but the
Slayers Trilogy and Magical Troubleshooting material is a source of great joy.
I want a recording of "ani-san no raoul no sakana o misete (the happy
bright time singing song)" in the worst possible way.
Is there anything you haven't done in terms of fanfic or writing
that you've always wanted to do, but never got around to it?
In fanfic, no, I can't really say that I do... there are things that
aren't going to see the light of day for a while, but that's not
really the same thing. They will get released eventually.
In writing, sure... I can think of three LARPs, one play, and a story
concept right off the top of my head. I'd love to work on them, but
between lack of free time and lack of inspiration, those projects just
haven't come together yet.
I talked to a couple female fanfic writers who expounded on why they write
fanfic. Why do you write fanfic?
For the same reasons that I write anything -- because I enjoy it, and
because I have ideas for settings, characters, and plotlines that I
want to share.
If you could give advice to anyone just starting out in fanfic, what kind
of advice would you give?
Don't let criticism get to you, and don't let praise go to your head.
Write for yourself, not for anyone else -- what matters most is being
able to look back on what you've written and think, "I'm proud of
And always listen to your characters. There will come a time when
you've plotted out an entire story arc to the letter, but in the
course of actually writing it (and getting into the character's
mindset), you'll realize that the character really wants to do
something else. When that time comes, find a way to do what the
character tells you they should do, not what you had planned for
them to do. It's always to the benefit of the story... and to me,
it's one of the most interesting parts of the whole writing process.
You know you're writing a character properly when they come alive that
Back to the main Eyrie page for the Picks