How did this story come about?
This all started with the title itself. I was trying to come up with a title with a little more whimsy for my upcoming novel The Apocalypse Seven, when I thought of “Schrödinger’s Catastrophe.” It was entirely too whimsical, but I thought it was clever enough to mention it to my editor (John Joseph Adams). He agreed that it wasn’t right for TA7 but then threw me a curve by suggesting it would work really as the title of a short story.
My first reaction was, cool idea but I don’t write short stories. A day later, I had the entire plot in my head. This was mildly annoying because I was in the middle of writing a different novel, which I immediately had to stop working on in order to get “Schrödinger’s Catastrophe” out of my head.
I had it finished and submitted about ten days later.
I was sure there would be a cat. I almost missed it.
Before you started reading the story, there both was and was not a cat in it. It was only after you read it and found there was no cat that the cat ceased to be a part of the story. The difficult question is, by reading it and discovering no cat, did you in effect make it impossible for any other reader to ever find a cat in the story? Or will other readers still discover a cat? If so, does that mean a second reality—in which the cat does exist in the story—has been created by the both-ness of the cat?
. . . or
Dammit, I should have put a cat in the story.
I’m positive I am missing other science references/in-jokes in the story. Will you enlighten me?
I’m pretty sure if you presented me with your list of all the science references and in-jokes you found, at least one or two of them would surprise me. So instead of answering that directly, I’ll give you this: I elected to use the word “chortled” for a very specific reason.
I was bummed your author visit to my local Worcester bookshop was cancelled. What’s the pandemic rollercoaster like for a writer?
Actually? It’s been going pretty well. If you’d told me a year ago I would have to stay inside every day, work my day job from home, and spend the nights and weekends with nothing to do but eat, drink and write, I would have said, “But that’s all I ever wanted to do anyway.” Since this began, I’ve finished two novels and two short stories, and it’s only been six months.
Any news or projects you want to tell us about?
I’ve mentioned one already: The Apocalypse Seven will be released on May 25, 2021. It’s being published by JJAB/HMH. It’s cool and awesome and I can’t wait. But what’s maybe more interesting is what I’ve been doing with the time in-between.
I finished TA7 back in 2019. Knowing the lead time for HMH before publication was going to be a while (compared to self-publishing, which is the rhythm I’m accustomed to) I tried to set up a two-year schedule to get out as much as possible while I could.
After finishing a long-running fantasy series (the Immortal books) I started an entirely new science fiction line called Tandemstar. With a foundation of world-building I’ve been doing at my Patreon site, I finished the first book of The Outcast Cycle (the first series set in the Tandemstar universe) in May. It’s called Two Suns at Sunset, and it was released on September 8, 2020. I just finished the first draft of the second book, The Madness of Kings, and it will be coming out December 29, 2020.
If I’m very, very lucky, I’ll have the third book written and ready to go by the end of March, 2021. If not, it will have to wait until July or August, so that my release schedule doesn’t interfere with The Apocalypse Seven.
Spread the word!