Recently, I had the pleasure of conducting an e-interview with science fiction author, Barry Woodham. The content speaks for itself.
(Sorry about the formatting at the end. Not quite sure how it got mucked up.)
1.) What are your inspirations when it comes to science fiction?
I have nearly sixty years of reading science fiction and still possess some of the early magazines such as Worlds of Tomorrow, IF Worlds of science fiction, Galaxy, New Worlds SF and of course Analog back when it was known as Astounding ! I still have that Magazine delivered and have 50 years’ worth stacked away! There are many others that took my young mind on a voyage of discovery. They awoke a burning interest in applied science, astronomy, the evolution of life and the weird and wonderful. It enabled me to look up to the night sky and feel very small!
2.) What science fiction books did you read in your formative years?
I burned out the senior library before I was sixteen having tracked down everything that they had. I read Asimov, Clark, Van Vogt, Bester, Charles Eric Main, E C Tubb, John Wyndom – the list is immense! I soon found that the magazines fed my imagination at that time (!950 – 1970) far better than books. Now that the day of the pulp magazine is over, the vast number of authors ‘Out There’ are mining a rich seam of imagination. Now for instance you will not find SF magazines on show; you have to order them! When I was a teenager a vast variety were on show to pick from.
3.) Describe your writing process.
An idea presents itself and I begin to write. As I write the worlds of imagination fill my mind and plots and characters begin to come into focus. Once I get into my stride the story unfolds as I watch from my privileged position and it unfolds. I have a basic idea of the plot, but very often it will take me on an unexpected journey. For instance when I began to write my first book the idea that presented itself, was that to my annoyance in films etc., when a new world was discovered, a human being was able to breathe the air without being infested by alien organisms. We could never be able to fill our lungs with alien viruses and bacteria with impunity, so I set about trying to solve that problem. One thing led to another and five books came tumbling out!
4.) Here's your chance to market! Tell us about your books.
If you look on my blog you will find a good description of each book.
Genesis 2 deals with the interaction of humans, intelligent apes and the Gnathe millions of years after the sun has destroyed the Earth.
Genesis Debt brings the integrated society to use a vast group mind to take the Earth and moon out of the sun’s reach through time and space to put it in orbit around a gas giant of a different system.
Genesis Weapon opens centuries later when an ancient sentient weapon destroys the three worlds orbiting the gas giant, reducing them to rubble. Far out on the galactic rim an even greater menace becomes aware of the sentient species ripe for picking. Death is no haven from the Goss!
Genesis Search presents a reason why the sun went early into its red giant stage and why the Andromeda galaxy has speeded up towards its collision with the Milky Way. A search through time is instigated to locate those who defeated the Goss and give them the problem to enable the interstellar civilisation to build a globular cluster and escape with it to the large Magellanic cloud.
Genesis 3 A New Beginning pits the group of aliens and humans against a machine intelligence that has set a trap for organic life to learn the secrets of wormhole manipulation to further its own empire. In doing so, they become pawns in a greater cosmic intellect’s plans to build another universe when this one is finished. They travel through time and space inside a Dyson Sphere only to find that all sentient life has been co-opted.
Elf War is set on a number of parallel Earths and charts the struggle of the Light Elves (Ljo’sa’lfar) against the cannibalistic dark Elves (Dokka’lfar) who use humans as a food source and sport. An elf finds a way to travel to our world where he picks six mercenaries and iron depleted AK 47’s to wrest the kingdom away from the false High King and defeat the Dark Lord Abbaddon who is waiting to breach the poisoned brier. Waiting to invade on the elves’ home world is Molock, father of all the Dark Elves who will extend his rule of cruelty throughout the world of the Ljo’sa’lfar crushing all before him.
5.) In your opinion, what, if anything, has science fiction not been addressing lately?
Roger Zalanzy once wrote a book called ‘Stand On Zanzibar’. This dealt with the effects of overpopulation of the Earth’s resources. At one time the population of the world could all stand on the Isle of Wight off England’s shore. We are fast approaching Zanzibar. There is a limit to just how many human beings and their foodstuffs can manage. This now seems to be a taboo subject that SF writers have left alone for a long time. I still remember the film Soylent Green where the dead were turned into nutritious biscuits, which seems to me, not to be quite all that way away! After all it is a waste of protein?
6.) Cyberpunk vs. Space Opera. If forced to pick, which would you choose and why?
I would choose Space Opera as this genre of writing is trying to entertain rather than depress people! Looking at my efforts to entertain I would firmly place the emphasis on playing my imagination on a vast stage! I have considered the beginnings of the universe, gone right to its end and the possibility of how the next one would be formed. This to me is science fiction, full of alien view-points, strange locations and an attempt to take the reader where he or she has not ventured before.
7.) What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?
I once dreamt that I was there when Atlantis sank beneath the waves. I remember that I could feel the heat and hear the screams of terror as the volcano filled the sky with ash and lava rolled down the streets. To this day a do not know whether or not I survived?
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