Star Wars:  The Old Republic - Fatal Alliance (Book) by Sean Williams

 

 

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August 2010

 

Author Sean Williams
Letters and Notes

 

 

Biography

Author of seventy published short stories and twenty-nine novels, nominated for the Ditmar, the Aurealis and the prestigious Philip K Dick Award for Saturn Returns, Sean has been published around the world in numerous languages, on-line, and in spoken word editions. His current projects include Astropolis, a gothic-noir gender-bending space opera trilogy, and The Broken Land, a dark fantasy series for children set in the same fantasy universe as the Books of the Change  Concluding volumes in each, The Grand Conjunction and The Scarecrow, are 2009 books. He also wrote the novelisation of the computer game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which was the first game tie-in to debut at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Magic Dirt: the Best of Sean Williams was launched in 2008 and won the first Aurealis Award for Best Collection.

Forthcoming novels in 2010 include Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance and the Fixers series for middle-grade readers. 2011 sees the beginning of Troubletwisters, co-written with Garth Nix.

He studied sciences and music at Pulteney Grammar and matriculated third in his year (1984), topping the state for Music Composition.
That same year, he won the Young Composer's Award for a theme and three variations for string quartet with flute, oboe and trumpet soloists called "Release of Anger". (Its original title was "Cowled they the Rampant Gargoyle Down" but his music teacher thought something sensible would be greeted more warmly.) His interest in music has remained strong, with occasional forays back into composition. Writing fiction takes up most of his time at the moment, however, so he has to content himself with buying CDs and occasionally DJing for parties.

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Author Sean Williams

" I think again, partly with soundtrack music, inevitably you love the movie, and then the music evokes similar emotions that are aroused while you were watching the movie, and I think the two become very entangled in your brain. "

Sean Williams


SEAN WILLIAMS, author of the novelization of STAR WARS THE FORCE UNLEASHED, the recently released, STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC – FATAL ALLIANCE, shares about his recent works, his passion for film music and what he listens to when writing.  He also shares about some of his all-time favorite soundtracks, why the year, 1981, is such an important year and how he faced the difficult choice between writing and composing music.

(This interview has been transcribed and edited from the SoundCast audio interview.)

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Star Wars:  The Old Republic - Fatal Alliance (Book) by Sean Williams

Star Wars:  The Force Unleashed 2 (Book) by Sean Williams

Star Wars:  The Force Unleashed (Book) by Sean Williams

 

CC: Being down in Adelaide, Southern Australia, how does that work for you, being in the business that you're in? Do you find that because of today and the communications technology that's available, that it enables you to be there with no problems?

SEAN WILLIAMS: Well it's certainly very easy to communicate down here via Skype and the Internet, phones, and even to travel. I've spent most of my life in Adelaide, right in the middle of nowhere, and I've always said that its a big small-town where you can live very cheaply and quite comfortably. We've got a great wine, great food and a great arts community here. The money I save by not living in places like Sydney and New York enables me to travel fairly extensively, and come back to my home where I work. So these days it's actually very easy. When I first started writing back in 1989-1990, the Internet did sort of exist, but it was still very difficult. All of my early submissions were conducted by a mail or faxes back then, and it was a little bit tough, but I think I had less distractions then so it actually worked quite well in my favor.

CC: Yes, it has ended up that way for sure.

SEAN WILLIAMS: Looking back on it, it seems easy. [laughs]

CC: [laughs] Yeah, why isn't everyone doing that, right?

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right.

 

Writing in the Star Wars Universe

CC: I read STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED...well I should say I read half of it because I was actually playing the game at the same time, and I was getting ahead of my gameplay, because it's easier to read than play games.

SEAN WILLIAMS: [laughs] That's right.

CC: So I actually stopped halfway through, because I was getting ahead of myself and I was going to find out what's going on in the game. But it was very interesting in having the experience of reading a book and playing a video-game because, just like books and film or books and television, you get a lot more detail with the books. I never got back to finishing the book because I finished the game, but I wanted to say what a great book that was, at least the half that I read. I thought it was excellent.

