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 Daryl Gregory, the award-winning author of novels including Pandemonium, The Devil’s Alphabet, and Raising Stony Mayhall, which was named one of Library Journal‘s best books of the year. His comics work includes Planet of the Apes and Dracula: The Company of Monsters (with Kurt Busiek). His latest novel, We Are All Completely Fine, is available now from Tachyon Press. Read an excerpt here on Tor.com!
Join us, as Daryl breaks all the rules of internet security!
Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.
My social security number is 355-09-1678. People say, Daryl, you can’t say stuff like that on the internet! But I’m too edgy to be bound by “rules” and “common sense.”
If you regenerated as a new Doctor, what would your signature outfit/accessory be?
I would be the first all-naked Doctor. I’d be unstoppable! Even the Daleks would be like, “EXTERMINATE. EX—DAMN IT, WOULD YOU PLEASE PUT SOME CLOTHES ON?”
Battle to the death, which weapon do you choose: A) Phaser, B) Lightsaber, or C) Wand?
I always pick the weapon that is least bound by the rules of physics. So I’d pick Wand, with Laser Scope.
Do you have a favorite word?
For years I’ve been evangelizing for the word antisesquipedalianist. A sesquipedalianist is a person who uses extremely long words, so anybody who’s an antisesquipedalianist and says so is a hypocrite. Gotcha, illiterate pompous person!
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
Hands down, it’s “He Who Kills,” the knife-wielding psychotic fetish doll from the TV movie Trilogy of Terror. Whatever happened to that guy? HWK was such a strong actor, but I’m afraid he got pigeonholed as the psychotic knife-wielding fetish doll.
What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
I have a firm rule: the costume has to take less than ten minutes to make and cost less than five bucks in supplies. So I tend to go for puns. One year I was Conan the Librarian—I just picked up my sword (of course I own a sword) and handed out overdue notices. And once I had to go to a party on short notice, so I took down a kitchen grate and hung it around my neck. When people looked at me weird, I’d just say, “Isn’t this a grate costume?” Oh, the hilarity.
If you, as a ghost, could regularly haunt one celebrity, author, or literary figure, who would it be?
I’d be a terrible ghost. Even though I like to write horror stories, they’re really anti-horror stories that are more about empathy than terror. I think this comes from being a Midwestern boy who feels bad about scaring people for real.
So if I was a ghost, I’d appear behind people as they looked in the mirror and whisper things like, “You’ve got something in your teeth.” Or become a Midwestern poltergeist. People would hear disturbing noises coming from the kitchen, and when they ran in there the dishwasher door would be hanging open… and all the dishes would be put away. What was the question? Who would you haunt?