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Interview: “Anything for You” by Lisa Mason

Tell us a bit about “Anything for You.”

Sometimes writers find their characters taking on a life of their own. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously became jealous of his character, Sherlock Holmes, who was more famous than the author himself. Conan Doyle tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes, but Holmes refused to die. Perhaps, too, the fans refused to let Holmes die.

Readers, especially fans, also experience the phenomenon of fiction becoming more real in their imaginations than reality. When a character whom fans love does something fictitiously they don’t approve of, fans get angry.

What if fans could interactively participate in the creative process? The emotional stakes would be high.

 

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

My longtime friend and colleague, the German writer and editor Myra Çakan, asked me to contribute a story to an anthology which she’d titled Interactive. She envisioned all sorts of scenarios of modern life that could be interactive in a slightly futuristic way. That got my creative wheels turning.

That’s what I love about being invited to contribute to themed anthologies. The editor’s vision inspires me to explore directions I might not otherwise go. I wrote an 1890s stage magic story, Every Mystery Unexplained, for David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible and a Chinese unicorn story, Daughter of the Tao, for Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, among many other stories and anthologies. If those editors hadn’t proposed a theme, I would never have researched and written those stories.

Myra had a German publisher lined up and maybe a dozen writers, including me and, I believe, William Gibson.

Then the German publisher, as apparently German publishers are wont to do, folded before the project could get up and running.

So there I was with a story without a home. Since F&SF is The New Yorker of genre magazines, that seemed like a great place to submit the story. And it was!

 

Was “Anything for You” personal to you in any way? If so, how?

I don’t understand fandom. I appreciate certain writers, singers, artists, and actors, of course, but I don’t obsess over their output or them, personally.

Some years ago, I attended a science fiction discussion group held at a member’s home. I excused myself to use the bathroom and was shocked to see that she had a lovingly framed picture of Mr. Spock on her bathroom wall! What was that about?

So I wanted to explore a fan’s obsession from the inside out.

 

What would you want a reader to take away from this story?

That no matter how hard anyone tries—family members, spouse, or the government—they ultimately can’t control you. Especially your thoughts and emotions and who you choose to love.

One of our unique human gifts is that we can always choose how to react to life. No one can ever take our inner choices away from us.

 

What are you working on now?

New stories and novellas, of course!

I’m working on uploading the rest of my backlist as ebooks. My ebook publisher, Bast Books, just published Arachne on all major retailers worldwide. Arachne, a “cyberpunk,” is my first novel, which was published in hardcover by William Morrow, trade paper by Eos Books, and mass market paperback by AvoNova books. Arachne debuted in the top ten on the Locus Magazine Hardcover List. I’m delighted to send the book, newly re-edited, back out into the reading world.

I’ve only got three more backlist books to go, Cyberweb, the sequel to Arachne, and my two Pangaea books. Then I’m all caught up.

Going forward, I’m excited to announce that I have signed with a major New York literary agency and am working on a new high-concept SF novel.

 

“Anything for You” appears in the September/October 2016 Special David Gerrold issue of F&SF.

You can buy a copy of the issue here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1609.htm

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

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