SEAN WILLIAMS: Thanks very much! It was really an interesting and difficult process of turning a script for a game into a book.

CC: I imagine you were working closely with HAYDEN BLACKMAN, who I think wrote the original screenplay for the game. Is that true?

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right. When I was brought onto the project, the script was still being written. In fact, even right up to when I was finishing my draft, certain lines were being moved around. One day, I was halfway through the book when they cut three levels from the game. So there was micromanaging and major structural changes happening during the course of the writing, which was challenging a really fascinating. Because a computer game isn't a book, I tried to find a structure that would work as a book, but still based on the game. It was really challenging. There's still a somewhat level-based sequence to it, but trying to find a written narrative way to make that work was intensely challenging. It was really fascinating for me as a writer. I grew up reading adaptations of movies, MELLON D. FOSTER novels and TERENCE DICKS novels from Dr. Who, and I've always wanted to have a go at a script.

CC: I imagine it was unlike any other project you've had.

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right. And the FATAL ALLIANCE novel that has just come out is based on the MMORPG of the OLD REPUBLIC game from the STAR WARS universe, so it's a very different kind of game. There was no script, so that was challenging in its own way. In some ways it was a relief to go back to the script-based storytelling that came with FORCE UNLEASHED 2, which is coming out in a couple months' time. They're very different experiences for both books, but very fascinating and enjoyable.

CC: Now you brought up your most recent release, FATAL ALLIANCE, and as you mentioned, that is tied to STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC game, which is coming out in 2011. Is this storyline that you've written directly a part of the game, or does it precede the events of the game? How does it work?

SEAN WILLIAMS: The intention of the book is to capture the essence of the MMO, the world that it's set in, the kind of character classes that will be in the game, and the kind of stories that will be told – and that in itself will be a huge arc; because the story arcs that are in the MMO will last for 5 years. These story arcs are huge, being set in a huge galaxy where there's dozens of worlds and there's at least 8 character classes, so just trying to capture that is hard enough. But trying to do that without actually giving away any of the plot was really challenging and difficult. So what this book does is, it's like an appetizer. It's designed to whet your appetite and make you want to play the game, but also to be satisfying in its own right as a novel. There are some people who only read the novels and will never play the computer games, so it needs to work in its own right as a novel, and I think it does. It's a large, sprawling epic with multiple viewpoints and several plots that come together in surprising and interesting ways. I hope.

CC: [laughs] Ok!

SEAN WILLIAMS: It was a very collaborative process putting it together, we had all the editors at Del Rey, the LucasBooks people in San Francisco, and all the game people. We all had many conference calls and drafts going back and forth. It was a hugely collaborative exercise. Again it was very challenging and enjoyable, every novel I've ever written for STAR WARS has been challenging, enjoyable in one way or another, which is what makes it fun.

CC: I've got that book as well, and I've just started it. I think I got through the time-line. I was studying the time-line and thinking, “Oh, this is 3600 years before A NEW HOPE. Ok...that's going back a ways.”

SEAN WILLIAMS: This is actually the first novel, chronologically speaking, in the entire series of STAR WARS novels, which I'm very excited about. I've worked very early (in the timeline) in this book, and I've worked with Luke and Leia's kids in the NEW JEDI ORDER. I've also worked with Darth Vader's secret apprentice obviously, just before Episode IV. So it's been fun hopping around with various bits.

CC: I'm looking forward to diving into it, and it looks like it's going to be a fun ride, and what an honor it is to be kicking off this whole galaxy.

SEAN WILLIAMS: It's very daunting. [laughs]

CC: Regarding The FORCE UNLEASHED story arc, from what I understand -and correct me if I'm wrong- LUCAS himself has said that this is canon. Is that true?

