I am excited to welcome author Larry Hodges, who is celebrating the release of his new novel, Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions.
The year is 2100, and the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system. When it comes to the election for president of Earth, the father-daughter team of Toby and Lara Platt are the cutthroat campaign directors who get candidates elected by any means necessary—including the current president, Corbin Dubois of France. But when an alien lands outside the United Nations, claiming to be an ambassador from Tau Ceti, Dubois orders her attacked. Toby resigns.
The alien survives—and so, it seems, might Dubois’s corrupt reelection campaign, now run by Lara. But Toby vows to put his daughter out of a job. He challenges the two major parties—one conservative, one liberal—and runs for president himself with a third-party moderate challenge. He’s a long-shot, but he’s determined to fix the problems he created in getting Dubois elected.
Amid rising tensions and chants of “Alien go home!” the campaign crisscrosses every continent as father and daughter battle for electoral votes and clash over the ideas and issues facing the world of 2100 in this bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-finish political campaign. The world is watching. And so is the alien.
Interview with Feodora Zubkov
Feodora, the diminutive general who led Russian troops to an upset victory over Japanese invaders in 2091, was recruited to run for vice president of Earth in the election of 2100, as chronicled in the historical novel Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions
INTERVIEWER: General, why do you want to be vice president of Earth?
FEODORA: This small general not interested in vice president, I just along for ride, maybe live in vice president palace—has nice hot tub. But start wars, party with pirates, these I do to help Toby be president. He’s dahling.
INTERVIEWER: You party with pirates? And you’d start a war just to win the election?
FEODORA: Politics is war. But it’s good war for good cause, and I start it secretly, nobody knows—except you. So now small general must have you eliminated.
INTERVIEWER: You’re kidding, right?
FEODORA: [She smiles]
INTERVIEWER: Please tell me you’re kidding.
FEODORA: Okay, I kidding, if that what you wish to hear.
INTERVIEWER: Now I see why they call you the Mountain Monster.
FEODORA: Only in Japan and China, because I keep beating them in war.
INTERVIEWER: You only beat Japan, and that was in one war, nearly ten years ago.
FEODORA: So far. Others call me Horse.
INTERVIEWER: Is that because you are running in an election, and so are in sort of a horse race?
FEODORA: No, that silly. Look at my face. That is why they call me Horse. Now, do you have important question to ask, or you just waste small general’s time with small talk about small things?
INTERVIEWER: Okay, where do you stand on the issue of eating meat?
FEODORA: Eating meat is illegal in whole world, other than Australia. We’re not in Australia, so eating meat is illegal, immoral, and wrong. Only bad people eat dead animal.
INTERVIEWER: How about Australia and the rest of Oceania getting to vote first every time in worldwide elections?
FEODORA: Someone once say all are equal, but some are more equal than others. I am all for some more equal than others. Then we shoot them, and all are equally equal. Problem solved.
[She pulls out a pack of beef jerky and begins to eat it.]
INTERVIEWER: Is that meat you are eating?
FEODORA: This is dead animal I am eating. It not complain.
INTERVIEWER: How about the Russian Federation? Is it a collection of countries or one big country?
FEODORA: It one country, of course. Russia is like ocean tide. It moves in and conquers its neighbors. Then it recedes, and its neighbors go free, but only until the tide comes in again. Right now, tide is coming in.
INTERVIEWER: So is Russia going to conquer its neighbors?
FEODORA: Russian Federation one big happy family.
INTERVIEWER: What do you think of the Blue Whale Aquarium in Dover, owned by the Bank of France? Is it a wonder or just France giving England the finger?
FEODORA: I like seafood. But only vegetarian of course. [She takes another bite of beef jerky.]
INTERVIEWER: How did you negotiate with the pirates of the South China Sea?
FEODORA: It always help to bring secret weapon to secret negotiation. And learn to say “Aaargh.”
INTERVIEWER: What do you think of the alien ambassador Twenty-two?
FEODORA: Sometimes she’s a she, sometimes she’s a he. A woman who become short, handsome man when needed, then back to woman for girl talk. Perfect!
INTERVIEWER: There are stories that you were captured and handcuffed in Tanzania, but you broke out of the handcuffs and took on the Tanzanian military singlehandedly.
FEODORA: Reports are greatly exaggerated. Toby help, give them very mean look.
TOBY PLATT [candidate for president of Earth and Feodora’s running mate]: Hey, why are you interviewing Feodora instead of me? I’m the one running for president!
INTERVIEWER: To be frank, she’s more interesting than you. She’s like a super hero, while you’re just a tortured soul who at age 50 still hasn’t found himself. And you’re running for president against your own daughter—what type of family reunions do you people have?
FEODORA: Don’t worry, Toby, I take care of this insulting person.
INTERVIEWER: What do you mean– [he is suddenly yanked offline and escorted out, discovers the site Literary Escapism has been bought by an anonymous buyer from the Russian Federation, and that the site is surrounded by Russian troops.]
TOBY: What happened to the interviewer?
FEODORA: Don’t worry, dahling, all is taken care of. You just run for president and look important, I just tag along. [Speaking to an aide through the thought computer in her brain, “No, do not harm him, just tell interview guy we’ve put a small bomb in his brain, will go off if he say bad things about Toby. But give him big severance pay, he’s dahling.]
Meet Larry Hodges!
Larry Hodges was going to be a math professor (bachelor’s in math), but science fiction writing and table tennis (yes, ping-pong) sidetracked him, and now he writes (and coaches the latter) for a living. He is an active member of Science Fiction Writers of America with over 70 short story sales. Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is his third novel, and combines three of his favorite things: science fiction, politics, and table tennis. He’s a graduate of the six-week 2006 Odyssey Writers Workshop and the 2008 Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop, and is a member of Codexwriters.com. His story “The Awakening” was the unanimous grand prize winner at the 2010 Garden State Horror Writers Short Story Competition. He’s a full-time writer with ten books and over 1600 published articles in over 140 different publications. He also writes about and coaches the Olympic Sport of Table Tennis, is a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame (Google it!), and once beat someone using an ice cube as a racket.
Want to purchase Larry’s novels?
Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions
The Spirit of Pong
Sorcerers in Space
Pings and Pongs: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of Larry Hodges
More Pings and Pongs: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of Larry Hodges