WALTER: Thank you Hank for inviting me to the 'Two-Fisted Blogger'.
America's Galactic Foreign Legion is a 14 book science fiction series using humor to depict a strong America taking humanity and American culture across the galaxy to fight aliens on a distant planet colony. AGFL started out as serious “Starship Troopers” type military science fiction, but soon evolved into something else, something special.
I explore the Americanization of space. What does that mean? In the universe I create, after several wars, America is forced to share a distant planet colony with the Arthropodan Empire. They're spiders. In fact, humanity is alone in a galaxy full of various bug civilizations.
America's Galactic Foreign Legion maintains a fragile truce with the spiders across a DMZ, but our real secret weapon is our culture. The aliens succumb to American culture when we bring in the heavy artillery: satellite TV, fast food, McDonald's, Walmart, the Mafia, drugs, alcohol, casino gambling, sports betting, football, baseball, Nike sports products, skateboards, the Teamsters Union, the internet, gold rushes, immigration, Starbucks coffee, cigarettes, MREs, terrorist insurgency, lawyers, democracy, freedom, American music, and sex. The aliens belatedly try to legislate against the Americanization of their culture, but resistance is futile.
I draw a parallel with the Americanization of third world countries in our real world. For example, you have Kentucky Fried Chicken in Baghdad, and McDonald's hamburgers in Pakistan. Rioters in Egypt complaining about American influence carry iPods, and wear American T-shirts and Nike shoes. Iran and China tried to legislate against American influence by restricting internet use and banning satellite dishes, but it's too late. America has already won. It's just a matter of time before the whole world becomes American.
America's Galactic Foreign Legion has been described as politically incorrect, and I will admit some of my legionnaires have issues, and are a bit shady and unethical. Some will steal anything not nailed down, and the lead character is a compulsive gambler. However, unlike other military humor (M.A.S.H. and Catch-22, for instance), my books have a positive American military spin. If humanity ever crosses the galaxy, it will be on American starships. No one else can do it. Is portraying a strong future America politically incorrect? I don't think so. Some people just can't handle a strong America. Too bad, so sad, for them.
2FB: Pontificate a bit on the state of science fiction, where it came from, how it got to the point it's at now, and where you see it going. Also how your books fit into it, and/or into the military sci-fi niche.
WALTER: Science fiction represents about six percent of book sales. It truly has become a niche market. Many publishers will not even consider Sci/Fi submissions, considering the genre unprofitable. Divide science fiction into speculative fiction and fantasy. I do not consider tales of magic and vampires to be science fiction, and it irritates me to see real science fiction forced to share shelf space with such books.
Science fiction is sub-categorized even further into end-of-the-world stories, zombies, space exploration, and military science fiction. I have created even more of a niche market by leaving the Star Trek type starships behind, and writing about infantry soldiers. The humor aspect leaves America's Galactic Foreign Legion all alone among new science fiction.
2FB: Oh you suspect that, do you? Personally, I suspect the Al Capone mob sometimes engaged in behavior that could be construed as possibly illegal. How long did you try to get somebody in New York's attention before you got published?
WALTER: My story started out similar to many other writers. I sent my manuscript out to every publisher and agent I could find online, getting back many form rejection letters. To my dismay I found that large publishers did not want unsolicited manuscripts from new authors, and required I submit through an agent. These days you almost need an agent to get an agent. Finally an agent in his rejection letter gave me some sage advice. He advised that I write a sequel. He stated that no matter how well I write, one-hit wonders are unprofitable, and no agent will touch them.
Read the complete interview on VPP, where you can also find links to all 14 books in the series.