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right. All the novels are canon, but I've suspect that some novels are more canon than others. LUCAS is more involved in some novels than others. I know he's worked very closely with HAYDEN BLACKMAN on the script, in terms of what could be shown and what couldn't be. THE FORCE UNLEASHED, portrays the life and times of Darth Vader's secret apprentice, but it also shows the creation of the Rebellion to restore the Republic. So it's very important in canon. It was nicknamed “Episode 3.5” for a while. The story gets bigger; we see more and more into that little window of the universe that we've never seen in before. It's important stuff for STAR WARS fans and writers. I guess most of us have grown up in a kind of STAR WARS world.

CC: Earlier you mentioned that they took 3 levels out of the game, which I'm imagining turned out to be the expansion levels, the DLC that came out and then in the Ultimate Sith Edition came out later in the year, which was kind of that “alternate universe”, where the apprentice goes dark. Was that what happened? I don't know if you can tell me that or not, or you'd “have to kill me afterward”. [laughs]

SEAN WILLIAMS: That wasn't the case. There were extra levels. One of the missions was that the apprentice had to rescue an important general that was going to help with the Rebellion from a prison. But there were canonical issues with that; they weren't entirely sure where the general was at the time and it conflicted with everything, so the simplest solution was to take the level out. I think there was a “test-firing” of the Death Star plot in there as well, which was also taken out because again, it conflicted with time-lines. But there was one level that I really liked so much that I asked that it be kept in the book, because I thought it had a very powerful thematic resonance with the main character, the apprentice. I made my case as best I could that I should be allowed to keep it in the novel even though it wasn't in the game, and I was allowed to do that. So if you finish the novel, there's a level in there that isn't in the game, but I think raps up Starkiller's arc in the segment fairly comprehensively. I hope. I certainly liked writing it and I would've been really sad if I had to cut it out.

CC: Well now you've given me enough to go back and finish reading the book.

SEAN WILLIAMS: [laughs] Well I like to think that the book adds a lot to the game that you don't get from the game itself. Certainly Juno's character is vastly expanded in the game. So there's a bit more of Juno that you might want to see.

 

Music to Write By

CC: You are also an avid music lover. What do you listen to when you're writing? You're primarily writing in the sci-fi fantasy world; does that necessarily mean that you listen to that kind of stuff while writing?

SEAN WILLIAMS: Sometimes it depends on what I'm writing. When I first started writing, I remember listening to almost anything. I remember one of my novels I wrote entirely to PETER GABRIEL's “Us” album. I'm not sure why it was that album. I think for weeks I played it over and over again. I'm not certain why that particularly appealed, but it certainly did at the time. These days I can't write with anything with lyrics in it; it's too distracting, unless it's plain song or chant. I find it gets in the way with the words that are coming out of my head. Back in the early years of being able to rip CDs onto your computer, I went through all my soundtrack collections and ripped out all my favorite relatively quiet bits. It was a huge playlist that would play at random; hundreds of hours of music, which was fantastic. So I listened to a lot of soundtrack material; nothing that's too loud or obtrusive. I like to have music on that has a kind of energy, rhythm or structure to it without being too boomy or intrusive so that it won't get in the way. Say, for example, BEAR McCREARY's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA music. It's fantastic music. Some of the drums are a bit too aggressive or abrasive...it gets in the way of whatever's going on subconsciously in my brain, so I tend to like his quiet tracks like the Passacaglia and other tracks. These days I listen to experimental, ambient, electronic music. STEVE RODEN, in particular is a real favorite. Some of RYUICHI SAKAMOTO's work with ALVA NOTO, CARBON-BASED LIFEFORMS, these kind of energetic, background-y, and yet can also be listened to with headphones as pieces of music in their own right...I'm in a constant search for that kind of music. When I first started writing STAR WARS novels 10-12 years ago, I thought, “Fantastic, now I can dig out all my soundtracks and listen to them, and I put on the soundtrack to Episode IV. It's a wonderful soundtrack, in fact it's the first record I've ever owned. Yet I couldn't write to it; I couldn't even write a STAR WARS novel to it. I found that I kept getting carried away and distracted by it.

CC: That's interesting.

