EmzChat with Dani and Eytan Kollin

The announcement of the Prometheus Awards in July brightened two faces for sure. Dani and Eytan Kollin are brothers and first time authors of the 2010 Prometheus Award winning novel, The Unincorporated Man.

The Unincorporated Man is about Justin Cord, a brilliant industrialist who wakes from a 300-year cryonic suspension into a world that has accepted an extreme form of market capitalism. It's a world in which humans themselves have become incorporated and most people no longer own a majority of themselves. Justin is the last free man in the human race - owned by no one and owning no one.

The Libertarian Futurist Society will hold its annual awards ceremony for the Prometheus Award during Aussicon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention, September 2-6, 2010, in Melbourne, Australia. The Prometheus Award was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf.

When I first received the glossy hardcover Kollin book from Amazon, I thought… this is a beauty. Being a first book by unknown authors, I crossed my fingers that they would do well. I knew holding it, as the book biz had begun to crumble, that it may be the last hardcover, first novel, by a big name publisher that I would ever own. My exact words on my blog were:

Wow. This book is just amazing to look at. From the cover, to the binding, to the gold lettering, it’s truly a piece of art. When I met Dani at Baycon a few years ago, I never could have imagined opening an Amazon box would be such an experience. This story is innovative, original, and well written. These Kollin boys have an excellent first novel.Can’t wait to see what they pull out next.

The Kollin brothers did go on to do well with their first print novel and now officially have a series with their second book, The Unincorporated War, released in May of this year. I couldn’t be more thrilled that they are doing so well. They were nice enough to answer some questions for us about their book, the award, and what they were fan boys for as children, growing up in Northern New Jersey.

EM: How does it feel to be the winners of the Prometheus Award?
EK: Shock and surprise followed immediately by blasé, (crap that didn't take long). Seriously, it felt great. Liberty is important to me and my brother. To be recognized by a tough set of judges against amazing opposition as having contributed to the discussion of Liberty in science fiction kicks me right to the top of Maslow's pyramid. And the huge honking gold coin is great too.
DK: When I look at the list of names that have won this award I simply can’t believe we’re to be a part of it. I mean I really can’t believe it. I’m certainly proud of what we’ve accomplished but it’s still so unreal that the disbelief is stronger than the pride.

EM: What is one thing that was difficult releasing your first novel that you wished someone told you about going in?
EK: The wait. It was two and half years from contract signing to holding the book in my hand. I have since learned more patience.
DK: You’re nobody, even with a book deal, until you prove yourself to the fans. I remember coffee klatches where only one or two people showed up while all around us the authors who’d paid their dues had full tables. That was an invaluable lesson.

EM: When you were a kid, what movie, comic, tv series, book, or media were you a mega fan of?
EK: Giant Robot, Logan's Run, Mission Impossible, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Space 1999, Any comic that was some iteration of a hundredth, (and the X-Men). I will now admit, that I did like the Americanized and almost senseless Battle of the Planets.
DK: Gigantor, Speed Racer, Lost in Space.

EM: If you were to meet one person who would make you become a fanboy again, who would it be?
EK: dead, Robert Heinlein; alive, Elvis Presley, (lol).
DK: I never was a fanboy but I do worship at the feet of Ray Bradbury.

EM: How do your fans react to your book? Any weirdos?
EK: Deep introspective questions about how the system could actually work combined with pleasant surprise that a book that started out as economic science fiction could end up being so intrinsically interesting.
DK: The reaction is almost always positive (generally, fans won’t take the time to write to you if they don’t like your work). No wierdos but we’ve had a few “uh, that was awkward” moments. One guy wrote us a three-page email explaining exactly how the unincorporated system would look as a derivatives market. TMI.

EM: How would your characters feel if they found out their world was created by a couple of guys in a basement?
EK: Dank and cluttered apartment, thank you very much. Justin would be incensed and Hektor would wonder if he could make a deal to get out of the book into the 'real' world.
DK: They’d figure out how to exploit their “humble beginnings” in order to increase in their stock valuation.

EM: If you were given carte blanche to write in an established SciFi world, which one would you pick? And what character would you be most interested in writing?
EK: I already did, but I was not given carte blanche. It was a Star Trek alternate fiction novel and it was fun to write. I picked a humbled Kirk who couldn't help being the center of attention. Since it has no chance of being published I was free to make it exactly as I wanted. Barring getting paid a decent amount of money I wouldn't want to write in an established universe because of the lack of freedom. The only one I have to answer to now is me, (and my brother and my editor, and marketing and our agent). But other than that I am free to do what I want. And compared to writing in an already established universe with its rules and restrictions, I am free. Still all that being said, Doctor Who. I would love a novel where the fourth doctor meets one or more of the new ones. It would be fun to see if I could get the essence of their characters right and transfer it to the written page, or screen.
DK: No question about it – I would LOVE to write at least one BBC episode for the new Doctor Who.

More information about Dani and Eytan Kollin can be found at TheUnincorporatedMan.com.

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