A question for Yaroslav Barsukov

Q: Have you ever wondered whether ideas are thought waves directed at you by an AI supercomputer located in the distant future?

A: I have, actually. I don’t know where ideas come from or why it’s sometimes so easy to forget them; it’s as though someone would hand you a Post-it note and, in case you don’t display an immediate interest, pass it on.

Why does the supercomputer have to reside in the future though? I’m a big proponent of digital physics, Universe as an output of a computer program and all, and I strongly suspect that we and everything around us is a simulation. As soon as I say it, people immediately think Matrix; but what if there’s nothing else but the simulation? What if there’s no real us, or beings like us, outside the program’s boundaries?

The thought, to me, is too sad not to be true.


Yaroslav Barsukov’s story “Memory is a Rumor” will be
published on Friday, 26 January 2018.

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Another question for Michael Gardner

Q: Do you write things other than speculative fiction?

A: No, not really. Whenever I start developing a story thinking it might not be speculative, at some point my imagination runs away with me and the finished product ends up including something supernatural, or strange, or weird.

It’s what I enjoy reading, and it’s what I enjoy writing. I love great characters, and reading about interesting people. But I think characters react in even more fascinating ways when you throw them into a speculative world, or you have them face some fantastic or horrifying scenario.


Michael Gardner’s story “This Side of the Wall” was
published on Friday, 19 January 2018.

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A question for Talisen Fray

Q: Why fantasy?

A: Ignoring the fact that Jewel/Gem is a sci-fi story (my first, possibly my last), I choose to write fantasy not just because it’s cool—like fezzes are cool—but because life, through the lens of fantasy, is a little richer. Through fantasy I can take a stab at the ‘why’ behind the ‘how’, and often neglect the ‘how’ entirely. In fantasy we can tackle tough topics with just enough distance to stay safe until the fatal moment that truth stabs us in the heart and we find that, like all good literature, this story has changed us somehow. We’re bigger. Deeper. Angrier.

Fantasy helps us live.


Talisen Fray’s story “Jewel/Gem Offering” will be
published on Friday, 12 January 2018.

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A question for Katherine Perdue

Q: Do you use music for inspiration? If so what do you listen to?

A: Yes. Sometimes this is straightforward. If I’m trying to write something sad, I don’t choose upbeat music. If it’s difficult to write, then I avoid distractingly catchy lyrics. But I also find that if I’ve written productively while listening to something before, especially if more than once, that piece of music gets imbued with the moment, becomes a kind of talisman. So that if I want to write that way again, with that kind of focus, I have but to listen to it. As for what kind? You name it: opera, bluegrass, rock, gamelan, all kinds.


Katherine Perdue’s story “The Seer at Sunset Hills Shopping Plaza” was
published on Friday, 5 January 2018.

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A question for Alexandra Grunberg

Q: Do you generally start with mood, title, character, concept, …?

A: I start my writing process with concept; a myth that fascinates me, a song or phrase that gets stuck in my head, or the discovery of a new mythological monster. However, once I introduce the characters, they take control of the concept. Sometimes they let me write the story I set out to write, and sometimes they take the story to unexpected conclusions. I usually don’t know what lesson I’m going to learn, if the story will be funny or scary, or whether the ending will be happy or sad, until my characters make those decisions for themselves. For example, I started “Emeralds or Amethysts” sure that my princess would not open her eyes, but Lucy ended up being much braver than me.


Alexandra Grunberg’s story “Emeralds or Amethysts” was published on Friday, 29 December 2017.
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