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 Wesley Chu, a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer for his 2013 debut novel, The Lives of Tao. He is also the author of Time Salvager and its upcoming sequel, Time Siege—publishing July 2016 from Tor Books. Find out more about Time Siege below—including a look at Richard Anderson’s cover art—and get a peek inside the bizarre mind of Wes Chu!
From the catalog copy for Time Siege:
Having been haunted by the past and enslaved by the present, James Griffin-Mars is taking control of the future. Earth is a toxic, sparsely inhabited wasteland–the perfect hiding place for a fugitive exchronman to hide from the authorities.
James has allies, scientists he rescued from previous centuries: Elise Kim, who believes she can renew Earth, given time; Grace Priestly, the venerated inventor of time travel herself; Levin, James’s mentor and former pursuer, now disgraced; and the Elfreth, a population of downtrodden humans who want desperately to believe that James and his friends will heal their ailing home world.
James also has enemies. They include the full military might of benighted solar system ruled by corporate greed and a desperate fear of what James will do next. At the forefront of their efforts to stop him is Kuo, the ruthless security head, who wants James’s head on a pike and will stop at nothing to obtain it.
Please relate one fact about yourself that has never appeared anywhere else in print or on the Internet.
My grandparents owned a convenience store in Taiwan back in the 70s. The store was the front of our house and we lived in the back. When I was 4, I used to be obsessed with crushed pepper. Every afternoon, I napped with my grandfather. I used to steal bags of ramen, sneak it to the bedroom, and suck on the packets of pepper. I discarded the rest of the ramen in a clothing bin. That all came to an end when my grandmother found 30 packs of opened ramen while cleaning one day.
I got punished big time old-world style where you have to kneel in the corner for ten hours. I’m pretty sure it was more like five whole minutes but back when you’re 4…
If you could choose your own personal theme music/song to play every time you enter a room, what would you pick?
My theme song is Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best Around“. And yes, it has to include the video of that final tournament in The Karate Kid. Because really, isn’t life just one big martial arts tournament where you get beat up for a few rounds, only one guy wins in the end, and then everyone get a participation trophy?
If you regenerated as a new Doctor, what would your signature outfit/accessory be?
Ok, you ever see Desperado back when Antonio Banderas didn’t look like the older version of Mr. Bean? He also had a badass mariachi band. Well, if I were the newly regenerated Doctor, I’d accessorize like that dude wearing the snakeskin steel toe shoes with my shirt unbuttoned down to my naval, and I’d always carry a guitar case that doubled as a rocket launcher.
Every time I blast a Dalek, I’d say, “No, YOU are better at dying. To my sick beats.”
What would your Patronus/familiar be?
Okay. I don’t know how this got into my head but maybe for the past year, I’ve been having reoccurring dreams about an Airedale Terrier wearing a top hat and a monocle. He’d’ have the show dog Airedale super fluffy legs like he’s wearing 1980s leg warmers, and then he’d sit all proper and drink tea.
He’d look at me disapprovingly and shake his head every few minutes like my wife does when I say something dumb. After ten years, she now has very strong eye rolling muscles.
If you could open a new shop in Diagon Alley, what would you sell?
I would open an Asshole Conversion Rehabilitation Center and take all the credits for Draco Malfoy’s turnaround from Joffrey-level asshole-ness to kid Darth Vader tolerance. I know, the kid almost went Jar-Jar but we saved him at the very last minute. You know, once you go full Binks, you have no other choice but to put them down.
Having finally established communication with a distant alien species, what’s the first thing that we should tell them about Earth/humans?
We taste terrible and make awful slaves. We’re breathtakingly incompetent and squishy, and we are not built for hard labor. Not only that, we basically ruin everything we touch. We smell too.
However, if you insist, I will gladly volunteer myself to help manage my fellow humans, oh glorious alien overlords.
If you could find one previously undiscovered book by a non-living author, who would it be?
The 1761 Poor Richard’s Interpretation of the Kama Sutra, by Richard Saunders.