A question for Martin Westlake

Q: What’s an idea you’re dying to write but haven’t, and why?

A: I am fascinated by the themes Stanislav Lem explored so intriguingly in ‘contact’ works such as The Invincible and Solaris. High intelligences that (pace Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life”) are unable to communicate. Ostensibly sophisticated animal life forms that turn out to be mechanical. Phenomena that cannot be understood – at least not on human terms. I have been developing an idea for a story about a gradual parasitic invasion/colonisation of Earth that humankind cannot comprehend because it is occurring on such a lengthy time scale as to be imperceptible or unremarked. By definition, that puts the story far beyond any normal literary narrative cycle (beyond the life spans of characters, for example), which is a big challenge.

Martin Westlake’s story “Going Home
in Metaphorosis Friday, 12 March 2021.
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A question for V.G. Campen

Q: How does writing speculative fiction affect your daily life (not as a writer but as a person)?

A: Writing speculative fiction—and reading the works of others—is like calisthenics for the imagination. It opens the mind to the fantastic. What if the weather were sentient? What if whales abandoned the ocean for the skies? On a deeper level, writing speculative fiction has increased my curiosity about, and empathy for, other members of the contrary species known as Homo sapiens.

V.G. Campen’s story “Spells for Going Forth by Day
in Metaphorosis Friday, 5 March 2021.
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A question for C.M. Fields

Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

A: The hardest part of writing for me is trying to take the cold, abstract tenets of hard sci-fi and imbue them with life and vibrancy. I have always enjoyed the notions of Asimov and Bradbury, but as a queer writer, I felt alienated by their treatment of social issues. My goal is to write stories based around the old canon of science-based fiction but with lush imagery and moderns ideals and queer characters.

C.M. Fields’s story “Reach for Your Ocean Heart
in Metaphorosis Friday, 26 February 2021.
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A question for Chloe Smith

Q: What is your favorite short story?

A: This is a tough question! There is so much good short fiction out there, and I am not as well-read as I’d like to be—I feel like to select one story would be to elide many that I’ve loved and countless more that I haven’t had a chance to discover yet. If you forced me, I’d say that one story I love for its lyricism and repurposing of traditional myths is Catherynne Valente’s “Urchins, While Swimming” (Clarkesworld, 2006), and one whose emotional impact will never let me go is Margo Lanagan’s “Singing My Sister Down” (Black Juice, 2004).

Chloe Smith’s story “Rock-Adda’s World
in Metaphorosis Friday, 12 February 2021.
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A question for Aaron DaMommio

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

A: I don’t typically use music for inspiration directly. I’ve certainly tried having a playlist for a specific project, with the idea of getting back into the right frame of mine for that project, but I dropped that after I created a ton of playlists in a service that didn’t survive the first big internet company implosion, and I haven’t gone back to the practice since then.

On the other hand, I love song lyrics, especially ones that involve wordplay. In general, I usually take inspiration from wordplay and permutations. I love to see where a prompt will take me, and I enjoy it just as much when the final result is so far from the original prompt no other eyes can see the path.

Aaron DaMommio’s story “Vacation Gnomes
in Metaphorosis Friday, 5 February 2021.
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