Q: How does writing speculative fiction affect your daily life (not as a writer, but as a person)?
A: For me, speculative fiction is a way of engaging with metaphor. Often that involves different ways of writing and thinking about science. I think if you want to attract more people to science – more than just the logically-minded, for instance – you’ve got to provide a different sort of pathway, a different means of engaging. I find science fiction in particular helps me to perceive science more broadly, from a place of imagination as well as method.
Octavia Cade’s story “The Sea Bank of Svalbard South” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 11 March 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: Tintinnabulation is my favorite word. How musical it sounds. How magical. For me, this word always evokes a picture of fairy bells ringing in the breeze.
Sabrina N. Balmick’s story “La Belle Dame” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 4 March 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?
A: The only place I can get any writing done is in my home office. I’ve never been able to write in public places like coffee shops, and I can’t get any writing done if there is any kind of distraction (including music). In order to write I need quiet, stillness, and the comforting/sinister presence of the Dalek sculpture I keep on my desk.
Jamie Killen’s story “Seeders” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 26 February 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: What tools do you write with?
A: My favorite tools are questions. What if? How might that happen? What could possibly go wrong? I usually answer these questions while drinking a good cup of coffee and scratching on a piece of paper with a pencil. Sometimes this produces elaborate doodles instead of writing, but it’s a fun way to start.
Once I have an outline or at least a sketch of what I want to write about, I move on to a keyboard. The keyboard is a very important tool for me because a) I can type faster than I can write, and b) my pencil doesn’t have spellcheck. But the most important tool I have in my writer’s arsenal is a long walk. When my plot is twisting in the wrong way and my dialogue is growing sleepy, there is nothing like a long walk to give me perspective and wake up those inner voices. Plus, the dog loves it. Like Douglas Adams’ character, Dirk Gently, who claims he rarely ends up where he was intending to go, but often ends up somewhere that he needed to be, I think sometimes you can set out intending to write the next best thing in short fiction but end up making the dog happy and that is okay.
Kato Thompson’s story “How to Survive a Fish Attack” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 19 February 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: What kind of non-fiction do you like to read and how does it affect the fiction you write?
A: My nonfiction reading is mostly autobiography and biography. I’m interested in the ways that people shape their life stories, and how and why they tell them — to themselves and to others. In my fiction, I like to explore trickster characters for whom lying is an art form; characters who delude themselves (often for self-preservation); and people who create stories of the future that serve as roadmaps, often for the organizations they lead. Many of my stories, including “Rowboat”, involve family secrets. I was deeply influenced by Russell Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography Growing Up. Baker’s stories about the Depression era helped me understand my parents and grandparents, who didn’t want to talk about those hard times. As the child of a Jewish parent, I was fascinated by Art Spiegelman’s ground-breaking graphic novel Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.
K. G. Anderson’s story “Rowboat” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 12 February 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?
A: I have two dogs, Krypto and Jubilee. They are named after super heroes. They absolutely influence my writing. For one thing, they don’t give two shits about it, and this helps enormously, especially on bad days, when I think my work sucks beyond belief. My dogs always remind me that life is not about achievement, and that beauty and love can be found everywhere, even in old tennis balls and saggy bags of dog food. I like making their tails thump on the floor after I’ve been wrestling with metaphors. I substitute their names and the word “puppy” in poems and song lyrics. It always makes me feel better. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s puppy? Thou art my Krypto and my Jubilee.” They wag their tails and I feel like a genius.
Elise Forier Edie’s story “Heard” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 5 February 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.