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

Interview: Michael Swanwick on “Starlight Express”

Michael SwanwickTell us a bit about “Starlight Express.”

There’s not much I can say that’s not explicit in the story itself. I finished the story shortly after going to Roscon in Moscow to receive the Grand Roscon Award. The Russian magazine Esli had always been very supportive of me, so I promised they could have first crack at it. Then Science Fiction World in Chengdu asked me for an original story. I’ve had a close relationship with SFW for some years now – for a time, I wrote a column for them – and felt an obligation to oblige. So the sale to F&SF was the story’s third. I didn’t think anybody here would mind, and I mentioned the Russian and Chinese sales in the cover letter when I submitted the story, so that was all up-front.

 

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

It began small. An article about current-day Rome dropped the term popolo minuto in my lap. I thought about what a jumble of the ancient and the modern that city is, and then imagined this extended far into the future. It seemed an attractive setting so I started to write.

 

Can you tell us about any of the research you may have done for this story?

There was very little research involved, but a great deal of invention. I all-but-finished the story quickly (for me) and then put it on the back burner for two years while I looked for a satisfying ending. Once written, it seems obvious. But it sure didn’t seem that way at the time.

 

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished The Iron Dragon’s Mother, completing a fantasy trilogy begun almost a quarter-century ago with The Iron Dragon’s Daughter. Currently, I’m working on ten short stories at the same time. This is the way I relax between novels.

 

“Starlight Express” appears in the September/October 2017 issue of F&SF.

You can buy a copy of the issue here: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc1709.htm

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

You can subscribe to the electronic edition of F&SF at the following links:

Weightless Books (non-Kindle): https://weightlessbooks.com/category/publisher/spilogale-inc/

Amazon US (Kindle edition): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZFZ4O8/

Amazon UK (Kindle edition): http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004ZFZ4O8/

comments

Leave a Reply

If this is your first time leaving a comment, your comment may enter the moderation queue. If it doesn't appear right away, don't panic; it should show up once site administrators verify you're not a spambot. After you successfully post a comment, future comments will no longer be moderated.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2006–2018 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