INTERVIEW: Tom Lucas

NSFW Warning: This interview has explicit content and may not be safe for work.

Tom Lucas is a college professor, author, blogger, poet, book reviewer, and spoken word performer. His most recent book, Pax Titanus, was published by Eraserhead Press in 2014 and is part of the New Bizarro Author Series. He has been published in many places including Writer’s Digest, Orbit, Anthropomorphic, Graffiti Rag, and Dark Fire Fiction, and he has shorts appearing in the upcoming anthologies: They Did It For The Money and Southern Haunts III. As a staunch supporter of spoken word he has performed on the Lollapalooza stage as well as guest spots on CIMX, WDET, and WJR.

He was born and raised in Detroit, and although currently enjoying the lack of snow and ice in Florida, remains a son of the post-industrial apocalypse. When not writing, Tom likes to drive fast and take chances. He can be found at readtomlucas.com and on Facebook, and if you sign up for his email list, he’ll send you a free story.

In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding, we talk about bizarro, Pax Titanus’s epic creation story, and The Struggle.

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INTERVIEW: Simone Caroti

Simone Caroti is Course Director for Science Fiction and Fantasy at Full Sail University and a senior research scientist at the Astrosociology Research Institute (ARI), a non-profit organization devoted to bringing the humanities and the social sciences into the debate on human colonization of outer space. He is the author of The Generation Starship in Science Fiction, a critical history of multi-generational interstellar travel in science fiction. His second book on the Culture series by the science fiction author Iain M. Banks is currently under contract from McFarland.

In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding, Simone talks about Iain M. Banks, his forthcoming book on Banks’ Culture novels, and his work at the ARI.

PT: Thanks for agreeing to talk with me, Simone. Tell us about your new book?

SC: The book originates from a proposal I sent to my publisher, McFarland, in December of 2012. I’d been wanting to write about the Culture series for fifteen years by that point, so I was actually relieved when I decided to take the plunge. McFarland declared itself interested, and I started researching. I continued until April 3rd, 2013. Banks’ announcement of his terminal illness hit me hard, and I immediately stopped working on the book – I didn’t know how to go on.

PT: His death hit me quite hard, as well. I was reading A Song of Stone when it was announced.

SC: I own A Song of Stone, and I very much want to read it, but right now I just can’t. If I may ask, did the atmosphere of the book seep into your reaction to Banks’ announcement?

PT: That’s a good question. I think the atmosphere of the book did seep into my reaction to Banks’ announcement but in an unexpected way. The thing that impressed me the most about A Song of Stone was how Banks wrote about the worst of human behavior with such beautiful language. It was as if he took these characters wallowing in a trash heap, and he gave them dignity. So, when the announcement came out I was struck by the contrast between the beauty of his personal dignity and all the love he received from the community and the horror and tragedy of the cancer that took him away from us. I think sitting with that terrible beauty while reading A Song of Stone helped me to sit with the best and worst of the human experience when the announcement came out, the love and the pain surrounding his death, which is beautiful in itself, in a way: Iain Banks’ work helped me grieve his death. It’s the greatest gift I think I’ve ever received from an author as a reader.

SC: I love that. I think you capture the mood of most people who love his work – you certainly do so for me, and I’m thankful for that.

PT: Thank you. I know we’d all rather have him here still, writing books. Obviously, you did go on eventually. What happened? Continue reading

Interview: Inky Path

Inky Path is a quarterly literary magazine which seeks to promote interactive fiction as literary medium. Volume 1.1 was released in February.

In this interview with Paper Tape editors Kristy Harding and Harmony Button Inky Path editors Devi Acharya and Irene Enlow talk about founding Inky Path and reading and writing interactive fiction.

PT: What is interactive fiction?

DA: In interactive fiction readers make choices. These choices can alter the course of the story, change the protagonist’s statistics, and help the reader explore the world.

There are two traditional forms of interactive fiction: choose-your-own-adventure stories and text-adventures. In CYOA stories, the reader picks decisions from a list of choices. In text adventures, she types commands (such as >TAKE LANTERN) to move around and manipulate the world.

IE: Interactive fiction can mean many things and that is what makes it such an interesting genre to explore. There is a great deal of diversity in interactive fiction, partly because I think it is a genre that is still evolving. At its most basic level, I think interactive fiction is simply what it sounds like—stories you can interact with. Rather than being a passive reader such as one is when reading a traditional novel or short story, one who reads interactive fiction can take part in the tale. Whether that means that the reader makes decisions for the character, or simply gets a deeper feel for the world and the plot is up to the writer. Every piece of interactive fiction is different and that’s what makes it such an exciting genre to explore.

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INTERVIEW: Joston Theney

Joston Theney is the director and writer of the new horror film Axeman as well as the thriller, Adam K, which is currently in production.  A native of Atlanta, he became a fan of horror when he discovered a relative’s collection of 80s horror flicks.

