Interview I Hosted with Jason Walters (Vice President of BlackWyrm Publishing and CEO of Hero Games)!

Published August 27, 2013 by glgiles

Introduction from Amazon: 

“Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its CEO. After owning a San Francisco bike messenger service for 15 years, he and his wife Tina moved to Midian Ranch: a homestead near the town of Gerlach, Nevada. It is also the location of IPR’s warehousing complex. They have a daughter with Down syndrome named Cassidy and animals too numerous to mention” (


GL:  Your book, “Nakba (The Civilizing War),” was recently released (June 2013) by BlackWyrm Publishing. Please give readers a synopsis of it and why you were inspired to write it.

JW:  Nakba is a novel about the evils of over-urbanization, the dangers of self-righteousness, and the necessity for having frontiers – whether on our own planet, on other worlds, or in outer space…and shape-shifting Japanese sex androids. It has those. And homemade spaceships. And starship captains with Down syndrome. And Masai tribesmen on Mars. And lots of other things.

There are several very distinct messages contained within Nakba. The first is that the emerging worldwide urban civilization of the 21st Century is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. It leads to a centralization of cultural power that we should view with extreme skepticism: despite (or perhaps because) of its obvious advantages. As humans we are creatures of family, village and field, not insects, and the current schemes being bandied about by social planners, architects, politicians, and theorists to press us into smaller and smaller, denser and denser spaces should be resisted, if not openly fought.

Secondly, we should be skeptical of utopian social schemes no matter how seemingly benign and tolerant they are. The despotism envisioned in Nakba is an extremely subtle and urbane one, created by the best minds of the future to be simultaneously innocuous and totalitarian in the classic, original sense that it is a “total” way of life. In essence, the imaginary future society that dominates the Earth in first half of the book – and spends the second half trying to dominate the rest of the Solar System – is based on the idea that, given half a chance, most people will oppress themselves on behalf of a government, sparing it the bother.

Thirdly, I wanted to write a science fiction novel in which there would be major characters with Down syndrome – not as victims or objects of pity, but as important people performing heroic tasks. I have a daughter with Down syndrome and I am confident in her abilities. Why couldn’t she survive in outer space? Why couldn’t she care passionately about something to fight for it? From my experience with my own child and meeting other people like my daughter, I see no reason why not.

GL:  From concept to execution (release), how long did it take you to write “Nakba?”

JW:  That’s difficult to figure out, actually. The core of the first half of the novel – A Remembrance of Her – was actually written as part of the Star Hero roleplaying supplement Posthegemony: Terra Nomenklatura several years ago. When I decided to turn it into a novel, I greatly expanded the first half and added a second. That process took about six months.

GL:  Where would you like to see BlackWyrm Publishing go in the next five years? The next 10 years?

JW:  I would like for Blackwyrm to continue on as both a place where new authors can start out – and where established authors can find a home where they are comfortable. I would also like for it to pay well enough for Dave Mattingly to quit his day job and focus entirely on the company.

GL:  You went with Kickstarter as a platform/resource to fund “Nakba,” correct? Would you recommend Kickstarter to other writers (both established and new)?

JW:  I did – and I failed to raise the $1400 I was asking for. Ironically, actually, in that a few months later I succeeded with a Kickstarter project that raised $80,000 in 30 days. So I would recommend that you give a lot of thought to who hangs out on Kickstarter, and what they want to see. That matters a great deal. Also, I recommend months of pre-planning for any Kickstarter project.

GL:  Have you used Kickstarter for any of your other works?

JW:  As an author? No. As a publisher I’ve had four successful Kickstarter projects.

GL:  Which conventions will you be attending the tail end of 2013?

JW:  None! I’m taking a break until next year post-GenCon 2013.

GL:  Where can readers go to connect with you and your work? (social networking sites, etcetera)

JW:  You can find me on Facebook, or on the following websites:

...though I only update my blogs very occasionally these days as the mood strikes me.


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