B55 Mini Interviews with Frank Wu, Elizabeth Bear, Marshall Ryan Maresca & Trisha Wooldridge

Frank Wu

fwuFrank Wu is a transdimensional interspace being, living physically near Boston with his wife, Brianna (who is running for US Congress), but regularly projecting his mind across time and space to commune with dinosaurs, eurypterids, and numinous energy beings. Visualizations and written accounts of these journeys can be found in Analog, Amazing Stories, Realms of Fantasy, frankwu.com, and the radiation-hardened memory bunkers of planet Gorsplax. Visit his website or follow him on Twitter @thefrankwu.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

Day-to-day life in the mundane world can be lonely and tiresome, like trudging through a desert looking for water. But an enormous convention like Worldcon or Comic-Con is like drinking from a firehose. Overwhelming. On the other hand, a tiny convention can’t satisfy the mind’s yearnings. Boskone is the ideal medium size – big enough so I can see all my friends but not so rushed and crazy. I can have a quiet, thoughtful conversation with someone without feeling pulled in a million directions. I’ve had a blast at every Boskone I’ve ever attended!

What is your favorite Boskone memory or experience?

Years ago, when I was just starting out, Boskone invited me to be a panelist. OMG OMG SO EXCITED – I show up early, and I’m delighted to see Bob Eggleton already sitting at the panelist table. OMG OMG OMG Bahhhhhhb f++king Eggletonnnnnnn!!! I hadn’t realized he was on my panel, but I strode through the crowd and sat down. OMG OMG I’M SITTING NEXT TO BOB EGGLETON. Then he glances at me and says into the mic, “If there’s nothing else, thanks everyone for coming to my panel.” And he leaves. I am such a dweeb.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

It is said that the golden age of science fiction is whatever blew your mind when you were ten. For me that was animated Star Trek. In the original series, they were often limited by funds – so an alien spaceship was “invisible” or “too far out of range, er, budget”. With the cartoon, no such limitations! The aliens weren’t just actors in latex masks (a thing I call zoocryptoxenophrenology – the study of bumpy alien foreheads) – but you got insectoid aliens, aliens with three arms, feline aliens, slug-like aliens, giant dinosaurs! And… spaceships made of metal that wasn’t cast or milled, but spun in filaments like spider’s silk! And intergalactic wars and rumors of intergalactic wars! And… in the dead of winter, when everything is gray – I think seasonal affective disorder isn’t caused just by lack of light – but lack of color – and the cure is animated Star Trek. Imperial purple next to solar flare yellow next to Martian green! If those colors don’t wake you from the dead, nothing will. The universe is full of weird things (didja know that there’s a type of ant that doesn’t poop until they leave the nest six months after birth – they basically carry a lifetime of poop in their butts). You have a choice. You can say, oh, the universe is weird and therefore terrifying and horrible (I’m looking at you, HP Lovecraft), or you can embrace the weirdness, and look for a sense of wonder around every corner. And THAT’s animated Star Trek!

Looking back at your work, which character, piece of art, song, poem, article, etc. stands out as an all-time favorite? What is it about this piece that makes it stand out for you?

One theme that recurs in my work is slamming together two things that shouldn’t be slammed together. Not just peanut butter and chocolate but… The idea of giant space monsters and… uh…. chickens! Or dinosaurs and two-necked guitars! Giant laser tanks and… ice-skating dinosaurs! Really, ANYTHING can be combined with dinosaurs –zombies, robots, LITERALLY ANYTHING – and it’s AWESOME. More more more! Frank R. Paul said he wanted his works to have “too much of a muchness”! Me too! Recently, I’ve moved from doing art to writing, because, boy, you can shove all sorts of nutty stuff into a story! I was super-proud that my underwater robot + octopus + AE Van Vogt ideas story won the Anlab award for best story in Analog. But… I am most proud of my latest story – my third sale to Analog (yeehaw, SFWA membership!), which combines centipedes + terraforming + Aliens + Chariots of the Gods (think: that guy with the big hair – “I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens”)! Keep an eye out for “Until We Are Utterly Destroyed,” coming soon to an Analog near you.

