The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Kieran Shea

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Kieran Shea, whose fiction has appeared in many publications including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, and Crimefactory. He has been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland. His futuristic thriller Koko Takes a Holiday is available now from Titan Books.

Join us to learn about Kieran’s unique weapon of choice to combat a zombie uprising!

Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.

I once grilled lamb chops with the late actor Sam Bottoms (Apocalypse Now, The Outlaw Josey Wales, etc.) while hanging out in LA. Good time, long story.

If you could choose your own personal theme music to play every time you enter a room, what would you pick?

Ah, that would have to be either The Special’s twisted take on Guy Lombardo’s “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)” or Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9…the Choral part.

Do you have a favorite underrated, unknown, or under-read author?

It isn’t fair to say he’s underrated/unknown/under-read, but lately I’ve been partial to pushing Ron Currie, Jr. on everyone I can. His novel Everything Matters! is a brilliant head-trip with a doomsday punch line, and his story collection God Is Dead is like a master class in short fiction.

Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.

I’m opting for HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL is a prime example of the best-laid plans backfiring. Our species tends to create its own monsters.

Koko Takes a Holiday Kieran SheaIf you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?

At the height of their powers… either The Stone Roses or The Rolling Stones.

What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?

As a child…probably television and movies, you know? Catching all those SF/creature features flicks my parents said would rot my brain and those Gerry Anderson shows like UFO and Space: 1999.

Name your three favorite fictional villains of all time. Heroes vs. Villains—which are more fun to write?

Let’s go with Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22, O’Brien in 1984, and Mark Millar’s comic supervillain—Nemesis.

As for the second part, flawed heroes are much more fun to write. I’ve a great admiration of the noir genre. In noir fiction you get to beat the living hell out of your heroes. Protagonists who solve problems in tight spots and save the day after getting their butts kicked are a blast to write.

What kind of apocalypse (zombie, robot, environmental, etc.) is most compatible with your survival skills? And what kind of apocalypse would you like to avoid at all costs?

Zombie. A fireman’s Halligan bar would be my close-quarters weapon of choice.

As for the second part of the question, I think we are in the midst of our own slow-motion destruction. It’s pretty disheartening.

If you could find one previously undiscovered book by a non-living author, who would it be? Why?

In the middle of the last century, the Rationalist Press Association published one hundred and forty short books (extracts and essays mostly) called The Thinker’s Library. If someone pulled all of those together into a single omnibus, even digitally, that would be incredible.

Which language, real or fictional, would you like the ability to speak fluently? Who would you talk to?

Français-Canadien, probably. I would hop on a flight and head straight to Montreal to talk with the kitchen crew at chef Martin Picard’s Au Pied De Cochon.

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