Another set of 5, this time from Jonathan Strahan
1. A blank page and endless time stretch out before you, a limitless supply of caffeine is on hand. What story do you tell?
Oh God, where do I start? Firstly, the hundred or so short story ideas I have lined up waiting to be worked upon, the novel I’m currently working on, the other 7 novels waiting to be worked upon, the TV series, the 2 film ideas, the blackmail letters….
The story that most excites me at the moment is an alternative history SF tale about a kamikaze pilot that I’m planning to write in letter form. It’s going to necessitate some heavy research into Japanese culture of the time, and I’m turning into a ‘weird research’ junkie 🙂 It’s still a toss-up whether it’ll be a short story or whether I can give it enough legs to make it into a novel. I’m really enamoured of the framing tools Mary Shelley used for Frankenstein, where letters form part of the narrative, and the POVs change for each section, so who knows?
2. Given any choice, where does it appear?
On every bookshelf in ze vuuurrrrrllllddd!! Or more realistically, someone at a good US agency picks it up and runs with it. Obviously, as someone who wants to make a living from writing, the bigger the publisher the better, but I’m more interested in finding an agent and publisher with whom I can have a long-term ‘marriage’. The career is all.
3. Kafka, Todorevski, Tolkien or Waldrop. Who’s the best short story writer in the business, and why?
Ah, trick question. Waldrop is the best, because he’s the one closest to the current zeitgeist, the one best placed to assimilate the foci and adaptations of style and content that the short story form has undergone. But for me, of the four, Kafka is perhaps the greatest, because he has the greater ability to reach inside the corners of the human psyche and squeeze, giving his works a profundity that the others don’t reach.
4. Best opening line?
Call me Ishmael. (Moby Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville)
Of my own work, perhaps “I saw three of me standing at a bus stop today” (The Divergence Tree)
5. Which starsign are you?
I have the very rare privilege of being the only person in history, apart from Napoleone Buonaparte, of being born under the sign of Binky The Space Squirrel.