SFA Interview: Author Victor Robert Lee

Image for post
Image for post
Stories From Asia presents fiction and non-fiction literature with an Asia focus.

I was flying a hang-glider and I crashed. As the ground rushed up at me, time slowed down.

SFA: Apparently you survived the crash. Were you badly injured?

Performance anomalies are highly unusual abilities that arise in a tiny number of individuals, due to rare genetic mutations.

SFA: What about the accelerated nervous system that sets Cono apart? Is this science fact or science fiction?

Maybe we’re all as fast as Cono—when we are sleeping.

SFA: The plot of the book includes an attempt by the government of China, through people like its fictional agent, Mr. Zheng, to take over the huge country of Kazakhstan. Is that realistic, or does it go too far beyond plausibility?

Agent Zheng in Performance Anomalies embodies the wound of the Cultural Revolution that festers to this day in China.

SFA: Your novel is not very complementary about the government in Beijing, at least the fictional version. Where do you think China is headed?

Imagine a Mao-type dictator with the massive and high-tech military of New China rather than the crude forces the country had decades ago.

Another signal regarding China today is that thousands of Chinese citizens who have enough money to travel are voting with their feet, trying to leave the country and taking their capital with them.

One old lady I met there told me: “In my country, when we think about the future, we shake.” Kazakhstan—I am still bewildered by it.

SFA: Getting back to the novel, there are several female characters who are integral to the story, more than in most spy novels. How did that come about?

I hope that through Cono’s eyes, the reader can see the world with an exuberance and an innocence and a clarity.

SFA: Cono is an unusual protagonist, to say the least. He’s a good guy, the guy we’re supposed to root for, but his morals and allegiances are not always —well, sometimes they seem questionable or extreme. In one scene he deals with a man in a way some readers might find overly punitive. What can you say about Cono’s morals? Is he a moral man, even though he lies, steals, and kills for his missions? Is there some question or boundary you’re trying to explore here?

Written by

Stories From Asia presents fiction and non-fiction literature with an Asia focus.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store