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

My wife, Brianna Wu the Magnificent, is running for US Congress as a Dem in Massachusetts District 8. So… naturally I made a political campaign ad for her… featuring giant monsters. With me in a Godzilla suit fighting Trumpzilla (who is out to destroy, well, everything). I had a leftover Godzilla suit different from the one we used in the shoot (who, at the end of the day can say they DON’T have at least two Godzilla suits?) – so I wore that for Halloween this year.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m working on a story which is: World War I fighter planes + dragons + “Fight the Power” + political radicalization. Shouldn’t be a problem shoving all that stuff into one story. No, not at all.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes. Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

Hmmm. I was going to pick Spock With a Beard teamed with… whoever. Because Spock With a Beard could take them all single-handed. On second thought, though… I enlist – SuperBugs!!! The Night King versus Flesh-Eating Bacteria. Do flesh-eating bacteria eat flesh that’s as pale as milk and hard as bone? They sure do! Yum! The Emperor versus… Entamoeba histolytica. Oh, that amoebic dysentery. Gets you every time. Hard to cast force lightning with your fingers when you’re using them to wipe your butt. And The Master versus N1H1 influenza? Not against the Master, but against the Master’s massed followers. Hey, N1H1 has already killed tens of millions, it wouldn’t think twice before wiping out your Army of Cybermen.

Elizabeth Bear

ElizabethBear_4Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She is the Hugo, Sturgeon, Locus, and Campbell Award winning author of 30 novels (The most recent is The Stone in the Skull, an epic fantasy from Tor) and over a hundred short stories. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, writer Scott Lynch. Visit her website, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @matociquala.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

What could possibly beat spending a weekend in February on the Boston waterfront, with the wind whipping vigorously down Summer Street, a half-mile walk from the nearest non-hotel restaurant?

…Okay, maybe I’m not selling it. Honestly, *despite* that small flaw, for me Boskone is a great and welcoming community. I’m a newer attendee, in the grand scheme of things, but I have always been made to feel welcome and I think Boskone has one of the most consistently interesting science program tracks around.

In the realm of “truth is stranger than fiction,” what experience from your past would people never believe if it were written into a story?

This is actually funny, because I did put bits of it in a story, and there were people who didn’t believe it! There’s a river buried under Hartford, CT–the Park River–which runs through culverts. It’s not strictly *encouraged*, but it can be kayaked in certain seasons. There is a scene in my novel, Hammered,  where some of the characters are engaged in a chase and gun battle in the culvert (which is enormous, by the way) and there were a couple of reviewers who picked out the “buried river” as the thing that broke their suspension of disbelief.

…Oh, well. I guess I didn’t sell it for those folks!

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

I was a 60’s superspy in 2015! Last year I was at a convention that weekend, and this year I had a cold. 😦

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

My current projects are the next Karen Memory Adventure (working title: Angel Maker) and the second book in the Lotus Kingdoms trilogy, The Red-Stained Wings. Angel Maker is a weird western steampunk whodunit, which is challenging me because I’ve never written a real whodunit before, and The Red-Stained Wings is the middle book in an epic fantasy trilogy set in a fantasy culture inspired by what little we know about the early civilizations of the Indus River Valley, with a technological update. Inventing whole cultures is *always* challenging!

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes. Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

Q. Because when it comes to godlike super-aliens, nobody else can quite compete with the Star Trek franchise. And if those three universes are colliding, it’s obvious that the laws of physics are completely on hiatus, so I might as well send along somebody to whom they only marginally apply. I’d probably send along Picard, to keep him on-task, and Data, because everything is better with Brent Spiner and somebody has to handle the exposition.

Marshall Ryan Maresca

MmarescaMarshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of the Maradaine Sequence NovelsThe Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages, The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue, The Holver Alley Crew and The Imposters of Aventil. His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology, Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced. He lives in Austin with his family, where he cooks too well and eats too many carbs. Visit his website, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @marshallmaresca.

What is your favorite Boskone memory or experience?