SEAN WILLIAMS: [laughs] Probably for the best though; I think having written 6 STAR WARS novels, I would've worn those CDs out and learn not to not like them quite so much. [laughs] I've played them over many times.

CC: Now on your site, you have a list of soundtracks that you seemed to be marked as favorites; One would be ALIEN by JERRY GOLDSMITH, PSYCHO by BERNARD HERRMANN, SOLARIS by CLIFF MARTINEZ, THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT: MUSIC FROM THE X-FILES by MARK SNOW. Talk about those and why those made your list.

SEAN WILLIAMS: I think ALIEN is partially a sentimental favorite because I wasn't allowed to see the movie when it came out. My parents said it was too violent. But I read the book, had the soundtrack, got the magazines, had the photo album. I listened to that soundtrack thousands of times, not realizing that the soundtrack wasn't really used in the movie. I didn't quite know the history of the wonderful JERRY GOLDSMITH soundtrack that he was commissioned to write. But a lot of temp tracks were used instead, or alternate takes that didn't appear on the record. I think he might have even paid for the recording to be made and released by himself. Something like that...it's a great story even if it's not true. [laughs] Well it's a good story to tell.

CC: It goes good on the Internet, that's for sure.

SEAN WILLIAMS: It'll become canon now. [laughs] But it's a wonderfully, aggressively primal score with all sorts of reed instruments, and it sounds like he's playing trumpets underwater at one point. It's so complexly rhythmic and atonal that I've never quite heard anything like it before. I was used to the JOHN WILLIAMS-style scores from STAR WARS at that point in my life, and suddenly -there was a soundtrack radio show on one of the public radio stations that I was listening to, about 30 years ago. They played a track from it, and I got completely hooked by it straight away. One of my other favorite scores in a similar vein is ENNIO MORRICONE's score to the THE THING, which I really love for similar reasons. It's a bit more lyrical and haunting, and hard to capture in words why I love it so much. I think again, partly with soundtrack music, inevitably you love the movie, and then the music evokes similar emotions that are aroused while you were watching the movie, and I think the two become very entangled in your brain. But there are some scores for movies that I've never seen before, that I've loved regardless or scores for movies that I don't particularly like, such as the original LORD OF THE RINGS score.

CC: You mean the animated film?

SEAN WILLIAMS: Yes, the animated one. The LEONARD ROSENMAN score. I loved that score. The movie's not that successful, but what a terrific score! It was intensely rhythmic and oddly-textured; it's really an ambitious piece of music. That's one of the scores that I can sometimes write to, depending on the piece of music, because it's sort of seamless, alive, rich, layered, and complex, just like the books. I find that I know that so well now, having listened to it for so many years, that I can actually write to that. In fact, I'll probably listen to it again after this interview; I haven't heard it in a while. [laughs]

CC: You bring up LORD OF THE RINGS; what was your feeling about HOWARD SHORE's work for the more recent trilogy?

SEAN WILLIAMS: It was wonderful. As soon as I heard he'd got the job, I knew that he'd get it right. I loved his scores for SE7EN and THE GAME. I think he's done some really remarkable work down the years. As soon as I sat in the cinema and heard the first opening notes, I knew that he was exactly right. He captured the simplicity of the Shire, and I knew that he'd get Moria and Mordor right. He absolutely nailed it, particularly in the first movie. There were a couple moments in the second movie where I thought he was drifting a bit close to GUSTAV HOLST in places; there was one particular theme, the Rohan Theme, that kept lifting out of the movie because it sounded so familiar to HOLST's THE PLANETS, but that's just a minor grudge. Otherwise it was perfect. [laughs]

CC: When his name was first announced, there was a bit of scuttlebutt about it on the Internet about it. I was just totally blown away and surprised, and it's become some of my all-time favorite film music.

