Buy F&SF • Read F&SF • Contact F&SF • Advertise In F&SF • Blog • Forum • RSS

Interview: Leo Vladimirsky on “Squidtown”

– Tell us a bit about “Squidtown.”

Squidtown takes place in the same world as Collar, which you guys so kindly published a few years ago. It’s part of the ‘Freeport’ universe, a world I’ve been slowly developing, story-by-story, that’s inspired by the Hanseatic League. I’ve been trying to build an alternate future for the world (our world) by extrapolating and exaggerating certain things.

 

– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

Originally Squidtown was a sort of cyberpunky-heist story that began with the first line (unchanged since the first draft.) But the more I worked on it, the more I became intrigued in the place itself, and the crime aspect fell away. The story is inspired by a few things: particularly the rapid gentrification happening all over the world and our corollary romanticizing of decay (of which I am guilty) and the way that we see the world as permanent even though it is the exact opposite. Everything in this story (and in the real world) is about change, and yet we refuse to accept that change is the norm.

 

– What kind of research, if any, did you do for “Squidtown?”

I did a bit of reading about how people can function without tongues (or with partial tongues) as I was curious what kinds of sounds they made, how they might eat or taste or drink. A lot of the other visual descriptions come from things lodged in my head: squidtown is a bad translate of the nickname for Hakodate, a city in Hokkaido, and the Squidtown in the story is a mishmosh of the Seaport in NYC, San Pedro in LA, and Hakodate as well.

 

– What are you working on now?

I am in the thick of writing a novel based on an unpublished short story (‘The Horrorists’) I wrote at Clarion West last year. I’d say it’s about half-way done to a first draft that I could show to another person without them laughing in my face. I’ve got a box full of stories from Clarion that need attending to, but I thought I’d try to get to a novel first. I also, slowly, am trying to sort out the Freeport universe, as that will probably be the next big project I tackle.

“Squidtown” appears in the January/February 2016 issue of F&SF.

You can buy that issue here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1601.htm

You can subscribe to F&SF here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/subscribe.htm

F&SF, February 1956

For the past six or seven months, we’ve been doing a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) feature on the F&SF Twitter account and Facebook page. For the new year, we thought it might be good to add them here where they can be easily found under the “F&SF History” tag.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Feb 1956, cover by Chesley Bonestell#TBT to the February 1956 issue of F&SF and this Chesley Bonestell illustration from The Exploration of Mars.

When F&SF first started publishing, many issues featured one or more classic reprints. The change to all (or mostly) new fiction was already well underway, but “EVERY STORY in this issue NEW” emphasized it for readers. This issue contains another change in direction. F&SF had experimented previously (and would again) with interior art. Here, on page 14, F&SF published a cartoon by Ronald Searle, the creator of St. Trinian’s School and known for his work on Molesworth. Searle’s sometimes dark humor was shaped by his time in a POW work camp during WWII and as courtroom artist during the Nuremburg trials. In lieu of a caption, the cartoon has an editor’s note about the artist and his work that functions like a story introduction. F&SF would publish several more cartoons during 1956. Eventually they became a regular feature of the magazine and continue today.

This issue contains a famous story, some big-name authors, and secret gems, covering the spectrum of the speculative genre.

The lead story is Damon Knight’s “The Country of the Kind,” one of the classic idea stories of sf, about violence and artistic expression. “A Time to Survive” is a Pantropy story by James Blish. “The Shoddy Lands” marks C.S. Lewis’s first fantasy story in any US magazine. Screenwriter Kem Bennett’s “Rufus” is about interstellar smuggling. “Martie and I” by Miriam Allen DeFord is a time-twisted kidnap story. “The Ultimate Price” by Winona McClintic explores premarital sex, jealousy, and necromancy. “I, Claude,” in the Claude Adams series, by Charles Beaumont and Chad Oliver, includes a Besterian spoof of typographic telepathy. “The Message” by Isaac Asimov is humorous flash, and “The Census Takers” by Frederick Pohl is his very first of many appearances in F&SF.

One piece of fiction and author worth special note is “Final Clearance,” a ghost story by Rachel Maddux. Maddux was a Kansas-born writer who faced numerous hardships. Lifelong health issues forced her to drop out of medical school and work a variety of odd jobs. Although she published short fiction and novels during her lifetime, and had one book optioned for film by Katherine Hepburn much of her fiction had to wait for posthumous publication, when it was put out by University of Tennessee Press. For more information on Rachel Maddux and her fiction, check out the UNC-Asheville Archives: http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/southern_appalachian_writers/maddux_rachael/maddux_rachel.htm

With great fiction, a book column, cartoon, and attractive design, this serves as a model issue of F&SF, easily recognized by readers today.

