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 Ethan Reid, member of the Horror Writers Association, the International Thriller Writers and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Ethan’s debut novel, The Undying, is a post-apocalyptic thriller set in the vampire-infested ruins of Paris—available now as an ebook from Simon451!
What is your favorite short story?
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Beyond her brilliantly disturbing reflection of communal peer pressure, the literary world’s reaction to her admission that she didn’t completely know what she was creating at the time she wrote the story gave me validation as a young writer—that my arguments in English classes, against the common conception that any writers original meaning can be known without being explicitly stated by the author, were valid.
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
The invisible being in Guy de Maupassant’s Le Horla. For most annoying, the vampire Ben Cortman in Matheson’s I Am Legend. When I was twelve, the werewolf in American Werewolf In London scared the bejesus out of me. Steven Moffat’s Weeping Angels are currently doing the same thing to my eight-year-old son. Superbly scary creatures.
Perfect world? If The Undying were made into a movie, I’d love for Ellen Page or Shailene Woodley to play Jeanie. Both would be perfectly cast to start off as a vulnerable young American in Paris for the first time, transforming into a formidable woman able to take on the apocalypse head-on. For Ben, I think Jesse Eisenberg or Shia LaBeouf. For Zou Zou, I would love the role to be played by Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey.
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
Interstellar travel. We need to get off this planet, Mr President. We’re seriously not going to get out of our own way.
What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?
The mother of a childhood friend, a librarian, chose and brought home books for her son. He let me read them when he was done. I met Conan that way. Bradbury. Michael Moorcock’s Elric. She also introduced me to an actor named Tom Baker and his awesome dog K-9 on Saturday nights on PBS. Jelly Baby, anyone?
What would your Patronus/familiar be?
A crow, I’d like to think, but I don’t get much of a say in the matter. My wife thinks mine would be a Blue Heeler. We have two Australian Cattle Dogs as pets.
Name your three favorite fictional villains of all time.
Professor Moriarty for certain. Also the Merovingian in The Matrix. I love his line, “I love French wine, like I love the French language. I have sampled every language. French is my favorite. Fantastic language. Especially to curse with. Non de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d’enculer ta mere. It’s like wiping your ass with silk. I love it.” And Le Chiffre in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. It’s said he based the character on Aleister Crowley.
Having finally established communication with a distant alien species, what’s the first thing that we should tell them about Earth/humans?
If they’re less weaponized than us? I’d just tell them to run.
Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.
I’m a Seahawks fan. We’ve had season tickets for years, through lots of hard years when they were easy to buy and hard to sell. The team was awful, but like any good soap opera, I began to get hooked on the storylines—the players, coaching and front office stuff. Watching Russell Wilson take the team to the Super Bowl was amazing. His story—how he overcame adversity for being too short, to persevere after the loss of his father whom he loved deeply, his sudden divorce and the rumors that swirled—these are the storylines that capture, built within a truly barbaric sport.
If you had to choose one band or artist to provide the official soundtrack to your new book, who would it be?
Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” is too easy but I can’t resist. Katy Perry’s “Roar” would be a perfect theme song for Jeanie, a character in my book The Undying. I’d love for Interpol to have a shot. Or Radiohead. MS MR could be cool. I have a feeling Silversun Pickups would be great, too.