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 David Hair, an award-winning adult and YA fantasy writer from New Zealand, residing in a South Seas paradise with the lovely Kerry, after living abroad in India and the United Kingdom. Unholy War, the third book in David’s Moontide Quartet, is available October 30th from Jo Fletcher Books.
David proposes an alternate type of slashfic below. Join us!
If you could choose your own personal theme music/song to play every time you enter a room, what would you pick?
“The Light Will Stay On” by The Walkabouts—the most criminally underrated band in the world ever, and this slow-burning gem is arguably their best song.
Battle to the death, which weapon do you choose: A) Phaser, B) Lightsaber, or C) Wand?
(B) Lightsaber: as clearly if I have a lightsaber, it is because I’m a Jedi (as Jedis make their own lightsabers, using their mastery of the Force); therefore I also have the Force, and can deflect phaser blasts before chopping up the shooter. And with my super-agility, Jedi mind tricks and the like, I’m more than a match for the wand-wielder. He’ll still be looking where he last saw me, yelling ‘Expeliarmus’ as I behead him elegantly, from behind.
If you could name a planet after anyone (other than yourself), who would you choose and why?
Is this how Uranus got named?
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
I was a big vampire fan until Twilight killed them for me. But a particular type of vampire: the tragic, predatory sort, almost human but veiled in melancholy and tragedy. Doomy Byronesque anti-hero types, lost in time and struggling to retain their humanity against the odds. Apparently they’re not fashionable anymore.
The Moontide Quartet is an East-meets-West epic set in a medieval era (with lashings of magic and strangeness). So clearly an East/West collaboration is required: I’m thinking the wonderful A R Rahman for the Eastern scenes, based on his fabulous sound-tracking of various Indian movies; combined with Loreena McKennitt doing her Celtic harp-sorcery for the Western scenes.
What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
I went to one party as the vampire Lestat, complete with baroque European costume, blonde wig and make-up. I’ve just spent an hour trying to find the photo but can’t track down the right album, sadly.
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
With so many of friends scattered all across the globe so that seeing them is hard, I’d love a teleporter to be invented, so that we could all beam to a beautiful, glamorous destination once a week for a slap-up dinner and get-together.
What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. I loved the way it took a conventional rural setting, and then wove Celtic and Norse myths and legends into it, taking the everyday and imbuing it with magic. I must have read it dozens of times as a tween.
What would your Patronus/familiar be?
In my old job we once had one of those team-building days and one of the weirder exercises we were given was to split into pairs and tell the other person what animal they reminded us of the most. How this was supposed to help productivity or teamwork I can’t quite recall. Anyway, my self-image (that my inner animal-spirit was something sleek, fleet-footed and noble) was shot down in flames by my workmate who told me that I was a meerkat, for reasons that were hazy then and hazier now. So I guess that must make the meerkat my patronus: I’m actually cool with that—they are cute, lively and look out for each other—I’d never be taken by surprise!
Name your three favorite fictional villains of all time.
Villains: every story needs them, but we don’t have to like them. Personally I prefer my villains to be genuinely repugnant people—if they’re too likable or sympathetic they veer into anti-hero territory and aren’t really villains anymore. With that in mind, I’d say Dracula, who is still mostly definitely a villain, but the tragedy/doom attached to him make him relatable—we’re repelled but attracted at the same time, though it is never in doubt that he needs to be staked. I liked Darth Vader until he turned into Hayden Christensen—some tales are best left untold. And Radu from the best-left a guilty secret Subspecies vampire movies was a treat—grotesquely OTT, but good fun.
If you were secretly going to write fanfic (or, even better, slashfic) about any two characters, who would they be?
I had to look up slashfic, which sadly isn’t what I thought it was: in my imagination it was a sub-genre of fan fiction in which we toss two hopelessly mismatched fictional characters into a gladiatorial arena and watch them duke it out. So I’m going to pretend that’s what slashfic actually is, because I think it’s quite a cool idea: I’d like to see Jaime Lannister of GOT fame (the early-series, still fully intact Jaime), armed only with a plastic fork, take on one of Geiger’s Aliens. I’m not a big Jaime fan, you see: arrogant, entitled, smug jerks not being my bag. I reckon he’d last about three seconds…
If you, as a ghost, could regularly haunt one celebrity, author, or literary figure, who would it be?
I’d be a mischievous poltergeist who turns up at football (that’s soccer to you) matches involving my favorite team, and intervenes with my telekinetic powers so they always win. Premier League ahoy!
What is your ideal pet (real or fictional)?
I’m a cat person, so I’d go for a large griffin—all the best cat features—self-reliant and low-maintenance—combined with the ability to waste any intruders, plus it could take me flying. Ideal!
List three things you’d like our readers to know about you and your work.
- I’m a New Zealander: US readers might know New Zealand as the ‘set’ for the Lord of the Rings movies, but little else: we’re a former colony of the British Empire at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. We drive on the left hand side of the road, use English spelling and occasionally flicker into the world’s attention when one of us does something noteworthy (e.g. Lorde or Edmund Hillary).
- I’ve got ten Young Adult novels under my belt; six in the Aotearoa Series—a blending of teen fantasy and New Zealand/Maori myth—and the Return of Ravana series—a mix of urban fantasy and the Indian (that’s India the country) epic The Ramayana—if you’re interested in fast-moving fantasies that use lesser-known mythology as the springboard of the action, please seek them out.
- The Moontide Quartet is a East-meets-West epic fantasy, set in a world called Urte, where the giant moon makes the tides massive and has led to the two main continents being out of contact for millennia… until one of the western Magi builds a bridge, leading to culture clash and war. As we New Zealanders pride ourselves on fairness, neither side are entirely right or wrong, with heroes and villains on both sides.