CZP asked Imaginarium authors a few questions. See how they handle being on the spot, and how they handle The Hulk invading their stories! Between now and January 4th, 2013, CZP is running this special feature, and today’s author is A. C. Wise, who appeared in Imaginarium 2012: The Best of Canadian Speculative Fiction with the story “Final Girl Theory”.
I’m not sure what the first piece was, but there are a series of stories that stand out pretty clearly. I was probably four or five when I wrote them. My mother is a greater saver of things, so I still have them in a nice, bright blue binder. The stories are about three sentences each, tops. The spelling conforms to no known logic. In fact, there’s a good possibility I was trying to summon the Great Old Ones. Luckily, each story comes with a full-colour illustration, which gives me the general gist of what I was trying to communicate. It turns out, they’re mostly about mice.
What is the best advice you have ever been given from a publisher/fellow author/opinionated reader?
It’s not necessarily the best advice ever, but it’s good advice: An editor once told me to reduce my use of the word ‘and’ by about fifty percent. For some reason, it really stuck with me. It did wonders for the rhythm of my stories.
What is it about speculative fiction that appeals to you, as a reader and/or an author?
Speculative fiction is so flexible. It can encompass other genres, and most people will never batt an eyelash. Romance? Historical? Western? Mainstream? Sure! Why not? Of course, there are some people who will freak out about chocolate getting in their peanut butter, and vice versa, but it feels like speculative fiction is much more open to fluidity and genre mashing than other types of fiction.
Aside from writing, what else are you passionate about?
There’s nothing I’m quite as passionate about as writing, but I have been known to dabble in things like cooking and photography, with varying degrees of success. I have a tendency to voraciously devour books, so that probably falls next to writing on the passion scale. Related to writing and reading, I also co-edit The Journal of Unlikely Entomology.
Is there a book that you think would change the world (for better or worse) if every person was to read it?
Not really. No one reads in a vacuum, and every reader brings their biases and their personal experiences to a book. I doubt there is any one book that would impact enough readers in the same way to change the world. Then again, religious texts, even with the wildly differing ways people interpret them, do tend to re-write the landscape, so…
The Hulk is now a character in your Imaginarium story: how would it change?
Assuming we’re talking about your traditional green Hulk, and not any of the grey/red/purple polka dot varieties, Final Girl Theory would have been a very different story with his inclusion. (Actually, that’s likely still true for any of the Hulk’s colour variations, but I digress.) With Hulk around, the film Kaleidoscope, as it exists today, would never have been made. The story would have harkened back to my writing roots, and would have been only two or three sentences long: Everyone knows the opening sequence of Kaleidoscope. The camera tips over, and in the final (and only) moments of film, we see a big, green figure, bulging with muscle. There’s only one word of dialogue in the film, the most famous word of dialogue ever spoken (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) — “SMASH!” just before the film fades to black. The end.
A.C. Wise was born and raised in Montreal, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area. She is the author of numerous short stories in print and online, and she co-edits the Journal of Unlikely Entomology. You can also find her at online at acwise.livejournal.com, on twitter as ac_wise, and on Google+ as A.C. Wise.