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Ekaterina Sedia Interview Meme

OK, two memes in one day is a little much, but this one is way too cool to not do.

Basically, Matt Stags, creative enabler and all round sensible person came up with a nice way to spread the word about Alchemy of Stone the utterly bad-ass second novel from Ekaterina Sedia (author of The Secret History of Moscow and the editor behind Paper Cities), which is: ask her five questions, then tag someone else to do the same, rinse and repeat.

Matt himself has asked his five, Paul Jessup has too, now it's my turn:

1. The Steampunk genre is a hot topic at the moment--its verging on mainstream culture, and has even generated some steampunk purists. What drew you to the genre?  What did you want to keep?  What did you want to discard?

Well, you're assuming that I set out to write a steampunk book. I was mostly interested in writing about intelligent automatons who are by all objective measures things. Also, an overlap between social and industrial revolutions interested me to a great degree -- and so the result of it was a sort-of steampunk, without the Victorian ambiance as such. What is most intresting about the genre to me is the 'punk' part of it -- the inevitable suffering caused by technology involving from a tool that makes human work easier (a loom, for example) to a substitute of human workers (a stocking frame -- yes, shadows of Ned Ludd. He showed them frames.) The inevitable rebellion and the role of ethnic minorities in such a rebellion is also an interesting question -- look for example at the Russian Revolution. So I'd rather not focus on gentlemen inventors (although there are some in the book) but rather on consequences of their inventions for the rest of the populace.

2. You mentioned upstream in this meme that you consider yourself a political writer and that you have an interest in plant ecology.  Will you be addressing it in any upcoming projects?

Heh. The House of Discarded Dreams is all about colonialism and horseshoe crab conservation. Wait! It's actually more fun than it sounds!

3. Both science and genre writing are traditionally male-biased communities.  Did your experiences in these two areas affect the gender politics of the book at all?

Biology is not terrible with the bias, but in general it is fairly strong in academia. Just like everywhere else. So basically yes, a woman has a different experience than a man walking down the street, let alone the workplace and genre writing. Gender informs everything we do, so why would this book be an exception? (On the other hand, let's not pretend that male writers are somehow neutral on the subject of gender politics -- their experience informs their writing as well.)

4. Which authors/works were influential on Alchemy of Stone?  Are there any authors/works who consistently influence your writing?

Mieville is probably an obvious influnce, but there's also a lot of others, from Dickens to Kropotkin, Butler, LeGuin, Delany... too many to name.

5. Which authors are you most excited about at the moment?  Who do you see as up and coming in the field of geeky authordom

I am a big fan of Catherynne Valente, Cherie Priest, Sarah Monette, Daniel Abraham, Sean Stewart, Jennifer Stevenson... but those folks are already established. Among the up and comers, I do enjoy shorts of Paul Jessup, Darin Bradley, Becca de la Rosa, Darja Malcolm-Clark, Karen Heuler, you, Mary Robinette Kowal, David Schwartz, Anna Tambour... basically, everyone in Paper Cities. Oh, I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. This is really an exciting time, I think, with so many wonderful writers appearing on the scene every day.

NEXT UP: Mark Teppo (consider yourself tagged)