Interviews: David Cian (1/04)

in Generation One, Interviews


1) Please tell us a bit about your background and how you got into writing.
David Cian is, as many people online have suspected, a pseudonym. It is *not* however a psuedonym for Scott Ciencin. In point of fact, there's even a clue in Book 2 about my real name. Like many writers, storytelling has always been a part of my life, and I did my time in the trenches collecting rejection slips. I started regularly selling my work, both short fiction and novels, back in 1995. I've written under a variety of names and in pretty much every genre. I'm also an editor.

2) How were you recruited to write "Annihilation"?
I was asked about the possibility of writing Annihilation early last summer. Obviously, there were some issues with the first book in the series, and I think both iBooks (the publisher) and Hasbro felt I could handle addressing some of these in a way that would make the fans happy. I expressed an interest mainly because I watched the cartoon series as a kid and enjoyed it so much. Who wouldn't want to spend time hanging out with Optimus Prime?

3) Were you familiar with Transformers before writing the book?
Mainly from the cartoon series back in the 80's. It's changed quite a lot since then, and that's been one of the challenges for me as a writer.

4) Were you given any of the Dreamwave comics to read before writing the book? Were you asked to remain within any sort of time frame within those comics?
Yes, a couple, but only as a reference tool. Really, the parameters of the story were set in Book 1 - my job was to continue the story in a way that met the needs of continuity (including what Dreamwave was doing) and met the expectations of the fans.

The time frame of the story somewhat dictated itself in that in Book 2, I felt that I needed to address a great many issues in a very brief period of time. The Transformers are all about action, and so things needed to move quickly. I also felt that the Keepers needed to be dealt with in a very fast manner - the danger they represented to the Transformers as well as earth, required a quick response.

5) Why was the decision made to end the storyline of the "Keepers"? It seemed from the first book that we would see them through the trilogy.
What makes you think the Keepers storyline is ended? :-) Honestly, I was trying to do something fairly difficult in taking over the series after it had started. In order to do what I really wanted to with the storyline, certain things had to happen in Book 2, so that other things could happen in Book 3.

6) While the book did not have enough room to focus on the topic, what do you think about the hypothetical effects of Transformers technology being blended with human technology?
I think it's fascinating, and this issue does come up a bit more in Book 3. Are humans ready for the responsibility implied by advanced technology? It's a question worth exploring, I think.

7) Below are some characters and qualities about them that stand out, please comment:
Grimlock: Insane or a good leader with a mean streak?
Hmmm... are these mutually exclusive qualities? Does insanity disqualify you from being a good leader? I think Grimlock's biggest problem is ego, to be honest. He sees power and strength as the only qualities inherent in leadership.

Starscream: A power hungry maniac or actually smarter than Megatron?
I think Starscream probably has some good ideas, in particular about using human society in a "cooperative" way. Certainly, he's power hungry, but his schemes usually fail because he's not as good at foreseeing outcomes as Megatron is.

Megatron: Why is his "slow" way of conquering better than Starscream's?
I think Megatron respects caution. It's easier to adjust your plans to the unexpected - and with the Autobots around, the unexpected is to be expected. I also think he knows that when you go to fast as a conquerer, you tend to miss things or forget them.

8) On page 71 of the book, it says that Omega Sentinel came to Earth to find Omega Sentinel...was that a typo of some sort? Is Omega Sentinel intended to become Omega Supreme?
Alas, a typo - for which I apologize profusely. Omega Sentinel is a much bigger part of Book 3, and the typo, as well as who he really is, will be clear by the end.

9) As Bluestreak was held captive by the Keepers in his own body, was his Spark still in there? If so, why would the Keepers let it continue to function?
Yes, of course. And the reason the Keepers would do this is simple: they enjoy having power over *living* beings. The Keepers are cruel and take pride in their ability to torture other races. What Bluestreak endured was certainly within the nature of these evil aliens, and a very difficult thing for him.

10) When Soundwave broke away from the Decepticons to go off with Megatron, I noticed only some of his "cassette-bots" went with him. Was this a deliberate choice? If so, why? Traditionally those Decepticons went everywhere he went and stayed loyal to him.
Yes, it was. I very much wanted to emphasize the split between the groups. The very nature of Decepticons is chaotic and unpredictable.

11) Any intention of using the Followers again in the next book?
The Followers and Allister Greaves in particular are a big part of Book 3. I enjoyed writing about Allister who, in many ways, is a fascinating character to work with.

12) Where did Franklin get the knowledge to use the crystal?
Ahhh... Mr. Franklin Townsend. A very bad man in so many ways, with few redeemable qualities. Where he came by his knowledge is also made clear in the next book.

13) Any chance of Bumblebee returning as Goldbug? Or just as plain old Bumblebee again? It would be anti-climactic to a degree, but I am also very fond of the character.
In so many ways, Bumblebee is one of my favorite characters. He's very...human. It was quite difficult to leave him where I did, especially after all he went through in Book 2. Rest assured, however, that he plays a role in Book 3.

14) While the Matrix is a powerful mechanism, Megatron's "favor" of being "named Prime" seems a bit off. In general, the Matrix has generally been portrayed as choosing its vessel, not the other way around. In the original G1 cartoon, when a Decepticon tried to possess the Matrix, he was horribly mutated. However, in this storyline, is the Matrix just a tool? Please comment on this.
Quite a bit of what you're asking here is resolved in Book 3, but I know it raised a lot of eyebrows. The fine folks at Hasbro almost fainted. Actually, how I treated the Matrix here was more like an artifact or tool, given to each Prime when he was named to the position. Megatron asking to be named Prime would, of course, allow him to possess the Matrix, but he couldn't use it. Needless to say, both Optimus and Megatron are aware of this, but losing
the Matrix would hurt the Autobots quite a bit - almost as much as losing Optimus himself.

15) While he would certainly be weakened by not having the Matrix's knowledge, isn't Optimus Prime more than just the sum of his parts? I would imagine his dedication, strength (of both body and mind), compassion and other positive qualities come from within his Spark and not an ancient artifact.
Yes, he is. Most certainly. The loss of the Matrix would hurt, but I think not being the Prime would hurt even more. Optimus' identity is very much tied in to his being the leader of the Autobots. Hopefully, the storyline in Book 3 - which is finished, btw - will allow fans to see the conclusion of this part of the story in unexpected ways!

BWTF.COM thanks Mr. Cian for participating in this interview.