SEAN WILLIAMS: TOLKIEN himself said that “Every great story is, at its heart, about death”, and the LORD OF THE RINGS is very much about that, and the last thing the LORD OF THE RINGS movies needed was a score that was like JOHN WILLIAMS': uplifting with fanfares and marches. Also, the HARRY POTTER music would be completely and utterly wrong in LORD OF THE RINGS, and I'm sure HOWARD SHORE understands death and loss. As you can hear in his earlier scores, they're filled with death, horror, loss and I think that was the right note. All he needed to do was get the Shire right, which he did. Those were all beautiful themes, just wonderful.

 

Choosing Between Writing and Composing

CC: You've studied it while you were in school, and top of your class at some point. Talk about that part of your life and career.

SEAN WILLIAMS: Ever since I was a young boy I loved music and, as I'd said before, my first record was the STAR WARS soundtrack and many other soundtracks featured in my teen years. When I was in high school, I loved music and I loved learning music theory, but I was never good at learning an instrument. I was terrible at practicing; I was very, very lazy. But I discovered the more I got into theory, the more interested I was in writing music. At that time I was writing novels, but I also liked the exercise of writing compositions of my own. So in my final year at school I took music theory and composition, which was an absolute joy. I had a wonderful music teacher who encouraged me to try all sorts of weird things, and he would often raise his eyebrows and wonder what I'd done, but it worked out quite well. I topped the stadium then in that particular subject and won a Young Composer's Award.

At that point in my life I faced a real crossroad. I had to decide what I was going to do. Was I going to do music or write novels, or was I going to get a “real job”? Foolishly, I chose to get a “real job”. After a couple of years in university doing economics, of all things, I dropped out and again I faced that crossroad. In fact, I had a wonderful music teacher at university, again a theory teacher. He was a terrific fellow. He understood my dilemma. I said to him “Look, I love doing music theory and composition, and I'd love to take you as a private teacher rather than do it in the university system, but I also love writing, and I think I've been doing writing slightly longer. Maybe I should give that a go”. He replied, “I'd rather you do music” but he understood my dilemma because he had to have a choice between music and painting when he was in his 20's, and he chose music and never looked back. He said “We've got to choose one. You can go back and forth between the two forever.” In the artistic world, you really need to give 150%, so it had to be one or the other. So I chose writing, and obviously it worked out pretty well. But somewhere in another trouser-leg of time I chose music instead.

Even back in the early days of writing I would have my Amiga 500, where I would try to write music on a 4-track sampler, and I had all sorts of various music exercises to do for university. But in that other universe, music was the career and writing was the hobby. Now my dream would be a soundtrack writer. I'd love to have been writing scores through the '90s, when TV suddenly became such an interesting forum for soundtracks. Say, for example, MARK SNOW. I really love his soundtrack for X-FILES because the textures he was using back then, using synthesizers and sequencers hadn't been used in TV so successfully before. It was such a wonderful time to be listening to soundtracks. I also like the BABYLON 5 score by the guy from TANGERINE DREAM, CHRISTOPHER FRANKE. Again, it's a really new kind of sound for TV. As I was getting more successful at writing, a part of me was always thinking, “You know, maybe I could have done that. Maybe I could have been in that wave”. As I listen to electronic, experimental music, part of me thinks “I could have been doing that”. I wish I was doing that and my dream someday is to be so successful in writing that I could spend 6 months out of a year writing a novel, and the other 6 months tinkering with music, by starting again from scratch. That's my other great passion, and you can probably tell that I'm really invested in it, and really wishing I could do both, but my life hasn't been long enough [laughs].

 

1981: The Pinnacle of Sci-Fi and Music

CC: Now, you wrote something on your site; your essay on sci-fi and music, and how you see the 80's, around 1981 or so, as the pinnacle of both. Being a child of the 80's growing up myself in that era, I recognized a lot of the titles that you mentioned in there: THOMAS DOLBY, PRINCE, DEVO, ART OF NOISE, those were all groups I listened to as well, and I remember that era quite fondly. Can you summarize what your essay was about and why you tie sci-fi to that era, as well as why that's the pinnacle?

