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Interview: James L. Cambias on “Golden Gate Blues”

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

“Blues” came out of a conversation I had with my daughter as we were driving home one night from someplace about a year ago. She was mentioning how the Golden Gate Bridge gets clobbered in practically every monster movie. One of us, and I don’t remember if it was me or my daughter, said in a fake Don LaFontaine voice, “The Bridge is back, and this time it’s personal.” And then I realized that was a great story idea. Since the Golden Gate Bridge is in San Francisco, I naturally had to include a private detective, and the elements sort of fell into place after that.


– Was “Golden Gate Blues” personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

Because of its genesis, it’s kind of an uncredited collaboration with my daughter, so I deliberately gave the protagonist a daughter of his own (slightly younger than mine was at the time we came up with “Blues”) and made their relationship one strand of the story. I did something similar several years ago with my story “The Dinosaur Train” which was inspired by my son (who at that point was a preschooler) playing with his toy train loaded with plastic dinosaurs. So that one focuses on relationships between fathers and sons.


– Tell us a bit about “Golden Gate Blues.”

It’s a modern-day San Francisco film noir story set in a world where action thrillers, monster movies, and superhero comics are true. My main character is Anthony Mace, a small-time private eye (who can’t actually afford San Francisco office rent, so he works out of San Bruno instead). He’s hired by a retired supervillain to investigate the suspicious death of a giant octopus, and it just gets crazier from there.


– What are you working on now?

I am just this week finishing the first draft of my next novel, which has the working title _Arkad’s World_. It’s a science fiction novel about a boy growing up as the only human on a world inhabited by multiple alien species. Once that’s out the door I will probably write a few short stories, but I haven’t decided which ideas to work on yet.

You can read my random thoughts on a variety of topics at my blog:


“Golden Gate Blues” appears in the March/April 2016 issue of F&SF.  You can buy that issue here:

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