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 exclusive High Five interview with Archie Black, who has had stories published in previous Pandemonium anthologies including Stories of the Apocalypse and A Town Called Pandemonium. Her next story, ‘The Mouse,’ is set in WWII-era France, but you can find it in the forthcoming Cubicle 7 anthology World War Cthulhu. She lives in London, where she likes to chase pigeons down Whitehall.
Archie’s story in The Lowest Heaven is called Ashen Light.
To start this off, what was the inspiration behind your story in The Lowest Heaven?
Briefly, there are two inspirations: Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and investigations into a Venusian atmospheric phenomenon known as the ‘ashen light’ which was first sighted in the middle of the 17th century. Arguments about what causes it continue to this day (although we’re pretty sure it’s not the natives setting bonfires).
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?
I tend to interpret a strong connection between the emptiness and desolation of really traditional science fiction – space travel, planetary colonisation, etc. – and the emptiness and isolation of a certain strain of American writing, particularly fiction and non-fiction set in the mid-century midwest. Writing science fiction is a way for me to explore that connection; how individuals and communities respond to emptiness and isolation.
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?
I’d totally be buzzing around the universe in my trusty ship the Fatty Lumpkin, looking for cool new animals with Stephen Jay Gould, Ada Lovelace and Han Solo. That would be a very interesting mission.
The age old question, do you think we’re alone in the universe?
Statistically speaking, the probability that we’re alone in the universe is vanishingly small. For all practical purposes, however, we might as well be. (The universe, after all, is an awfully big place.)
Finally, we say J for Jetpack, you say J for…?
J for Jump Jet! (They’re so cool.)
We’re going to have to google that one as well . . . thanks Archie!