Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories
Today's interview is with Luc Reid, author, web designer and the mastermind behind the Codex Blog Tour (not to mention Codex itself). We'll be discussing his extremely affordable e-book Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.
Wait, 172 stories? Do they all fit in the same book? How long are these stories, exactly?
They do all fit in the same book, but the book is 1,268 pages long.
OK, actually that's only if I set all of the text to 72 point text size. (I tried it, because I was curious.) In reality, in a normal font, they all fit in a normal-sized book because the stories are very short. The longest one or two are a little above 1,000 words (about 4 pages) but the shortest is only 18 words long -- and has by far the longest title in the book.
Now you've got me wondering how short a story I can write if I really exert myself. Thinking about it, 18 words feels downright decadent. I wonder if I can come up with a meaningful piece in 2?
My shortest title is "Or," though I bet I could go one better and write a story called "I."
What connects these stories, aside from your own neurons? If you had to sum up the book in a single word or phrase, what would it be?
One word? "Relationships." If I got to use four words, they might be "relationships in weird situations." I didn't realize this until I had already written most of these stories, but what I most enjoy doing with them is experimenting with what it means to be a human being, to love or be angry or have an itch you can't get to--and to do that in some circumstance that, however ridiculous, helps me understand what it's like to be alive in a new way. For instance, two people who aren't romantically involved get a note from a version of themselves in another universe who are in love; or a couple with some underlying friction deals with the fact that they keep inexplicably running out of light bulbs, and the question comes up whether one's mother is a witch or not; or Cinderella tries to figure out who she is after getting divorced; or a wife and husband get in a fight over whether the original version of the husband still exists after he used a teleporter.
Relationships aren't in every single one of these stories, but it's close. I began trying to think of exceptions and realized "No, 'As You Know, Professor' has the one professor getting on the other's nerves, and 'A Is For Authority' has SH trying to be part of the alphabet and her complicated feelings about her parents ..." and so on. Apparently I can't write a story about the earth imploding or the letter A or checking into a hotel room without probing somebody's feelings about somebody else. For my purposes, that's probably a good thing.
Out of the 172, do you have a favorite?
Yes, and it changes every day! At the moment I think it's "Up Late With All the Power In the Universe." The monkey with the drum pretty much sums up what life is about as far as I'm concerned. But I also kind of like "Hunting for Ernest Hemingway in Kudu Heaven," and ... well, this answer is kind of a moving target.
And the Random Question of the Day: If you had to choose between your writing and your cat, which would you pick, and why?
Fortunately, I have an easy out: our landlord won't let us have a cat, so I pick writing. If we had a cat, then speaking honestly I would still choose the writing, but I would be very sad about it, and I would never hear the end of it from my son, who has been campaigning for a cat for years through a string of ailurophobic landlords. Then I would write a story about the missing cat, and in the story I would give it a wonderful and adventurous time so that I wouldn't feel so bad.
Thank you, Luc. For those who'd like to know more about what Luc's been up to, check out his live journal or his psychology of habits blog.
Up tomorrow: Aliette de Bodard presents her novel Harbinger of the Storm.