My last Boskone was in ’15, where the MASSIVE blizzard grounded planes and kept plenty of people stuck overtime. Which was certainly a problem, but people made the best of it, so the Post-Con Bar-Con was OUTSTANDING. Engaging and energized, but at the same time low-key and casual. Everyone was in the same boat, we all tried to make the best of it.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. I’m going to have to go with Die Hard, which is possibly one of the best constructed action movies ever made. I love that movie so very, very much, but I would love to have a proper “first time” seeing it, since– as was so often the way with movies on HBO and the like back in the 80s– I had initially seen the end of it first, and then later saw the beginning. So that’s an experience I would deeply relish.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

Right now I’m working on The Shield of the People, which will be the second in my Maradaine Elite series. This whole thing has been a fantastic challenge, juggling four different series in the same setting that all interconnect, yet keeping each book its own discreet, engaging story. Ten books in on this larger project, and it’s daunting, and filled with new discoveries, but thrilling to see the pieces I’ve been laying out for the past few years come together.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes.  Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

Supergirl, Buffy and Joan Watson. The first two to be the muscle, and the third to do the strategizing. Plus those three WILL NOT STOP until the world is saved.

Trisha Wooldridge

twooldridgeTrisha J. Wooldridge writes grown-up horror short stories and weird poetry for anthologies and magazines—some even winning awards! Under her business, A Novel Friend (www.anovelfriend.com), she’s edited over fifty novels; written over a hundred articles on food, drink, entertainment, horses, music, and writing for over a dozen different publications; designed and written three online college classes; copy edited the MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Stormreach; edited two geeky anthologies; and has become the events coordinator and consignment manager for Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester. Because she is masochistic when it comes to time management, she created the child-friendly persona of T.J. Wooldridge and published three scary children’s novels, as well as a poem in The Jimmy Fund charity anthology, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Her recent publications also include two novellas, Tea with Mr. Fuzzypants and Mirror of Hearts, and stories and poetry in Dark Luminous Wings. You can find her most recent work in the 2017 anthologies Gothic Fantasy Supernatural Horror, Dark Luminous Wings, New England Horror Writers’ Wicked Haunted, and the collector’s book of the Blackstone Valley Artists Association 2017 Art and Poetry Showcase. Visit her website, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @NovelFriend.

What is your favorite Boskone memory or experience?

I have a new favorite from last year–though last year was especially abundant in good memories–but I was on my way to a signing slot where I was alongside two of my heroes, Jane Yolen and the Fabulous Lorraine, and I won a hall costume award for my snow-queen outfit! I had put a lot of effort into looking good for the signing, but I wasn’t specifically going for any costume recognition–but getting the ribbon pretty much had me floating to the signing!

Looking back at your work, which character, piece of art, song, poem, article, etc. stands out as an all-time favorite? What is it about this piece that makes it stand out for you?

This is a tough question because I have so much I’ve created, and it’s like picking a favorite child. But there is always a favorite, regardless. For me, my favorite is a piece I wrote for the anthology Once Upon An Apocalypse called “Steadfast in the Face of Zombies.” The theme was retelling faery tales with zombies, both editors had specifically asked me to submit, and I was excited about the theme–I REALLY wanted to write something. But I was stuck! I almost never had writer’s block. Finally, three days before the deadline, I asked one of the editors to just _give_ me a faery tale to zombify, and she said Hans Christian Anderson’s “Steadfast Tin Soldier, go.” I had to reread the piece, and as I did, the story started forming in my head. While composing it, I remember a particular section I was working on at a local cafe during a write-in, and tears were just streaming. The writers I was with were all, “Are you okay?” and fortunately, they understood it was a moving part of my piece. I was so happy the editors liked it and took it–and to this day, I still get teary reading it. If you know HCA and his work, you probably understand why.

vjq4__128375When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

I dress up any time I have an excuse to dress up! Though, this year, on Halloween, I was sick and didn’t get dressed up. However, I had several wonderful events this past October where I could dress up. Since I try not to wear the same costume twice at any particular event, the ones I rotated through the most this year were a Noir-styled Cryptid Investigator (it goes with a hat I love!), evil faery queen (to match a cool make-up palette I purchased), Victorian witch (has another hat I love), and snow-queen fairy (uses copious amounts of glitter and shimmer). And yes, I have back-stories to go with all my costumes.

 

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes. Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

My three superheroes would be Buffy to match snark with Missy, Eleven from Stranger Things to take out the Emperor with her psych powers, and the Scarlet Witch to take out the Night King. 🙂

About Brenda Noiseux

Product Owner by day/Sci-fi geek and community builder by night. Using my super hero powers for the good of all kind. I'm the organizer several groups, including the League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen, a women's comics discussion group and a writer for Women Write About Comics.
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