My Favorite Bit: Mia V. Moss Talks About MAI TAIS FOR THE LOST

Mia V. Moss is joining us today to talk about her novella, Mai Tais for the Lost. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Marrow Nightingale is a professional pain in the ass. As Electric Blue Moon’s only licensed private investigator, she’s the one who snoops the closets of the elite who think the laws don’t apply to them. But when the son of a wealthy family turns up dead, it’s Marrow’s closet that everyone is suddenly interested in. That dead playboy in the foyer? It’s her adoptive sibling, Rocket Nightingale.

Now, Marrow’s dodging gossip columnists who smell blood in the water, renegade corporate IP with minds of their own, and badge-wearing bone-breakers who would love nothing more than to ship her back to the surface.

Which is still on fire, thank you very much.

If Marrow can’t catch the killer, this case is going to sink the Nightingale Electric Detective Agency.

Welcome to the city under the sea, an old-money refuge for the environmentally ravaged. Where humanity is trying to forget its past with ink-stained cocktails, designer drugs, and genetic modifications. Where Marrow Nightingale may be the last honest scoundrel.

What’s Mia’s favorite bit?

MIA V. MOSS

I love stories about non-human sentient beings in sci-fi and fantasy. Orcs, goblins, androids, self-aware holograms—download them all directly into my brain. I want to know all of their stories. More particularly, I love the little details about what they get up to in their lives when they aren’t dealing with humans. What do they dream of? What do they do in their downtime? Who do they care about?

It got me thinking about who else (besides robot mermaids and an expansive human servant class) was being exploited under the sea. So when I created Lexi Lagoon, a marine biologist AI in a robotic mermaid body who runs away from their corporate overlords to set up a burlesque joint called the Kraken Club, I felt drawn to giving them a non-human companion.

The answer came to me in the form of a cephalopod. Lexi’s girlfriend and business partner is Charisma, a lascivious-minded octopus who has been mentally augmented to work as a surgeon. Lexi and Charisma are a ride-or-die kind of couple and they are one of my favorite bits about MAI TAIS FOR THE LOST.

Most octopuses only live for a couple of years, though it is speculated that some deep-sea species of octopus can live longer. In 2007, a team of researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute piloted a remote vehicle about 4600 feet down into the Monterey Submarine Canyon and discovered an octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) tending to a clutch of 150 freshly laid eggs. The researchers returned to the spot again and again over a span of nearly four and a half years, during which time they never witnessed the mother octopus eat or move from her brood of eggs. They even tried feeding her, but she would not be distracted from her task.

I kept this remarkable incident in my mind when developing Charisma as a character. Octopus minds are so alien to humans, but would they be as alien to an artificial intelligence designed to be an expert on deep sea marine life, even one that had been created by humans? And how would neuro-surgical knowledge imprint onto an octopus’ mind? What sort of personality would an octopus develop, given the circumstances?

In the end, (and not to give away too much of the plot) though it was human intervention and cold exploitation of Lexi and Charisma that brought the two together, what they found in each other is a unique partnership built on the capacity for love that transcends all else. There are many world-building aspects of MAI TAIS FOR THE LOST that I enjoyed creating, but the unstoppable, glamorous, enigmatic, dynamic merminx-octopus duo may just be my most favorite bit.

LINKS:

Mai Tais for the Lost Universal Book Link

Website

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BIO:

Mia V. Moss is a speculative fiction author from the Pacific Northwest, now living in the SF Bay area. Her short stories have been published in Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse, StarShipSofa, Galactic Stew, and elsewhere. When she’s not writing, she enjoys running around feral outdoors, DMing tabletop campaigns, mixing cocktails for friends, and admiring her enormous TBR pile. Mai Tais For the Lost is her debut novella.

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