A question for Setsu Uzumé

Q: What do you think makes for a good story?

A: Voice. Voice is like the truth, but it’s flavored by awkward, embarrassing, and messy realities — not what you think the audience wants to hear. It gives insight and context that shapes everything else. Voice is the thing that makes a story different and interesting, the same way a person stands out when they represent themselves authentically. It isn’t always easy. Part of voice is exposing our hopes and fears to the scrutiny of strangers; but to me that’s what makes a story come alive.

Setsu Uzumé’s story “Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean”
in Metaphorosis Friday, 25 January 2019.
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About Amelia Dee Mueller

Amelia Dee Mueller lives in Dallas and is constantly disappointed that the Old West isn’t as present as one would think. A communications coordinator in local government by day, she spends her nights writing, reading, fencing, and streaming superhero movies with her cat. You can follow her on Twitter @AmeliaDMueller.

Amelia Dee Mueller’s story “The Lightkeeper’s Wife
in Metaphorosis Friday, 1 February 2019.
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A question for Helen French

Q: What’s easier for you – imagining a happier world, or a darker one?

A: It’s easier for me to imagine a darker world – but I’d much rather imagine a happier one. I like my stories, whether I’m writing or reading them, to have at least a glimmer of hope within them, though that can be tough in the very shortest of shorts.

I enjoy all sorts of fiction, and I don’t shy away from exploring dark worlds. But I think that even the darkest, grimmest landscape can contain moments of joy or happiness or kindness.

Isn’t that what we see all around us? Yes, there are lots of horrible things going on in the world, and it sometimes feels like nothing but doom and gloom, but when it comes both fiction and real life I like to hope there’s a chance that tomorrow will be a better day. Or that if it isn’t, I will find joy in a small part of it.

Writing a happier world can be tough – is such a world going to be solid and believable? Not everything can be fixed. But writing happy moments is usually achievable, though they may not suit every story.

Writing darkness is usually easier, I just don’t want to linger in it for too long.

Helen French’s story “Two Villains, a Notebook, and a Lump of Coal”
in Metaphorosis Friday, 18 January 2019.
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About Setsu Uzumé

Setsu Uzume is the host and assistant editor at PodCastle, and they are a member of Codex and SFWA. Setsu writes and occasionally narrates dark fantasy. They are taking a break from sword work to study horseback archery. While they have dabbled in many arts, only writing and martial arts seem to have stuck.

katanapen.wordpress.com, @KatanaPen

Setsu Uzumé’s story “Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean”
in Metaphorosis Friday, 25 January 2019.
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A question for Alyssa N. Vaughn

Q: Duckbilled platypus – result of divine distraction, or alternate universe crossover?

A: So the platypus belongs to the mammalian subclass Prototheria, which sounds like a kingdom from World of Warcraft and most of the animals that belong to that group are extinct. It’s pretty much the platypus and the echidna, and both of them are weird as crap. Did you know that the echidna doesn’t have nipples? It has milk patches on its skin instead. So does the platypus. And the platypus is one of the only venomous mammals. It only produces its venom during the platypus mating season. What the heck.

Honestly, my favorite thing about the platypus is that it is one of several species that have hypothetically stopped evolving. They said “yup, being a venomous beaver-duck is totally working for me, y’all go on ahead” and that’s how we got platypi. They are nature’s old man, grumbling about these species today, with their placentas and their nipples and their non-beak-faces and their no-venom-producing-claws. The platypus wants you to stop trying to explain Snapchat to it and go outside once in a while, for goodness sake.

I may be a platypus.

I’m really stuck on the subclass though. “Your quest will take you to Prototheria, therein you must seek the strange creature of venomous claw and hideous beak, very nearly the last of its kind…”

Alyssa N. Vaughn’s story “Five Star Review”
in Metaphorosis Friday, 11 January 2019.
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