Interview: Betsy James on “Touch Me All Over”

Tell us a bit about “Touch Me All Over.”

Don’t we all, somewhere between the ages of sixteen and twenty, pick up the glass knife?

Whether we find it innocently or it’s forced on us, it severs us from the cultural certainties we grew up with. For some, like Hilil, the separation is so complete that they must live peripherally in any society, and glimpse the universe at its making and unmaking.

 

What prompted you to write it?

I grew up with the concept of geologic time, and now live and work among very old cultures. It’s been a lesson in how arbitrary the human systems are from which we troll and kill. I love the names and shine of cultural knots—maybe because they’re so ephemeral? “Touch Me All Over” offered itself from a broken obsidian blade picked up on a windy New Mexico mesa, and a bleeding thumb.

 

Is the story personal in any way?

SF has served me as a bearskin of sorts. Though have you ever tried to keep the wind out with a bearskin? And yes, I have kept my grandmother’s name.

 

What are you working on now?

Roadsouls, which may be about stumbling around in the dark banging your head on things, will be available in April from Aqueduct Press. It’s set in the same universe as “Touch Me All Over.” Elsewhere I have two contemporary teens stuck on a fairly recent—like, 3,000-year-old—lava flow, and the stars are in the wrong place. God knows what will happen now.

 

“Touch Me All Over” appears in the January/February 2016 issue of F&SF.

You can buy that issue here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1601.htm

You can subscribe to F&SF here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/subscribe.htm

Interview: Bennett North on “Smooth Stones and Empty Bones”

– Tell us a bit about “Smooth Stones and Empty Bones.”

“Smooth Stones” is the story of a teenage girl, Helena, who has fallen in love with another girl and is facing a dilemma. Her girlfriend’s younger brother has been missing in the woods for several days and it’s becoming less and less likely that he’ll be found alive. Helena’s mother is a witch and Helena knows that, should it come down to it, she can raise the little boy from the dead, but that power comes at a cost that she’s not sure she’s willing to pay.

 
– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

This was one of those stories that came to me fully formed. I actually wanted to write a horror story, although it edged more toward fantasy as I wrote it. Combining necromancy with mundane real life appealed to me. The image of the skeleton in the chicken coop came to me first, with the idea of it being something normal and a little inconvenient rather than horrifying. When you can “fix” death, how do you use that power? You can’t use it every time someone dies, so what are your personal limits? And then how do you justify those limits to yourself?

 
– This is your first published story.  How long have you been writing, and what did it take for you to get to this point?

I’ve been writing for most of my life, although only seriously in the last ten years. Honestly the hardest part of writing, for me, has been figuring out when to stop editing and just accept that the story is finished. “Smooth Stones” is one of the first stories I’ve had the courage to send out, and I’m really delighted that C.C. Finlay saw something in it.

 

“Smooth Stones and Empty Bones” appears in the January/February 2016 issue of F&SF.

You can buy that issue here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1601.htm

You can subscribe to F&SF here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/subscribe.htm

F&SF, January 1993

For the past six or seven months, we’ve been doing a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) feature on the F&SF Twitter account and Facebook page. For the new year, we thought it might be good to add them here where they can be easily found under the “F&SF History” tag.

* * *

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan 1993, cover by Kent Bash#TBT to the January 1993 issue of F&SF and this Kent Bash cover for “The Night We Buried Road Dog” by Jack Cady.

“The Night We Buried Road Dog” won the Stoker and Nebula awards, and was a finalist for the Hugo and World Fantasy Award. Former editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch, writing an intro to F&SF’s 2009 classic reprint of Cady’s novella, wrote that she didn’t ask for a single revision. She added: “I’m not even sure the manuscript received much copyediting.”

Cady’s novella filled half the issue, but still left room for stories by Esther Friesner, Ben Bova, Diane Mapes, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Marina Fitch. Rusch’s editorial marked the occasion of Algis Budrys’ last books column for F&SF, which ran from September 1975 to January 1993. The issue also offered a science column by Gregory Benford, book reviews by Orson Scott Card, an F&SF Competition, and cartoons.

Cody’s novella alone makes this one of the classic issues of F&SF. With everything else inside, it must have been a pleasure for subscribers to find this one in their mailbox.

Next Page »

Copyright © 2006–2016 The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction • All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Powered by WordPress • Theme based on Whitespace theme by Brian Gardner
If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to sitemaster@fandsf.com.

Designed by Rodger Turner and Hosted by:
SF Site spot art