Science Fiction & Fantasy

Imago Mortis

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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Ken Liu

To me, steampunk is a genre that straddles the border between fantasy and science fiction, with one foot in each camp. It’s also a genre that is inextricably bound up with the history of colonialism and empire. As such, it’s particularly suitable for telling metaphorical stories about the impact of technology as one aspect of cultural invasion and the responses of the colonized peoples.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Jason Gurley

I tend to think of myself as a quiet writer, meaning that when given the opportunity to write about something big — like destructive climate change, for example — I’ll usually look inward for the emotional struts that get knocked over by such life-changing events. With so many bombastic, epic destruction stories in our lives — the “disaster porn” of modern cinema a prime example — I often find myself most moved by the portrayal of believable, honest people who are unfortunately living in the shadow of such towering events.

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Author Spotlight: Joseph Allen Hill

The original spark came when I was brainstorming an urban fantasy novel that I ended up shelving. It was meant to be about young people in the city doing magic stuff while having a lot of young people feelings. The image of people using a love potion like a recreational drug was the only bit that stuck with me.

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Author Spotlight: Carolyn Ives Gilman

This is a story about the commodification of absolutely everything. It portrays a future world where culture, religion, and people themselves are consumer goods bought and sold on the open market. No one in the story thinks they are living in a dystopia; they cheerfully collaborate and celebrate their own commodification — until they can’t any more.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sonya Taaffe

I tried to write about Váli for the first time in my junior year of college, right after my first few short stories had been published. It was not a success. I don’t know why I tried again in 2010, during a painful drought in my writing life — by the time I finished the story in December of that year, it was the first piece of fiction I had managed to complete since early 2008 — but this time it took. To date, it’s still my only successful attempt at Norse myth in fiction.

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Author Spotlight: Kat Howard

In a way, I had the inspiration for this story far before I ever thought about writing. It came from the idea of the music of the spheres — the idea that the movements of the moon and planets have their own tones or harmonies that are based on the proportions of their orbits. I first learned of the concept studying Shakespeare in high school, but it’s an idea that has fascinated me whenever I’ve come across it.

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Author Spotlight: Vajra Chandrasekera

The problem is that the dichotomy is false; “real world events” are themselves fictions. I don’t mean that in either the solipsist or conspiracy-theorist senses; I just mean that the true reality of events is always too big to be known and ends up getting folded into simplified cartoon narratives. I do think it’s good for writers to try and complicate that when they can. Writers, unlike gen pop, have the advantage of already knowing themselves to be liars.

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Author Spotlight: Ursula K. LeGuin

I don’t recall having problems with it once I realized that what I thought were two different stories was one story. The “land” story was nearly complete; the “undersea” story was unfinished. When I saw they were separate parts of the same story, all I had to do was figure out how to combine them — where and how they should interlock with each other. And doing that enabled me to see how they both should end.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Naomi Kritzer

I was in a store one day and I heard a parent paged for a lost child, which somehow got me imagining a childless person who hears herself paged, and shows up, and there’s this kid there, insisting that he’s hers. What if, instead of swapping a fairy changeling for a human child, the fairy child just showed up and insisted that he’d been your child all along? I poked at that a little but I couldn’t quite get it to work as the light, humorous story I’d initially imagined.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Cat Sparks

Nearly half the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day. That’s three billion people locked out of a better life, for starters. I’m not one of them — I grew up lower middle class and am a big fan of that particular strata of society. Middle class is all about having enough (whether we recognize such privilege and advantage for what it is or not), but “having enough” does not fit the capitalist ideology of limitless, relentless expansion. I believe Western middle class society is currently being eroded.