Ellis’s former relationships, Myrna’s gender: all so elegantly included without hijacking the story. Can you teach more writers to do this?
Even though two of my three series characters, Andrea Cort and John Draiken, have been established as bisexual, I most certainly do not, repeat repeat repeat repeat do not, represent myself as a paragon in this area, let alone one who could function as teacher. It happened to be something I realized while writing this: that if I was going to make this a story about the conflict between Ellis’s yearning for a soulmate, and the more practical and sensible life he could have known with a human romantic partner, I could not represent a woman as his sole backup option. The implication would have been that this was the only available normalcy, and that was a false and frankly antiquated default. To remove that as a story element, I complicated his romantic past a mite. It had the incidental and beneficial result of establishing that what looking the guy did on Earth was indeed broad, just not deep.
What a twist ending: I really, really didn’t see that coming, but it was perfect. Does it rank high among your best endings/closing lines? If not, which stories rank higher?
Oh, there are so many, honestly. A few of them are on Lightspeed: “Her Husband’s Hands,” “Of A Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs,” and “The Thing About Shapes to Come.”
You write so widely across genres: Your Patreon (patreon.com/AdamTroyCastro) mentions “extreme horror, science fiction of both the Asimovian and Ellisonian varieties, superhero potboilers, illustrated alphabet books, middle-grade novels, and—currently making the rounds—a mainstream thriller.” What’s the thriller about? Does it have any supernatural elements?
None whatsoever. It’s the tale of a professional goon, a huge hulking monster who gets brought in whenever the mob has somebody tied to a chair, so that he can terrify the living hell out of them just by entering the room, before he does what he’s good at and breaks their thumbs. That’s his job. And aside from that, he ain’t a bad guy, which causes complications when somebody starts hiring for a job even he finds too objectionable to do.
You’re on Patreon: Can you tell us more about that?
It is simple. Folks, the pay rate for fiction writers has not improved all that much, in constant funds not adjusted for inflation, since my birth, and I am a coot. My Patreon page offers various rewards to folks who kick in a few bucks a month, to help me continue to produce fiction at my current rate. Various levels include essays, cat pictures, fiction excerpts, and entirely new stories, including one guaranteed new adventure of my hero Gustav Gloom, each year.
Your Remake Chronicles on Patreon: What’s the background on this project? (Your post on the re-edited Apocalypse Now made me want to watch both movies just to appreciate your insights more.)
Thanks. For about a decade now, I have been producing for first my own dedicated website and then as a column on the defunct Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and now on Patreon, various scholarly essays comparing the various versions of film properties made multiple times. It started as a vivid rebuttal to the premise, often hotly advanced by people who don’t know what they’re talking about, that “remakes always suck,” something that does not happen to be true. I provide links to past essays about The Wages of Fear, remade as Sorcerer (bit.ly/2nxuore), the three separate versions of The Maltese Falcon (of which the third is the one we all know)( bit.ly/2nAwlmL), the two versions of Casino Royale (bit.ly/2oewkVI), and the three separate versions of The Poseidon Adventure (which includes a section explaining again just how intensely religious the first movie actually was—bit.ly/2mGoJPg). In any event, I do at least one new one a month, for Patreon subscribers.
Any news or projects you want to tell us about?
About now you should be able to find my Stoker-nominated novella, “The Shallow End of the Pool,” a terrifying work if I do say so myself, as an audiobook. It is a story also available in the audiobook My Wife Hates Time Travel and Other Stories, but here available in its own package.
Spread the word!