SEAN WILLIAMS: Well I remember 1981 quite vividly, for three things. One was that two albums cane out. One was ELO's concept album, TIME, which was about a man snatched out of our world and taken to the future where he had various adventures and then returned. It was a pop classic, and a huge hit. I really loved that album because I had been reading a lot of science fiction and I've been listening to ELO, which had science fiction imagery on their covers. This was an album that combined the two. Ellen Parson's project, EYE IN THE SKY, kind of did the same thing but less obviously science-fictional. That came out 1981, so there's that one intersection of music and science-fiction. Also, the Atari 2600 computer game console came out as well. Another classic game console; I was very lucky to have one of those. I was the only person in my school who had one, so I was very popular for a bit of time, despite being a great big nerd. [laughs]

We were playing MISSLE COMMAND and SPACE INVADERS while listening to HUMAN LEAGUE's DARE album came out then, and also DEVO's NEW TRADITIONALISTS album came out then. While both of those albums were not being science-fictional, they both had sci-fi imagery attached to them: DEVO with their plastic hair and HUMAN LEAGUE with their whited-out faces and almost-plastic hair. The songs themselves, the sounds were so synthesized.

I wrote that essay in 2002 and there had been a kind of 80's revival where the songs were coming back, but the music that was being made in 2002 didn't really reflect what I thought was a key part of the 80's kind of sound, which is the really big fat synth sound, the big roaring, round sound that no one was making in 2002. I'm very pleased now that that sound is back in. I went to ULTRA play last week, and they're an amazing British band with the fattest synths I've heard for 30 years. It's absolutely brilliant, and I'm glad to see that coming back.

So there was one intersection of ELO, and another intersection of Atari, DEVO and the HUMAN LEAGUE, but there was also movies as well. In 1980, there was EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and in 1982, BLADE RUNNER came out, so for the first time ever, science-fiction was really big in the cinema. Soundtrack music was becoming more and more popular. STAR WARS was such a huge best-selling soundtrack, and everyone wanted the BLADE RUNNER soundtrack, but you couldn't get it, and you still can't get it properly. So music and science-fiction combined in that era as well, and 1981 was when it all came together just perfectly.

 

Thoughts on Soundtracks Today

CC: As we're kind of wrapping up here, let me ask you what you think of film music and video-game music today as a whole. For me, video-game music has kind of moved into the place that film-music held in my heart for a long time. I'm prone to the melodic stuff, the big orchestral, symphonic stuff...I really love that. Film music started to move away from that in the 90's, getting much more minimal, like with THOMAS NEWMAN and PHILIP GLASS, which I love too, but the big stuff was going away. Video-game music has kind of assumed that role. But now, it's pretty well balanced out, I think. I just wanted to ask you, what's your feeling about the state of this type of music in the here-and-now?

SEAN WILLIAMS: It's very interesting. I don't play computer games as much as I would like, partly because I need to write for a living, and if I started playing games, I'd never get anything done. But I think it's a fascinating form, given its inherent mutability. You don't know how long someone's going to be playing a particular scene, but your music has to survive that long. Playing the STAR WARS games as I have for research at various points, it's really fascinating to hear the fragments of orchestral scores coming and going, and layering. It's almost interesting to sit in one spot and see what the score will do...will it run out, or loop back? Is there some kind of A.I. System behind the score? I mean, what a really fascinating medium to write for. The challenges must be immense! There are some obvious ways to do it; there are some of the more ambient scores that do just loop over and over, and that can be fascinating in some way too, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I haven't heard it enough in action. I like buying the scores to soundtracks, and I'm really pleased that so many of them are becoming available and popular too, but I haven't heard enough of them in the actual context. It's a bit like buying the movie score without watching the movie...buying the game score without actually hearing it in play...it's a completely different experience. I wish I had more time to play. Sometimes I like it; I've got a couple of stepsons that play computer games, and I quite like it when they play in the background, apart from the explosions, yelling and arguing. I like hearing the music as it comes and goes.

CC: And what do you think about the state of film music these days?

