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Fanbase Press Interviews John E. Stith on the Recent Launch of a Backerkit Crowdfunding Campaign for the Streaming Series, ‘Manhattan Transfer’

The following is an interview with author John E. Stith regarding the recent launch of a Backerkit crowdfunding campaign for the streaming series adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel, Manhattan Transfer. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Stith about the creative process of adapting his novel to the small screen, what he hopes that viewers may take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of your BackerKit crowdfunding campaign! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you share with us about the premise of the series?

John E. Stith: Manhattan Transfer begins with the island of Manhattan being kidnapped by aliens. It’s cut loose from the surface of the Earth and placed under a clear dome. The city is brought aboard an enormous starship and set down among a collection of hundreds of alien cities, each under its own dome. The residents’ priority is to find out why they are there. And escape.

BD: The streaming series is an adaptation of your novel of the same name which previously received a Hugo Award Honorable Mention. What can you share with us about your creative process in adapting this project to the television medium?

JES: First of all, let me address the honorable mention. Many people know that generally there are no Hugo Award Honorable Mentions. That year, however, MT and another novel missed the final ballot by such a narrow margin that the con committee decided to identify honorable mentions that year and MT was one.

The biggest change in moving from novel to television is that the canvas is wider. There will be more time to tell individual stories of the captives. In addition, the series will tell a longer story, taking events well past the timeline in the novel.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Manhattan Transfer’s story will connect with and impact viewers?

JES: Manhattan Transfer is a story that places a lot of “ordinary” people in extraordinary situations, giving the opportunity to see how a wide range of people rise to the occasion. Or fail to do so. One of the reviews of the novel, published by Tor Books in 1993, was that the reader felt the New Yorkers took things too much in stride, that there would be far more mass panic, that people would just fall apart. And then on 9-11 we saw the strength, bravery, and resourcefulness of human beings. In MT we will ratchet up the pressure even more.

BD: In light of the crowdfunding campaign, are there any backer rewards that you would like to highlight for readers?

JES: The funding campaign has a wide range of rewards to fit most any budget. It starts with an inside look (streaming) during the shoot and a Blu-Ray of the pilot. It goes up through autographed photos of cast members like Casper Van Dien, Walter Koenig, John Billingsly, Tim Russ, Bonnie Gordon, and others. And it goes even higher with a day on set, or a walk-on part, or co-producer credit.

BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you would like to share with readers?

JES: Jeffrey Berman and I have a pilot script and series bible ready for a TV series called Naught for Hire, based on an Analog story of mine. It features a private detective in a not-too-distant future filled with AIs built by the lowest bidder and with human-like personality disorders. Amazing Stories publications scheduled for this year are Tiny Time Machine: The Complete Trilogy (October, a YA time travel tale about two loners who come into possession of a time machine built into a cell phone) and Disavowed (December, a brand new science fiction novel about the sole survivor of a botched space mission).

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Manhattan Transfer and your other work?

JES: My website is and I put updates on my Facebook page. For readers interested in direct updates and occasional freebies, I have an occasional email newsletter.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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