Most cultures want to memorialize, if not actually venerate, those who have died, and we do it mostly with cemeteries. But in an agrarian society with a limited amount of arable land like the one in my story, wasting so much valuable farmland on a graveyard makes no sense. I considered all the cultures that preserve their dead in such a way as to keep them visible and, in a way, part of the living community, and combined that with a society with an almost instinctive need to make the best use of space and resources. In that context, the role of the skull-carver made perfect sense.
It’s the worms. Giant tunnelling worms are not my terror. Tiny parasitic worms are my terror. I grew up in Idaho, surrounded by sled dogs. Worms, man. Worms. Tiny worms that get bigger as they eat you from the inside? Oh, holy. There’s something about how worms are, the way they can subdivide. Chop them up, and back they come. That’s some classic nasty.
by Kevin McNeil
Q: Ultimately, Schwartz chooses to remain in his fantasy world and exits the starship. Is mortality a theme you explore often in your work? Are there certain themes you find you return to? A: There certainly are, and mortality is one of them. Didn’t someone say that love and death are the only important themes for fiction?
by Robyn Lupo
Because PTSD following combat, a violent crime, an automobile accident, or other life-shattering events can powerfully and negatively impact relationships and reactions to daily life, the ability to mitigate the intensity of certain memories will become an increasingly-used and very helpful option. I think that the key to responsible use of such medications or procedures will be individual choice.
I planned to write a creepy story about a creature that interfered with people’s dreams by sticking fingers in their ears and doing something . . . creepy. It was vague. When I sat down to write the story, my brain informed me that I was instead going to impersonate Cat Valente and prove to the world that good things come of watching too much VH1 when you’re in high school. My brain is very opinionated and very hostile, so I don’t usually argue with it.
by Kevin McNeil
It’s a common narrative assumption that humans will one day obtain alien technology, either by discovering it in space, or capturing it in a war. Then, we’ll find a way to deploy that technology to our advantage, possibly with unforeseen consequences. But such an idea seems awfully presumptuous. It assumes that aliens are so nearly like us, and so close to us in their arc of technological development, that their tools would represent only a small intuitive leap.
by Robyn Lupo
I was trying to compare [an] aspect of the city’s past with its present day position as a city that has devoted itself to education, medicine, and green industries—the exact opposite of what it used to be. I knew I wanted to write a story that explored those differences, and wanted to write a story, too, that would have a character bound up with both the wreckage of the city’s past and the more privileged life of the present day.