'Things flowing and melding together': An interview with EJ Swift and Joey Hi-Fi

Paris AdriftWe've gone large on Paris Adrift, but, well - it deserves it. The smart, twisty, beautiful and inspiring science fiction novel that kicks off 2018 with a bang.

The words are pretty great, and they're accompanied by a cover by one of our all time-favourites (and former resident contributor!): Joey Hi-Fi. Taking advantage of the situation (as one does), we asked both the author and the artist a few questions...

We've kept this spoiler free, but you may want to check out the first chapter. And if you have any questions, join in the hashtag at #ParisAdrift, or fire away to @catamaroon and @joeyhifi.

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EJ, what was the process in approaching Paris Adrift? How'd you go about the messy task of plotting/composing a novel that skips around in time?

EJ: I’d wanted to write about Paris since I spent 18 months living there after university, but it was the experience of working the night shift and having your body clock completely reversed that really sparked the idea of Paris Adrift. Time travel was a way to explore a lifestyle that felt at times surreal, and also some of the city’s fascinating history.

As for plotting - let’s just say it involved hair-tearing and the shape of the book changed a lot along the way. 

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Fiction: 'Paris Adrift' (Extract) by E.J. Swift

Paris AdriftParis AdriftPrague, 2318

The explosions have stopped, and in their absence  a  raw  quiet unfolds. The bunker feels empty and cold, as if the people it harbours are already dead and have been for some time. Outside, what looks like snow is falling. It is not snow. Figures lurch past the cameras, sudden ghosts, there then gone. Inga breathes out. Breathes mist. In the confinement of the underground space, she listens to her thoughts detonating one by one.

This is the calm before the storm.

This time—this storm—will be the end.

There is a chance to fix this, but it means breaking everything they believe in. All that they’ve worked and sacrificed to preserve.

“The heating’s gone.”

That’s Toshi, the eldest of them.

Inga looks about the bunker, observing her depleted crew.  Only   a handful of history’s incumbents remain. Some have died during their travels through time, or have taken their own lives. Most have been buried never knowing the truth about their nature—perhaps they are the lucky ones. Others are yet to be born. Might never be born, now. Those too, she envies. What is left of the House of Janus is a world-weary collective, traumatised by experience and the implausibility of what has happened to them.

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Paris Adrift, One of Us Is Lying, All the Crooked Saints and More

Six recent reads across time, space, and genres: Maggie Stiefvater's All The Crooked Saints, E.J. Swift's Paris Adrift, Georgette Heyer's The Talisman Ring, Jason Rekulak's The Impossible Fortress, Eva Ibbotson's The Dragonfly Pool, and Karen McManus' One of Us is Lying.

I'd say I loved them all unequivocally, but, well, then I'd be lying too.

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'What Men Read in Hospitals' (1918)

Poppy

What a man reads in a hospital depends on two things: the man himself and the supply of books

To put a man to bed does not change him fundamentally. His education, tastes and habits remain unaltered when he lays aside his uniform and dons pajamas and a bathrobe. His reading will be influenced by all his personal endowments and qualities.

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'Ghost with a Knife' (1977)

Wooo!

"Ghost with a Knife" from CBS Radio Mystery Theatre, originally aired on Dec. 16, 1977. Listen along here.

Thoughts Before Listening

I am going to listen to something called Ghost with a Knife because ghosts are scary and knives are scary so this should be scary as heck, right? I DON’T KNOW! I GUESS!! Now here are some questions regarding this radio drama, raised by Illustrious Acquaintance and an assortment of friends who would be very offended to hear me refer to them as friends (WE COULD BE FRIENDS THO JUST SAYING)

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SPFBO2017: The Finalists Reviewed (All of 'em!)

11304423085_ee8df18686_oWe're participating in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. You can learn more about what this means (and how the finalists are doing) here. And follow the various stages of our process here.

I think I'm going to follow up in a week or two with a wibbly 'WHAT I LEARNED' post, and talk about my SPFBO experience(s) a bit more as a whole [UPDATE: Nyah.]. It has been a lot of fun, very enlightening - I've read a lots that covered the whole spectrum of quality - and learned a fair amount about what I think constitutes 'good'. Which is no bad thing. And, unlike previous judging or slush-reading experiences, I can wang about this all I want. So, in the next couple weeks, I might take advantage of that.

But, for now, here are this year's ten finalists, in no particular order, with my - somewhat arbitrary - scores. Thanks again for all the writers, readers, judges and administrator (singular!) for participating, and please check out the other judges for other perspectives!

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'I wish I could've been in Alien': An interview with Mark Hamill (1980)

Trash Compactor[He hates the word 'genre', loves Alien and makes poop jokes. This 1980 interview between Empire Strikes Back-era Mark Hamill and Starburst reaffirms why we love the guy so much. -- PK]

Star-wars-episode-v-the-empire-strikes-back-lgI asked him if being a fan of the genre meant that working on the Star Wars films was a real pleasure for him.

Yeah, it really is. I've done a lot of work on different television shows that I wouldn't allow to be beamed into my house but they were just jobs I did as an actor. But luckily for me I love to work in this — I hate the word genre — but genre.

But wasn't he getting tired of devoting so much of his career to the Star Wars movies. After all, it had started for him back in 1976. Wasn't he just a little weary of the whole thing now?

No, not at all - really! First of all I think in Empire the story is just beginning to emerge. They laid the groundwork in the first one but now we can develop the story and the characters. Star Wars was very emotional but it was a much more visually orientated experience. I mean, for instance, the exalted feeling you get when we blow up the Death Star is a very mechanical manipulation of the emotions but in Empire we have to rely on the character revelations as the emotional climax.

There was a kid at the media screening here of Empire who was just in tears at the end of it and he was saying to me. It's not true, it's not true . . . you lost! And I was saying to him that I didn't lose. It was a moral victory! It was a moral victory that Luke didn't join with Darth Vader.

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Mary Stewart, Storyteller; Possible Wizard

Thunder on the Right

To my mind there are really only two kinds of novels, badly written and well written. Beyond that, you cannot categorize… ‘Storyteller’ is an old and honorable title and I’d like to lay claim to it.

Mary Stewart (1916 - 2014) is a British novelist, known for her significant contributions to multiple genres. She was of the most prominent - and critically-acclaimed - creators of the romantic thriller. Stewart then went on to write the Merlin trilogy, a best-selling blend of history and fantasy.

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