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Interview: Matthew Hughes on “The Prevaricator”

Tell us a bit about “The Prevaricator.”

I have long had an interest in, perhaps even a fascination with, the psychopath — particularly the con man subspecies.  So “The Prevaricator” is an extension of that interest combined with my predilection for writing fantasy stories set in my continuation of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth setting.


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

The prompt was unusual:  a fan of mine in Europe wrote me and asked if I would write him a 6,000-word Dying Earth fantasy that he could have illustrated and bound into a single, unique volume for his private collection.  All other rights would be mine.  I took the deal and wrote “The Prevaricator,” and it’s now in the process of being turned into that unique work.  I’ve seen some of the sketches the artist (the renowned Peter Andrew Jones)  is doing, and they’re pretty cool.

I thought the story was pretty cool, too, and that readers of F&SF would like it.  So I offered it to Charlie Finlay and he bought it.


Why do you write?

It’s the only thing I know how to do really well.  And people seem to like it.


Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes.  Last year, when I put together a collection of stories about Raffalon, a thief of the Dying Earth, I wrote a new story to be exclusive to the collection — a sweetener to encourage Raffalon-likers to buy the book.  Now that it’s been a year since I self-published 9 Tales of Raffalon, I decided it was time to offer the new story, “Sternutative Sortilege,” to F&SF.  A little while ago, Charlie bought it.  So Raffalon will come back to the magazine.

Still on Raffalon, I’ve pitched a UK publisher on the idea of a novel, or even a series of novels, touching off from where I left him at the end of “The Inn of the Seven Blessings,” in the anthology, Rogues.  If that deal comes through, I’ll get started.  If it doesn’t, my Plan B is to get enough patrons sending me their pledges on Patreon that I can afford to write novels with the aim of self-publishing them as ebooks and POD paperbacks.  Here’s a link to me Patreon page:

Also, I’ve decided to go to WorldCon after all.  Like many patriotic Canadians, I considered not crossing the border during this time of your president’s unjustified attack on our economy, but I heard from enough Californian fans to make me reconsider.  So I’ll be in San Jose in August, unless the border’s closed by then.

Finally, Geoff Hart suggested that I really ought to make it better known that I am a book doctor;  i.e., I “fix” fiction manuscripts that aren’t getting published because some part of them doesn’t work.  I’ve done a few when asked — one of them even won a national best novel of the year award — but I haven’t really marketed myself.  So I’m starting to do that now.  Inquiries are welcome, though I should point out that I don’t work cheap.


“The Prevaricator” appears in the July/August 2018 issue of F&SF.

You can buy a copy of the issue here:

You can subscribe to the print edition of F&SF here:

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

Weightless Books (non-Kindle):

Amazon US (Kindle edition):

Amazon UK (Kindle edition):

In addition to Mr. Hughes’s Patreon account noted near the end of the interview, if you click on his photo, you’ll be taken to his website.


One Response to “Interview: Matthew Hughes on “The Prevaricator””

  1. Archonate | Interview in F&SF on July 2nd, 2018

    […] story in the July/August issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  I’ve done an interview with Stephen Mazur about the story’s unusual […]

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