Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Nonfiction

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

For readers being introduced to Kaslo through “Phalloon the Illimitable,” could you give the readers an overview of the universe you’ve created through this serial?

It’s a universe I’ve been writing about for twenty years: a far-future, galactic civilization. The thing most of its inhabitants don’t know is that every few thousand years, the universe arbitrarily shifts its fundamental operating principle between rationalism and magic. And one of those changes is just about to happen.

With the title of “Phalloon the Illimitable” and the first line calling that into question, beyond what we get on the page, who is Phalloon to you? What kind of character?

Phalloon is one of the few who know that the change is coming. Ineffectual under the regime of science, he expects to come into his own once the rule of magic is reestablished. He has been studying old books from the last such period and acquiring ancient magical paraphernalia. He is, like most wizards, a thoroughgoing narcissist and rather emotional when his own perquisites are being trod upon.

What’s one aspect of “Phalloon the Illimitable” you would love to have explored more?

I’m not sure he has any that attract me.

Each story in Kaslo’s serial has remained strong and powerful. What, or who, draws you back to this universe?

It’s space opera combined with Dying Earth fantasy. What could be more enjoyable to write about?

Outside of Kaslo, what can we expect to see from you in the future?

There’s a historical novel I’ve wanted to write for forty years. I hope to begin, at least, this year. I’m also doing a series of fantasy stories about a thief named Raffalon that appear in F&SF. And I’ll surely write more space opera.

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Patrick J Stephens

Patrick J Stephens recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh and, after spending the entire year writing speculative fiction, came back with a Master’s in Social Science. His first collection (Aurichrome and Other Stories) can be found on Kindle and Nook.