The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: James Dashner

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 James Dashner, author of the Infinity Ring series, the Maze Runner series, the 13th Reality series, and the Jimmy Fincher series. The Eye of Minds (available now from Delacorte, with a book trailer here!) is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams…

James was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.) In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.)

Join us as we cover subjects ranging from Stephen King to the Golden Age of Television, and more!

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

One Christmas, when I was about five years old, I thought I’d pull off the biggest trick in human history. While all of my siblings were at school, and my mom upstairs, I opened every last present under the tree—not just mine. By hiding the wrapping paper behind the dryer and putting the presents back under the tree, I thought no one would ever figure it out. Hopefully, I’ve gotten less dumb over the years.

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

Oh, this one is easy. Kashmir by Led Zeppelin would blast from speakers in perfect surround sound, and I’d strut in, all slow-motion like, and people would bow before my coolness. (Then imagine the screeching sound of the needle being swept off an old-school (really old-school) album and sudden silence, everyone looking away awkwardly.)

What’s your favorite method of procrastination?

Catching up on all these amazing TV shows that somehow I missed the first time around. The Wire. The Sopranos. Sons of Anarchy. Breaking Bad. Dexter. It’s the Golden Age of Television, and also of procrastination.

Bad news: You’re about to be marooned alone on a desert island—name the five things you would bring along.

iPad. Satellite. Huge Television. Fridge. Electric plant.

James Dashner The Eye of MindsIf you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?

Imagine Dragons.

Would you rather discover the fountain of youth or proof of life on Mars?

No brainer—the fountain of youth. Then I’ll live long enough for someone to discover life on about a thousand planets. And lots of other cool stuff.

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

Two works totally changed my future reading and writing life. The Chronicle of Thomas Covenant and Ender’s Game. Odd pair, there, but true.

If you could name a planet after anyone (other than yourself), who would you choose and why?

Lincolnus. Because Honest Abe is my lifetime hero and worthy of planet status.

If you were secretly going to write fanfic (or, even better, slashfic) about any two characters, who would they be?

Walter White from Breaking Bad and Aragorn (firmly entrenched as Viggo Mortensen in my head). Two of my favorites from pop culture of all time.

If you, as a ghost, could regularly haunt one celebrity, author, or literary figure, who would it be?

Stephen King, no doubt. For one, to get him back for all the times he kept me up at night or damaged me psychologically forever. But also because he’s my literary idol and I’d love to stalk, I mean, observe him for awhile. Like, a decade, maybe.

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