My Favorite Bit: Jim C. Hines Talks About TERMINAL PEACE

Jim C. Hines is joining us today to talk about his novel, Terminal Peace. Here’s the publisher’s description:

The third and final book of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse follows a group of unlikely heroes trying to save the galaxy from a zombie plague.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos and her team were trained to clean spaceships. They were absolutely not trained to fight an interplanetary war with the xenocidal Prodryans or to make first contact with the Jynx, a race who might not be as primitive as they seem. But if there’s one lesson Mops and her crew have learned, it’s that things like “training” and “being remotely qualified” are overrated.
 
The war is escalating. (This might be Mops’ fault.) The survival of humanity—those few who weren’t turned to feral, shambling monsters by an alien plague—as well as the fate of all other non-Prodryans, will depend on what Captain Mops and the crew of the EDFS Pufferfish discover on the ringed planet of Tuxatl.
 
But the Jynx on Tuxatl are fighting a war of their own, and their world’s long-buried secrets could be more dangerous than the Prodryans.
 
To make matters worse, Mops is starting to feel a little feral herself…

What’s Jim’s favorite bit?

JIM C. HINES

One of the things I’ve loved about writing the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy was finding fun ways for my protagonists to use their janitorial know-how and equipment to fight back against enemies who are usually better armed and better trained. As I started working on book three, I worried that particular well might have gone dry. I mean, how many times can you pressure-wash a bad guy in the face before it gets old?

Happily, this didn’t turn out to be a problem. Sure, after two books, my characters probably wanted better weapons. Some of them have would have even done a bit of training to improve their soldiering skills. But the true strength of this team is and always will be its mastery of the custodial arts. (Also love and loyalty and stubbornness and the Power of Friendship and all that good stuff. But mostly it’s all about the elite cleaning skills.)

With this being the conclusion of the trilogy, it was time to turn things up to eleven—best of all, I got to play with another military SF trope in the process. Because what space marine saga is complete without badass, lovingly described power armor?

Of course, this crew has zero training or experience with such things. They were Shipboard Hygiene and Sanitation. SHS doesn’t spend a lot of time with cutting-edge military tech. And as Commander Monroe points out, power armor boosts your every movement. If you don’t know what you’re doing, or if your suit isn’t properly calibrated and fitted, you’ll snap your own neck the first time you try to turn your head.

Instead of turning the crew loose with power armor, allow me to present the Alliance External Maintenance and Biohazard suit, used by SHS teams throughout the fleet. After the events of the prior books, Mops (the protagonist) has been modifying an EMB suit for just the kind of mess they get into during Terminal Peace.

EMB suits were meant for cleaning and repairing the most extreme messes on a ship: both internal and external. They had reinforced helmets, enhanced strength, built-in atmospheric processors, and an array of tubes, hoses, and other cleaning supplies. They could resist the sharp, jagged edges of damaged hull plates and broken pipes. Not to mention the explosive release of the contents of said pipes.

As one character puts it, Mops is “essentially piloting a small janitorial mecha.”

As an added bonus, the EMB suit has radiators on the shoulders to shed excess heat. For the Jynx, the catlike aliens Mops and crew have been working with, that makes the suit perfect for a quick nap:

Argarrar had jumped onto Mops’ shoulders. The Jynx balanced on all fours, then carefully settled herself around Mops’ neck like an old-fashioned scarf.

“What exactly are you doing?” asked Mops.

“Coming with you.” Argarrar sniffed. “And at my age, you take warmth where you can find it.”

I love everything about these scenes. With built-in compressors and nozzles that shoot everything from soap to lubricant to hull paint, not only does the EMB create a wonderful Moment of Badass™ for Mops, it encapsulates everything that makes these characters work. They don’t try to be anything they’re not. But they’re damned good at being exactly who and what they are.

LINKS:

Terminal Peace Universal Book Link

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BIO:

Jim C. Hines’ first novel was Goblin Quest, the humorous tale of a nearsighted goblin runt and his pet fire-spider. Actor and author Wil Wheaton described the book as “too f***ing cool for words,” which is pretty much the Best Blurb Ever. After finishing the goblin trilogy, he went on to write the Princess series of fairy tale retellings and the Magic ex Libris books, a modern-day fantasy series about a magic-wielding librarian, a dryad, a secret society founded by Johannes Gutenberg, a flaming spider, and an enchanted convertible. He’s also the author of the Fable Legends tie-in Blood of Heroes. Terminal Peace is the final book of his Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse trilogy. His short fiction has appeared in more than 50 magazines and anthologies.

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