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 Victoria Aveyard, an author and screenwriter living in Los Angeles who uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies. Her debut novel, Red Queen, is available February 10th from HarperTeen!
Which Disney earworm was ruining karaoke long before “Let it Go”? Find out after the cut!
What’s your favorite fairy tale, or fairy tale retelling?
I’m a child of the Disney Renaissance, so the new classics are near and dear. I suppose this is a legend more than a fairy tale, but Mulan is easily my favorite. Not only is it a fun, action-packed, beautiful movie, but it’s so important for young girls to have. Not only is sexism an actual theme in the film, addressed by multiple characters including a talking dragon, but Mulan doesn’t start out the cool heroine. She gets there through hard work, bravery, and determination. And it’s such a refreshing change from the damsels who didn’t do much of anything. Mulan literally blew up a Hun general and buried his army in an avalanche. Plus the movie gave us “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” for generations of bad karaoke.
Describe your favorite place to write.
An existing place would be the window nook in the library of my old house. I wrote a lot of Red Queen wrapped in a blanket, cramped up while watching the snow come down. But if I could pick anywhere, it’d be a big office, with lots of space for my usual mess of notes and desk knick knacks, and huge windows overlooking mountains. Preferably Grand Teton. I’m a fool for them.
Do you have a favorite under-read author?
I’ve been working through Maurice Druon’s Accursed Kings series. They come highly recommended from George RR Martin, and for good reason. It’s basically Game of Thrones, but the historical version, and just as twisty and awesome. Opens with a Templar knight being burned alive, cursing the king and the pope to die. Pretty hard to top that.
Battle to the death, which weapon do you choose: A) Phaser, B) Lightsaber, or C) Wand?
Well, normal me would immediately kill myself upon igniting a lightsaber. But if I’m Jedi-skilled, or better yet, Sith-skilled, I’m going Kaiburr crystal lightsaber. If I’m just me, I’ve gotta go with the wand, granted I’m not a Muggle or a Squib.
Name your favorite monster from fiction, film, TV, or any other pop culture source.
Oh wow, this is difficult. There’s the Rancor, Predator, Alien—they’re all gems in their own right. The Smoke Monster too. I think I have to go with the velociraptors from Jurassic Park. Are they considered monsters? They’re just so delightfully vicious, and that scream. T-Rex is a close second. No wait, a tie. She did save the gang in the end, and has the best monster roar in the land.
What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
Contestant on Legends of the Hidden Temple. I was a Red Jaguar, but only because the superior Silver Snakes were sold out.
What literary or film science fiction technology do you wish existed in our world right now?
Teleportation for sure. I spend a lot of time traveling and it gets old really quickly. Plus, finally getting to New Zealand and Hobbiton would be a breeze.
What was your gateway to SF/Fantasy, as a child or young adult?
Jurassic Park and Star Wars shoved me into loving sci-fi and film in general when I was a barely coherent 3 year old. And Lord of the Rings took me to another planet entirely. Before that series I knew I loved writing, but after, I knew that I had to write.
Name your three favorite fictional villains of all time.
#1 is easy. Darth Vader. No one else even comes close to him, but this might be cheating, since he goes hero in the end. #2 is Gollum. Another gray-area antagonist. #3 would have to be Hans Gruber. “Mr. Takagi did not see it that way… so he won’t be joining us for the rest of his life.” Honorable Mention: Voldemort.
Having finally established communication with a distant alien species, what’s the first thing that we should tell them about Earth/humans?
Don’t even think about starting a fight. We have Bruce Willis and Will Smith and they will find some idiotic but awesome way to thwart you.