Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Escapist Book Co. virtual book tour for Darby Harn’s Space Opera novel Stargun Messenger! Today, I am excited to help kickoff the tour by sharing an interview with the main character from the book, the Stargun Messenger herself, Astra Idari!
You can find our Q&A below, along with all of the info about the book, the author, and links to purchase a copy of Stargun Messenger for yourself! Also, be sure to take a look at the schedule here or at the top of the post and follow along to see the stops from our other awesome hosts!
Stargun Messenger by Darby Harn
Series: Stargun Messenger
Genre: Space Opera
Intended Age Group: Adult
Published: December 6, 2022
Publisher: Fair Play Books (Self Published)
To save the stars, Astra Idari must outrun her own shadow.
Astra Idari is a mess.
She drinks too much, remembers too little, and barely pays for it all as a Stargun Messenger. She hunts down thieves who steal filamentium, the fuel that allows for faster-than-light travel. When Idari meets Gen Emera, she meets the girl of her dreams and the last living star. There’s just one problem.
Filamentium is only found in the blood of living stars.
Everyone wields knives and justifications for butchering the living stars to get around, but once Idari knows the truth, she faces a stark choice. Either she turns Emera over to her employers who control the filamentium monopoly, or risks everything to help Emera fulfill her quest to save her people.
The choice should be simple, but it’s not losing her life that terrifies Idari. It’s finally living. Idari knows she’s human despite outwardly appearing to be an android with a failing memory stitched together by her ship’s irascible AI, CR-UX. She’s been just getting by for longer than she remembers, assured in her humanity, but not enough to risk it.
Idari has lived her entire life in darkness. The dark comforts and shields. The dark preserves in its cold, and Idari may not be able to keep her star out of her shadow.
“If James Joyce had grown up reading X-Men comics and obsessively playing Destiny, he would have written this. A breathtakingly imaginative, star-spanning romp that is equal parts swashbuckling galactic adventure and lyrical introspection about love and identity.”
– Wayne Santos, author of The Chimera Code
I Forgor • I Want to Break Free • Rebel Rebel
Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Who am I? It’s on the tip of my tongue. Wait, I have this little note here. I’m Astra Idari. I’m a IA-XR Model 4 proxy-netic. I have limited onboard memory that purges data routinely. Oh, dear. And I’m a Stargun Messenger, which means if you’ve got money and a problem, I’m your girl.
What music do you listen to?
Delicia Faero, of course! I have all her vircords. They’re the only thing I remember. Well. Mostly. I enjoy the startronic phase the best, but actually, I love most that she always changed. He did. They did.
What are 3 items you can’t live without?
Babyl, my blaster, and CR-UX.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you?
The babyl, no question. Preferably a large jar. A barrel. What’s larger than a barrel?
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Everyone is always shooting at me. It’s exhausting, really.
What do you do in your free time?
Sorry, what’s this ‘free time?’
What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
Being a Stargun is a very expensive life. You’ve got to buy fuel, which isn’t cheap. Being a proxy-netic who looks and sounds human is expensive to maintain. This job comes with a lot of wear and tear. I try to get ahead of my troubles. I try to find some daylight in all the dark.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
What do you carry in your bag?
Bags are a liability for Starguns. If you’re digging into anything, it’s your own grave. I prefer what I carry to be in full view so people know who they’re dealing with. Also, it helps me remember.
What’s your favorite animal?
I’m dreadful with pets (these memories are mostly redacted) but I love attal pups.
What do you think about CR-UX?
Well, he’s fussy. And he’s always sighing in my ear. For a navigational AI tasked with getting my starplane from one planet to another, you’d think he wouldn’t have a lot to say. But we only talk. Honestly, he keeps me on course. Without him, I’d vanish into myself.
Do you have favorite saying?
Ban Minda. Though a person shouldn’t swear. I forget why, though.
What is your favorite holiday?
The Pujar Name Day on Sarset is lovely. It’s the only time of year when pirates are given names and don’t take them (along with everything else one may own). I haven’t been back in years, though. There must be a reason. I’m sure it’s nothing I did or said. Or took.
If you could go anywhere in the galaxy, where would you go and why?
I’d go back to the moment I met Gen Emera. I saw a living star’s light for the first time. Before then, I don’t think I believed in hope or possibility. I don’t think I allowed myself to be loved.
What do you do to relax?
I sun with my star.
What is your favorite food?
Babyl is technically a food, isn’t it?
What is your favorite season?
There is only one season aboard a starplane. I do like summers on Bulsar. Everything is a little muggy and sticky and slippery, and I feel a little bit even with everyone else.
How would you define happiness?
Content and safe inside my body.
What are you passionate about?
Right now it’s these questions. I’m learning I don’t really eat or sleep.
How do you feel about your government?
I’m going to log this one with ‘free time.’
If you could change one thing about the galaxy, what would it be?
I wish there was more appreciation for light and life and less romance of darkness.
What’s your biggest secret?
We’ve just met. Have we met before? You seem familiar.
What do you hate?
What’s your biggest fear?
My shadow seems more human than I do.
What do you think your best quality is?
I simply won’t quit, darling.
How would you describe the world you live in?
That hour before dawn. Dark. Cold. But peeling with promise.
About the Author
Darby Harn is the author of the SPSFC quarterfinalist Ever The Hero, which Publisher’s Weekly called “an entertaining debut that uses superpowers as a metaphor to delve into class politics in an alternate America.” His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, and other venues. Visit www.darbyharn.com for more.
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