The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Nina D’Aleo

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 Nina D’Aleo, who wrote her first book at age seven (a fantasy adventure about a girl named Tina and her flying horse). Due to most of the book being written with a feather dipped in water, no one else has ever read ‘Tina and White Beauty’. Many more dream worlds and illegible books followed. Nina blames early exposure to Middle-earth and Narnia for her general inability to stick to reality. She also blames her parents. And her brother.

The Last City, Nina’s debut novel, was nominated for an Aurealis Award for best science fiction novel. Nina is the author of three novels including The Last City, its sequel The Forgotten City, and The White List, available now from Momentum Books.

Join us as we cover subjects ranging from romances with wizards to vacation pitfalls, and more!

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?

In a food-storm apocalypse I would be absolutely fine—raining chocolate milk, candy hail, ice cream frozen over the drive-way… that’s definitely most compatible with my survival skills.

In any apocalypse involving outfighting, outsmarting, outrunning, or really any physical or mental exertion over the barest minimum, I would probably be dead in the first 5 minutes, possibly seconds.

The White List Nina D'AleoHeroes vs. Villains—which are more fun to write?

I’m going to say the villainous hero—or heroic villain—just to be annoying.

Two roads diverge in a yellow wood: one leads toward a mysterious laboratory in which a mad scientist is currently ensconced. The other winds its way toward a tower inhabited by a powerful wizard. You could really use a snack, and it would be nice to have somewhere to crash for the night—which road do you choose?

I’m going with wizard, because mad scientist ensconced in secret evil laboratory instantly gives me the creeps, plus he probably keeps blood samples and body parts in his fridge instead of food – whereas lost girl (in a storm) stumbling into the tower of a powerful wizard (and let’s pretend he’s darkly handsome, brooding, angry and dangerous but saveable) and you’ve got the beginning of a book I would like to read.

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

The Jaws theme or Darth Vader’s theme… my boss would start to approach me with more work, and then have second thoughts. (Equally applicable to husband asking me for a sandwich.)

What is your ideal pet (real or fictional)?

A flying unicorn. Because it’s a flying unicorn!!! (And I have a princess complex…)

What’s your favorite method of procrastination?

‘Researching’ (or staring into the fridge).

Choose your preferred fictional vacation spot: Narnia or Middle-earth.

Middle-earth potentially, but only after the defeat of Sauron—otherwise fleeing for my life from the darkness sweeping across the lands wouldn’t be very relaxing.

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