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 science fiction writer and editor Gavin Grant. Together with Kelly Link, Gavin edited the acclaimed anthology Steampunk! They also edited the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror for five years. Gavin and Kelly also run the independent publishing house Small Beer Press
The pair’s newest anthology, Monstrous Affections, is available September 9th from Candlewick Press. Get a better look at Yuko Shimizu’s cover art for the anthology as well as the full table of contents here on Tor.com.
Describe your favorite place to read.
Favorite place to read is in a hammock somewhere in a screened-in porch. Ok, so I don’t actually have either of those, but I can dream. Second fave: on the couch with temperature appropriate beverage to hand.
If you could choose your own personal theme song to play every time you enter a room, what would you pick?
Just one song? No playlist? How about Neko Case singing Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell.”
If you regenerated as a new Doctor, what would your signature outfit/accessory be?
If I regenerated into the new Doctor that would be two middle-aged Scotsmen in a row! How about my signature outfit would be the non-middle-aged white male that I’d immediately regenerate into?
Do you have a favorite unknown author?
Yes. Oh wait. Well, Mia Couto is amazing but in the last year or so he’s won two HUGE international writing awards, so maybe he is more well known now? How about Alice Sola Kim, whose story brings Monstrous Affections to a mindbursting end?
Battle to the death, which weapon do you choose: A) Phaser, B) Lightsaber, or C) Wand?
Do you have a favorite phrase?
l’esprit de l’escalier—that smart retort that should have been on the tip of your tongue but you only think of it once the moment is gone.
If you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?
What’s your favorite sandwich?
Once (wait, only once?) I was stuck somewhere I didn’t particularly want to be and one of the few good things (my arteries would disagree) was this eggplant, red pepper, and cheese grilled sandwich. I don’t eat cheese anymore but remembering walking in and seeing that that sandwich was on the menu that day still brings back the happy.
Ok, really: the tofu banh mi from Pho Viet in the Super 88 food court in Allston in Boston. Killer.
List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.
1) Yuko Shimizu did the cover art: wow it knocks me out
2) This book has no dust jacket on purpose: the design was inspired by late nineteenth and early twentieth century decorated bindings.
3) We asked for stories about monsters and people so I should probably not have been so surprised when in came all these monstery monstrous stories!
Bonus Monster-Related Questions:
What role would you play in a monster movie—the cute clueless friend? The alpha male who seems like he should defeat the monster but still gets his head bitten off? The nerdy sidekick who warns everyone what’s about to happen? The token virgin? The monster itself?
I’d be the guy trying to scuttle out of the way of all the trouble.
What makes a monster monstrous in the first place?
The recognition of the humanity either in the monster, or, not.
What kinds of monsters were hiding under your bed as a child?
When I was five or six there was something under there with very long arms. My parents were quite strict and I wasn’t supposed to read after lights out. Once I could hear they weren’t around, I’d open the bedroom door a tiny crack and read as long as I could by the hall light. But the door was out of reach so every night when I had to get out of bed and take a couple of steps to close it I was just waiting for what I knew to be under there to get me. Those steps back to the bed, those frantic jumps, ack! They still give me the shivers.
If you could give a happy ending to any fictional monster, which would you choose? What new ending would you write for them?
Ok, so by the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Anya was human, a very blunt human but definitely no longer a demon, but the way she was killed off in the final episode has always annoyed me. So I’d rewrite the ending (ok, and a few other bits) so that she survived.