Official Interview: Steven Radich

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Official Interview: Steven Radich

Post by kandscreeley »

Today's Chat with Sarah features Steven Radich author of Letters from Another Galaxy.

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1. What do you do when you aren't writing?

Breathe, cook, clean my teeth, eat, listen to Nordic Jazz, make things out of wood, grow fruit and veggies, dote on my grandchildren, dote on my wife, go fishing, offend everyone with my outlandish views, meditate, hang out with mates.

2. Who or what most influenced you as an author?

I loved the writing of the US “Beat Generation.” I’ve always been intrigued by writers who break the rules of grammar and construction and manage to get away with it. If I recall correctly, Jack Kerouac never used full-stops, and William Burroughs actually tried cutting and pasting as a technique. More recently I was astonished by Annie Proulx of “Shipping News” who could write a novel in a sentence. Writing for magazines and newspapers habituated me to write information dense short, sharp bursts.

3. Let's discuss your book Letters from Another Galaxy. Can you give a short synopsis for those that don't know of it?

My proposition is that in the outer reaches of the Milky Way, there exists a unique cluster of adjacent solar systems that are home to several Goldilox Planets, ie, perfect for the expression of life. Like us humans on Earth, the advanced civilisations that have evolved on these Goldilox planets wonder why they seem to be all alone. By seeding their region of the Milky Way with Nano-bot sensors, they have long been searching for signs of other civilisations. One of these nano-bots eventually receives a radio signal that leads them to Earth. Subsequently, a joint expedition of several of the Cluster's advanced toolmakers travel to, explore and colonise EARTH.

4. With several different advanced alien civilizations, there's quite a bit of interesting technology in the book, which the reviewer praises. How did you come up with it all?

Quite honestly, I don’t really know for sure, but I have definitely had my mind stretched by suggestions in Quantum Physics that the behaviour of subatomic particles appear to defy reason and logic. I have imagined that in exploiting some of these remarkable behaviours, my advanced toolmakers have learned to get about the Milky Way in a timely manner, ie: quite quickly.

5. The book is told from several different points of view. How did you keep them all straight?

I struggled with maintaining the integrity of each point of view - tried using colour and distinctive fonts to help me remember who was who, but in the end, I wrote each strand in a different colour until reaching some semblance of completion. I then cut and pasted. The re-read and re-jigging of the ‘cut and paste’ was made possible by the colour of each POV. I would have liked it if it had proven possible to have the novel published with different colours or distinctive fonts, but that wasn’t possible.

6. Which point of view was most fun for you to write and why? Which was most difficult?

I enjoyed writing the Zealot messianic mission to China the most - Madam Bo was my favourite character. Trying to make authentic references to Chinese culture and civilisation was a real challenge. Although I had a Chinese-born reader take a look and a cousin who had lived in China take a look, neither said much to challenge what I had written. The Chinese-born seemed worried that it was too political. I still don’t know how successful I was.

7. Was there a message that you wanted to convey through your work?

Maybe too many: First was to explore the many faces of colonisation in a non-judgemental manner. Second, was to depict aliens in a more believable fashion as compared to the default manner in which they are generally represented. Third, to promote the idea that we will eventually learn how to traverse cosmic distances in a timely manner. Fourth, I wanted to show that science fiction can feature emotionally rich beings - real people, and fifth that it’s OK to be a human being.

8. What projects are you currently working on?

On the literary front, [1] I'm trying to market this book, and [2] I’m looking at ways to capture the energy generated by my marketing efforts to encourage readers to look at my other writing, most immediately, a murder mystery entitled The Water Treatment - a kindle version of which is available on Amazon. [3] I’m also resurrecting an illustrated kid's book called The Dog that Lost its Woof.

9. Is there anything that I didn't ask that you wanted to discuss?

I liked to ask this question too when I was doing interviews for a column I used to write entitled Blokes n Their Boats. Rooted as it is in the now, my novel casts a bemused eye over many of humanity's most Sacred Cows, eg; keeping humans as pets or for eating. I also pass comment on current political situations, eg; the Zealots who have colonised China and the Middle East deploy a novel solution to the Israel-Palestine problem.

I like to end with fun questions.

10. Since this is a sci-fi story, I feel it is only right to ask about your favorite science fiction book and movie.

I think the Stanley Kubric movie 2001, a Space Odyssey made more hairs stand up my neck than any other film. On the literary front, Neverness by David Zindell sure knocked my socks off - in a manner similar to the Kubric film, it blew my mind. Which is why I read science fiction - to be stretched intellectually.

11. What one fictional character would you like to have a meal with?

Gandalf the Grey

12. What's your go-to piece of clothing—something you couldn't live without?

A beanie.
A book is a dream you hold in your hands.
—Neil Gaiman
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Post by Neha Panikar »

I so enjoyed reading this interview. I'm not a person who reads much sci-fi books, but this book has intrigued me. The answers were fun, shows how grounded the author is. Loved his quote -" its OK to be a human being." Definitely someone I'd enjoy inviting home for dinner and having deep intellectual fulfilling conversations with. Thankyou for doing this interview, sharing it with us and congratulations to the author! I wish him the best!!
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Post by Seetha E »

Interesting plot and person. I thought it would be so much fun to read a book with colorful and or distinct fonts, :( that wasn’t possible.

Congratulations and Best wishes to the author.
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Post by petroben »

Thank you for sharing insights into your book "Letters from Another Galaxy" and your writing process. It's fascinating how you drew inspiration from Quantum Physics and tackled multiple points of view in the narrative. Best of luck with your ongoing literary projects, marketing efforts, and the intriguingly titled "The Water Treatment" murder mystery. And it's always interesting to learn about authors' influences and favorite sci-fi works. Gandalf the Grey would indeed make for a memorable dining companion!
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Post by Genevievv »

Very interesting storyline and an incredible plot
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Post by Koi Sakaio »

A very interesting interview to read. I am personally not a sci-fi person but I truly enjoyed the author's fun answers. Congratulations on your projects.
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Post by Monaelghamry »

Nice book i like it
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Post by David_M »

Sounds quite interesting; I will probably check it out
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Post by Hichem Rafai »

"A good and profound dialogue that aids in understanding to overcome obstacles."
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Post by Terry Kimble »

What an exciting interview! Recently, I discovered that I enjoy science fiction. In the past, I thought it was a silly genre that I didn't have time for--too many books, too little time, etc. I am a convert after discovering some sci-fi gems through this book club! Letters From Another Galaxy is going to my bookshelves! I am also interested in checking out the author's murder mystery The Water Treatment! :D Thank you, OBC, for this enjoyable interview! :tiphat:
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