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Interview: Eleanor Arnason on “Daisy”

Eleanor ArnasonTell us a bit about “Daisy.”

She is a Pacific Giant Octopus, the largest species of octopus currently known, who is ‘owned’ by a gangster. She vanishes from her tank and the gangster, Art Pancakes, hires the narrator to find her.


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

It started with joking around on Facebook. Someone came up with ‘Art Pancakes,’ and that sounded to me like a fine name for a gangster. I no longer remember how the idea for the octopus came up. I have liked cephalopods for decades. They are smart and interesting and strange. There is bookkeeping in the story because my day job was doing accounting. I have a lot of respect for bookkeeping.


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

I wandered around the Internet, and read 4 or 5 books about octopuses. Most of what the story says about octopuses is correct, though I stretched the information a bit.


Hwarhath Stories: Transgressive Tales by AliensWas this story personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

The bookkeeping is personal, and I really do like cephalopods. I have a plush toy version of a Pacific Giant Octopus sitting on my couch. The creature’s name is Daisy.


What are you working on now?

I just finished a story about an African Giant Pouched Rat, another interesting animal. I’m currently finishing a story based on an Icelandic folktale about a seriously misguided sorcerer.  After that, I plan to move on to a story about Yu the Great, who is credited with controlling flooding on the Yellow River and establishing the first Chinese imperial dynasty, both circa 2000 BC. Beyond that, I don’t know.


“Daisy” appears in the March/April 2017 issue of F&SF.

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If you click on Ms. Arnason’s photo you can visit her blog.

You can purchase a copy of Ms. Arnason’s Philip K. Dick Award-nominated story collection at Amazon by clicking on the book’s cover image.


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