In this interview, novelist Sidney Williams and Joston talk about the chance meeting that led to Axeman, the process of creating a homage to 80s slashers, and why axes are so terrifying.

An audio version of this interview can be found in Episode 14 of Sidney’s horror podcast Fear on Demand.

SW: Joston, from the trailer at least, it looks as if you’ve crafted a slasher film with just a little bit more to the story. Can you give us just a brief synopsis of what the tale is about?

JT: Sure, sure, sure. … Axeman—you’re right there’s just a little bit more to it than just being a straightforward slasher. It’s number one an homage to 80s slashers. In and of itself it has all of the prerequisite stereotypes that are typically found in 80s slasher films, but what we tried to do also is make all of those stereotypes very, very human and very familiar, not just in a sense of things you’ve seen on the surface but make it more familiar to you in terms of making the characters more real and more grounded and giving them more gravitas.

We also have the prerequisite group of friends who show up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. They sit around and they discuss these urban legends, and one of them turns out to be very, very true, which is the tale of the Axeman of Cutter’s Creek, which is part of the folklore of the Big Bear community. We also have a group of bank robbers who’ve descended on the cabin as their getaway from the heat of the cops as well as people they double crossed to steal the money. We use that money as a backdrop to talk about humanity and how money changes people and it changes people’s motivations. And so you have all of that swirling together as people are being hacked to pieces. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Mike Keener

Mike Keener is a cartoonist, originally from Erie, PA, but now a resident of Kansas City, MO. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri (BFA, Graphic Design, 2007), and started professionally as a web designer (something he still does from time to time). He’s married to a really good schoolteacher and is thankful to work in the comics field.

In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding we talk about Mike’s forthcoming graphic novel White Worm.

PT: What is White Worm?

MK: White Worm takes some characters and situations from Bram Stoker’s last (and hurriedly finished) novel Lair of the White Worm, and mixes them in with the larger Cthulhu mythos. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Kate Winter of Girls Underground

Kate Winter is a writer, artist, and ritualist originally from New England, now living in Eugene, Oregon where she runs Girls Underground, a blog about the Girls Underground archetype in mythology and popular culture. She is the author of Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored and Dwelling on the Threshold: Reflections of a Spirit-Worker and Devotional Polytheist and holds a degree in comparative mythology and ritual from Goddard College.

To kick off Paper Tape’s Underground issue, in this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding, we talk about what girl underground stories are, their roots in ancient myth, and Kate’s work researching Girls Underground.

PT: What are girl underground stories?

KW: “Girls Underground” is a name I came up with to identify I certain pattern, or archetype, I saw in various stories – as ancient as myth and folklore, and as modern as movies and YA fiction, however with the emphasis being on the more modern examples. The basic plot is that a girl – usually either fairly young, like 7, or a teenager, like 16 – with absent or distant parents, often dissatisfied with her life, makes a choice or wish (or mistake) which propels her on an adventure into another world unlike her own.

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INTERVIEW: Marji Fortin

Marji Fortin is a 2D (Flash) animator and creator of the webcomic Proud Lands. Marji has primarily worked in television (Word Girl, Squidbilles), but she has recently started to specialize in animation for mobile games. She currently works on Minomonsters, a monster battling game for iOS.

In this interview with Paper Tape editor Kristy Harding, Marji talks about working as a traditional animator, webcomics, and storytelling.

PT: It first occurred to me to interview you for Paper Tape when you told me about a Women in Animation panel you served on where something you said took everyone by surprise. 

MF: I was invited to be on a panel by the San Francisco chapter of Women in Animation.  I feel like I was the least accomplished of the panelists as I shared the stage with a Pixar artist as well as a stop-motion artist who had worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas!  I guess I was the only traditional animator in the group, though, and the audience of (primarily) animation students were pretty interested to hear that I had found work in my field–and that I firmly believed others could too!

Once Disney Feature Animation went under everyone pretty much believed it was a dead art form.  3D was the wave of the future (and is still going strong), and I knew several friends who had switched to it not from a love of it but from a worry that they wouldn’t have work if they didn’t.

Animation is not an easy field for anyone and can be especially challenging for those who are focused on traditional (hand-drawn) animation, but there’s a surprising amount of options out there.  Flash, ToonBoom, and other programs that facilitate the process mean that there are still 2D animators here in the states.

The panel itself was held at the Walt Disney Family Museum here in San Francisco and was really fun!  I loved hearing from such a varied group of artists and animators.  You forget about other areas of even your own field sometimes and it was nice to see how varied it can be.  There was a girl whose expertise was in prop-making, who had worked in stop motion but also on Mythbusters and now other shows, helping to build whatever needed building on set!  I never even knew that job existed!  It was pretty great.

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