SEAN WILLIAMS: I'm a little out of touch in that area. I don't actually get out to see movies very much. I see them out on DVD. I kind of agree with you; I think film music is a little bit like pop music or R&B now. It feels like it's sort of done everything already, and it's waiting for some new kind of paradigm to come along to knock things around. THOMAS NEWMAN did the score for AMERICAN BEAUTY, correct?

CC: Yes, that's correct.

SEAN WILLIAMS: That was a real change for film music, because I thought I keep hearing echoes of THOMAS NEWMAN in almost everything. Then you get the HARRY POTTERs, the JOHN WILLIAMS knock-offs, the HOWARD SHOREs creeping through and I'm sort of left waiting. I wonder if musicians like BEAR McCREARY will ever move into film music So to answer your question, I don't really know, but I don't really see enough of it to have any sort of firm idea. My feeling is that I'll know it when I hear it, if something new comes out. I'm also curious to know what you think about it?

CC: I think things have kind of equalized a bit. I think that things have come back from the minimalist trend that was in the late 90's and early 2000's. And especially because of the LORD OF THE RINGS, everyone got back on the big, bold, symphonic, trip again. So that's still lingering, but there's so many avenues now, be it TV. I love BEAR McCREARY's work that he's done for TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. There's so many avenues for good music and unique music to come out. You may or may not be aware of this, and it's probably going to be fantastic, especially considering your love for the early 80's, and that is TRON: LEGACY with DAFT PUNK. I think that could be a seminal work, or something that, to use a phrase that's used far too much these days, a “game-changer”.

SEAN WILLIAMS: Yeah. I thought the music to THE MATRIX was really interesting too. I forget who did that.

CC: It was. DON DAVIS did that.

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right. It's interesting; they did this in ALIEN as well: when someone comes in with a particular cue that's picked up in all the sequels, and imitated over and over again. JERRY GOLDSMITH did it with ALIEN, and the MATRIX did it as well. It's interesting to see what the new cue will be. Maybe it'll be TRON, I don't know if you've heard the cues that may or may not be in the soundtrack; they're on the Web.

CC: Yeah, there's some fake ones and real ones. The real ones I like; the fake stuff I was actually a little bored with, so I'm glad it ended up being fake. But interestingly enough, JASON BENTLEY, the music supervisor for THE MATRIX trilogy is music supervisor for TRON. I'm expecting something different, but still good to come out of that film. High expectations there.

SEAN WILLIAMS: Yeah, absolutely.

CC: So as we finish up, how is FATAL ALLIANCE doing for you? Is it flying off the bookshelves like you hoped?

SEAN WILLIAMS: Yes, it debuted at #12 on the NEW YORK TIMES, (Hard-back best sellers list) and is staying about that position in the second week, so that's a good sign.

CC: And THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2 comes out around the beginning of October, is that right?

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right, yes.

CC: We'll be looking forward to that as well. We're certainly looking forward to seeing your name attached to some composition that comes floating about somewhere, somehow.

SEAN WILLIAMS: One day. I'd love to do a soundtrack to one of my own books. That would be the obvious thing to do. But I'd love to do that, I think that would be great and challenging in a really weird way. There's actually another SEAN WILLIAMS out there who's a musicologist. There's also a SEAN WILLIAMS who's a film composer, but the one who's a musicologist specializes in gamelan music, like STAR TREK, and I've always wanted to write something together, but I'd also like to write music with her and that would be interesting as well.

CC: Best of luck on maybe one day, getting to do just that, and for the upcoming FORCE UNLEASHED novel coming out, and we hope to see FATAL ALLIANCE climb even higher. And I won't be surprised if it does as the OLD REPUBLIC game gets released; hopefully it'll get an even bigger bump. I want to thank you for coming on the SoundCast, and we look forward to hearing more from you in the days to come.

SEAN WILLIAMS: My pleasure, thanks CHRISTOPHER, it's been great talking.
 

Buy Books by Sean Williams at Amazon.com

*Interview transcribed by Vince Chang and edited by Christopher Coleman

 

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