Drinks With Characters: Lawrence M. Schoen is Drinking With Elephants

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Lawrence M. Schoen, master of the Klingon language, and author of Barsk: the Elephants' Graveyard, his latest novel from Tor Books.



In Barsk: The Elephants’s Graveyard, what is one of your character's favorite drinks - and what’s the recipe?

There’s not a lot of drinking that goes on in this book. Clearly, in hindsight, this was a tragic lapse and I promise to do better going forward. However, there was a scene in an earlier draft of the novel, that slipped away when I reworked the range from a dozen planets to just one (and a space station above it). In that scene Jorl, my protagonist, is visiting another planet far from Barsk. It’s home to several different species/races of uplifted animals but no one there has seen an elephant in a millennium. Anyway, Jorl’s doing a signing at a bookstore and a helpful clerk brings him a large, empty mug — the kind of drinking vessel you’d expect to see at a beer garden, capable of holding a liter or more. The clerk sets this on a table close at hand, along with a tureen of vanilla cocoa. Presumably this is so he can refill the mug as often as he likes and drink to his heart’s content.

Jorl’s concentration is on writing some pithy inscription in a customer’s book, even as he decides that yes, he’d like something to drink. To the horror of everyone around him, he dips his trunk directly in the tureen and empties it in one go. You know, because he can (and because he’s apparently either really thirsty or just very much enjoys vanilla cocoa).

I miss this scene and I hope to find a home for it one day. More importantly for this blog, I thought I had invented the idea of adding vanilla to hot chocolate (I’ve been doing this for years by means of a few drops of vanilla extract). I was gobsmacked when I discovered you could buy this as a pre-packaged flavor in the grocery store.



Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula awards, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of prophecy, intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog.

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