Friday, July 8, 2016

Interview w/ Brandon Crilly, author of Science is for Real

Where did the idea for your chapbook come from?
   I went to see Pacific Rim with some friends of mine, one of whom is an engineer. Afterward we talked about how terrible some of the science was in the movie – and then how Hollywood sci fi is usually pretty heavy on the fiction, but light on the science. Then I started playing, and came up with some funny microfiction pieces showing how certain big-budget sci fi films should’ve turned out. There were a lot of ideas, but four made it into the chapbook: The Core, Godzilla, Armageddon, and The Empire Strikes Back.

How did you start writing?
   When I was a kid I mimicked some of my favorite SFF stories – Star Wars and Harry Potter, for instance. I got some great encouragement in school, and my university had an awesome Creative Writing program that (somehow) I was able to get into. A few truly amazing writers – Carolyn Smart, who runs the program, and one of our writers-in-residence, Stuart Ross – showed me what it means to do this professionally, and I just kept going from there.

What does your writing process look like?
   Science is for Real involved a lot of brainstorming, research/consultation with my engineer friend, and multiple drafts to get the phrasing just right. For my short fiction, I’ll make some notes and then go through a few writing drafts; there’s a lot more discovery writing there. On the novel side, I spend a while making notes on characters, world, boil down my major plot points and a skeleton of an outline, and then discovery write to fill in the other details.

Did you always want to write?
   Pretty much. I can remember really getting hooked on stories when I watched the original Star Wars trilogy as a kid (yep, I’m that kind of nerd). I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a professional writer until later, though.

Which story in Science is for Real is your favorite and why?
   Hmm … tough call. If I absolutely had to pick, probably the story centered on Godzilla, titled “Thump … Roar … Thump.” I think it’s the best written of the four (though people are free to disagree).

What authors do you enjoy reading? Why?
   Joe Abercrombie, Pat Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Marie Bilodeau, Brandon Sanderson, Jonathan Maberry, Jack McDevitt, Mary Robinette Kowal … okay, I’ll stop there. It’s brilliant character work and worldbuilding that hooks me, and every author I’ve listed is awesome in that regard.

What are you reading right now?
   I just finished Persona by Genevieve Valentine, which is a great near-future political thriller with an environmentalism slant. Definitely worth checking out. I’ll be starting Firefight by Brandon Sanderson next.

Dog or Cats?
   Cats to own, dogs to play with. I’ll gladly spend time with someone else’s dog, but I don’t want to live with one or train one. I’ll take a cat – a pet that loves you to death and then disappears for a while.

What’s next for you?
   "I'm currently shopping around a fantasy novel called Convoy, and hoping to find an agent, while I write the first draft of a space opera novel. On the short fiction side, I have a sci-fi/horror story titled "Waiting Room" that will be released July 20 in Creepy Campfire Quarterly #3. Later this year I have four more stories slated to be published in Third Flatiron Anthologies, The Breakroom Stories, The 2017 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, and Sunvault."

Visit the author's webpage

An Ottawa teacher by day, Brandon Crilly has been published in On Spec, Solarpunk Press, Nonlocal Science Fiction and other markets. He was a Semi-Finalist in the 4th quarter of Writers of the Future 32. Science is for Real and other chapbooks are available at You can also follow Brandon on Twitter: @B_Crilly.

 Summary of Science is for Real: What would happen if big sci-fi blockbusters didn’t ignore the laws of physics? Four Hollywood films get an overhaul in Science is for Real.

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