So now The Lowest Heaven, a sci-fi short story spectacular which features some of the hottest names in modern genre publishing, is out in paperback – and very handsome it looks to. We love this book so much (and are in constant awe of the amazing work that our friends at Jurassic are doing) so we’re going to celebrate all over again with some more exclusive interviews with the authors involved.
Here’s an interview with Esther Saxey. Esther moved to London for the nightlife and stayed for the wildlife (foxes, parakeets and Tube Mice). Her nonfiction publications have tackled Victorian ghosts and perverse vampires.
Esther’s story in The Lowest Heaven is called Uranus.
What was the inspiration behind your story in The Lowest Heaven?
Two things: firstly, the Uranians (Victorian queer poets). Secondly, Phil Hine ( http://enfolding.org/) told me that science fiction seems to influence early accounts of astral projection. That made me wonder what a Victorian would ‘see’ in space, given their understanding of how space worked.
What is it that attracts you to science-fiction as a genre and what one sci-fi thing, be it book, movie or real life event, has influenced you the most?
SF can mess up the rules of fiction along with the rules of the material world. So Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Archer’s Goon (which I read when small) starts out as a detective/fantasy story, but one of the characters can bend time, so everything’s thrown up in the air – who’s who, what happens when, the nature of causality… If my ‘one thing’ can be a person, I’d pick John Wyndham, – writing in the 1950s, still feeling current in my nuclear-cold-war teens in the 1980s, and – I’d argue – grandfather of the current dystopian trend.
Okay, so you’re going on a mission in to space. What is your mission? What three people (alive or not so alive) will you take with you? And most importantly what cool name would you give your ship?
Riding a solar sail to swap useful things with a distant civilisation. I take Alan Turing for steering and repairs, Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler for communicating with the dist. civ. when we arrive. The ship’s called Prayer Wing.
The age old question, do you think we’re alone in the universe?
Strictly speaking, no, but emotionally, yes. Something’s probably out there, but it’ll be so hard to communicate with it (sorry, shipmates), we may as well face up to going solo.
Finally, we say J for Jetpack, you say J for…?
Jam – a moment of technological awkwardness, or musical collaboration, or good on toast.