Tachyon tidbits featuring Michael Swanwick, James Tiptree, Jr. Nalo Hopkinson, and Chris Tarry
The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
Michael Swanwick, James Tiptree, Jr., Nalo Hopkinson, and Chris Tarry
For CLARKESWORLD, Chris Urie interviews Michael Swanwick about his forthcoming collection NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT.
Why does the cat say “not so much?”
He’s a character in a story about a young teenaged girl’s attempt to rescue her father from Hell. Beelzebub is there for whatever reasons a cat would be sent to perdition, and when he delivers that line he’s telling the girl that she might be lovely to look at for other humans, but for a cat … Which he does simply because he’s a contrarian and in Hell honesty is an offense to local community standards.
I hadn’t thought of this before, but Beelzebub—“Not the famous one, obviously,” as he says—and I have a lot in common. We both enjoy telling the truth in unexpected ways.
In this collection, you pull inspiration from cultures and folk tales from around the world. What keeps you coming back to tales from Northern and Eastern Europe?
Simply the fact that in my early decades those were the areas where the literature was richest and easiest to come by. I’m trying to up my game in other cultures—African cultures, in particular. But it’s not something you can get simply by reading a book. You have to read a lot of books, be moved by them, and then let their contents percolate through the subconscious for years before the stories will appear.
Do you ever travel for research or does the travel instead provide the inspiration?
Both. My Russian stories were inspired by things I saw and heard and felt on my visits there, The Dala Horse was inspired by my visit to Sweden, and so on. But when I decided to write Dancing With Bears, set largely in Moscow, a city I’d only ever spent four hours in, I knew I had to go. I stayed long enough that I dared go out into the city and get deliberately lost, knowing I’d be able to find my way back to my flat on the Garden Ring. A few weeks is far from enough time to enable someone to write a serious novel about Russia. But the Darger & Surplus books are comic, so all I really needed was a sense of the city and the complex emotions that various locations in it arouse in you.
When I decided to write Chasing the Phoenix, Marianne and I arranged to tour China to research the book, but the day before the flight, I came down with a minor viral infection. Beijing International has thermometer gates and whoever passes through one running a fever gets thrown in quarantine. Marianne went without me and took copious notes, which helped immensely. And last year, after the novel was written, we went on a tour with a group that included Ellen Datlow and Eileen Gunn, so I got to see some of that great country—but none of it was tax-deductible, alas!
Nikki Steele at BOOK RIOT names her 100 MUST-READ SCI-FI FANTASY NOVELS BY FEMALE AUTHORS. The list included without comment James Tiptree, Jr.’s HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER and FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS writer Nalo Hopkinson’s BROWN GIRL IN THE RING.
How to Carry Bigfoot Home: The Animated Trailer
INVADERS: 22 TALES FROM THE OUTER LIMITS OF LITERATURE contributor Chris Tarry’s collection HOW TO CARRY BIGFOOT HOME was named the Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Short Stories.
For more information on NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story
For more info about HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by John Picacio
BROWN GIRL IN THE RING cover by Rudy Gutierrez with custom lettering by Daniel Pelavin