Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BBAW Day Two - Interview Swap

I had the pleasure of interviewing The Little Red Reviewer, also known as Andrea, for the BBAW interview swap! You can read Andrea's interview with me on her page (permalink to come). You review a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but started as a sci fi reader. What elements of each genre are you drawn to? What was the spur for you to start reading fantasy?

I think I'm most drawn to the impossibleness of it all, or at least the seemingly impossibleness. I read a lot of space opera, that takes place in colonies around our solar system, or on far flung planets that we've colonized or terraformed. Maybe in 50 or a hundred generations that could be possible, but it won't be happening in my lifetime, so to me, it's impossible. Fantasy too - dragons and magic are completely impossible, but I find that fascinating!

It took forever for me to start reading fantasy because I thought all fantasy was Lord of the Rings style fantasy, with quests and dwarves and princesses and evil sorcerers. I didn't want to read anything labeled fantasy because the traditional quest based high fantasy just didn't interested me. But wait, I like fairy tale and mythology retellings, didn I? I liked Neil Gaiman, didn't I? isn't that stuff closer to fantasy than science fiction? My husband convinced me to read some Michael Moorcock and some Steven Brust, two masters of darker fantasy starring antiheroes. It was love at first read.

since sci fi/fantasy was embraced by mainstream culture, it seems there's a popular monster of the moment: the almost endless fascination with vampires, the zombie obsession. Do you have a favorite? Love or hate the popular incarnations?

I haven't really gotten into the zombie craze, and other than enjoying a few seasons of True Blood I haven't really gotten into much of the pop culture urban fantasy stuff. I prefer my monsters, zombies and vampires, to be just that: monsters. Horrific creatures to be run from, not towards, creatures we should biologically be fearful of. Some recent Vampire books that I've enjoyed are Anno Dracula by Kim Newman, and Twelve by Jasper Kent, and both are quite scary. Jim Hines's recent Libriomancer pokes fun at some of the newer popular incarnations, but I haven't read enough of the pop culture stuff to get a lot of his jokes!

Using the T-word for a moment here, Twilight brought vampires to a larger audience and knock-off titles abound. Now we see zombies everywhere. What are your thoughts on sci fi/fantasy in popular culture? Bringing it to a wider audience, watering it down and making it insipid, or both?

There is an infinite amount of flavors of science fiction and fantasy. some of it is literary, so of it is dark and creepy, some of it is humorous or satirical, and some of it is on the lighter side. Everyone is going to enjoy different things, so I'm just happy there is such a huge variety of titles and genres and subgenres available. There was nothing like this kind of variety when I was younger. And hey, if someone is reading Twilight today, maybe next year they'll be interested in some Kim Newman, right?

What's your favorite recent read?

I really enjoyed Phil and Kaja Foglio's most recent Girl Genius novel Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess. Their Girl Genius series started out as a webcomic, which then became a printed comic, and now the authors are doing novelizations. A novelization of a comic book? that sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But they do it brilliantly. It's a gaslight romance adventure story, about mad scientists and crazy inventions. In the comic, there is a lot of physical humor and visual gags. in the novels (they've written two so far), there is a ton more world building and characterization, and it's funny and a little tragic and a little scary and quite romantic. if you're a fan of steampunk, I can't recommend Girl Genius enough!

I'm stealing your e-reader question: love 'em or hate 'em?

ehhhh. . . . I'm not a fan. I'm one of those super old fashioned people who has a fetish for physical books. The feel, the weight, the feel of the paper, the rise of ink, the quality of the binding, the different cover art on different printings, even the typos. I could really go on and on. And packing an entire suitcase of books for a 2 week vacation? that's not an extra suitcase, it's a badge of honor! Books don't need batteries, aren't affected by sun glare, don't need me to give my credit card information or my e-mail address. They can be passed around, lent out, traded in, borrowed, autographed, thrown across the room if they suck, sometimes dropped in the bathtub. Physical books live their own life, bear their own scars. Sometimes, in the darkened, dusty corners of a used bookstore, you can hear them tell you their stories.


Simcha said...

I just came over from The Little Red Reviewer after reading her interview with you and seeing that you review a lot of non-ficiton, especially memoirs. I'm always looking for good memoirs so I'll take a look around.

redhead said...

thanks for the fun interview questions, i love surfing all the BBAW interviews! :D