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 Warren Hammond, author of the gritty, futuristic KOP series—KOP Killer, the first in the series, won the 2012 Colorado Book Award for best mystery. Warren’s latest novel, Tides of Maritinia, is available now from HarperVoyager. His first book independent of the KOP series, Tides is a spy novel set in a science fictional world.
Read on to find out why Warren thinks the perils of demolecularization will be well worth it!
Describe your favorite place to write.
I don’t like to work at home because the television is too tempting. Instead, I like to work at coffee shops if it’s early in the day. In the evenings I prefer to write at one of Denver’s many pubs or bars. An appetizer or two with an IPA or three is my definition of a perfect night. I’m also fortunate enough to live just a short walk from Denver’s Botanic Gardens. You can’t find a more beautiful place to spend an afternoon in front of the keyboard.
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
Godzilla. The most recent movie brought me straight back to the days when I’d rush home from school to catch the 4 o’clock movie. The local TV station would line up creature features for the whole week so I could watch Godzilla fight Mothra and Rodan and Mechagodzilla. What I love most about Godzilla is how surly he is. At the end of the movie, you see a little kid waving goodbye with a tear on his cheek. “Thank you for saving our city!” And Godzilla says, “Screw you. Watch me knock over a few more buildings before I swim away.”
The theme song to Tides of Maritinia would be Peter Tosh’s Downpressor Man. I can’t think of another song that so perfectly captures both the hopefulness and hopelessness of oppressed peoples. When I wrote Tides of Maritinia, I was so taken with the thematic synchronicity between that song and my book that I had to work in my own version of the song’s lyrics. Reggae is so unbelievably textured and rich that I find it sad that so few people venture beyond Bob Marley.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
Italian beef. Trust me, if you’ve never been to Chicago, you need to go, and you need to step into the neighborhood hot dog stand, where you must eat this sandwich. When they ask if you want hot peppers or sweet peppers, you say both. When they ask if you want your sandwich dipped, you say yes. Is it wrong to admit I just drooled a little? Runners up: a classic rueben and a properly done Philly cheesesteak.
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
Considering I just took a mind- and butt-numbing 14-hour flight to Beijing, I’d have to pick the Star Trek transporter. No more cramped seats or meals of unidentifiable mush. Factor in the unspeakable closet of horrors they call a bathroom, and I’m ready to be demolecularized!
What is your ideal pet (real or fictional)?
I enjoy dogs quite a bit, but I am and have always been a cat person. Cats are amazingly complicated little creatures. I love how they can be fickle, aloof, and affectionate all at the same time. Dogs will befriend you almost instantly, but a cat’s friendship has to be earned. A visit from a purring cat makes all right with the world.