Snapshots: Paul Di Filippo interviewed

What are you working on now?

Lately, at least half of each month is taken up by my book-reviewing, mainly for The Barnes & Noble Review, my favorite venue.  Consequently my fiction output has fallen off a bit.  I wanted to start a novel in 2011, and it never happened.  I’m determined that 2012 will not be a similar case.  So I’ve been filling in the time with my usual passion for short stories.   Next up:  “Adventures in Cognitive Homogamy:  A Love Story.”  The protagonist is a nomad of the science parks in the near future.

What have you recently finished?

I just completed a “steampunk fairytale” for an upcoming anthology helmed by Stephen Antczak, “The Kings of Mount Golden.”  Steampunk remains a lot of fun for me, but the challenge is to avoid the rapidly fossilizing set of cliches associated with that genre’s popularity.

What’s recently or soon out?

I’m most excited about a book of criticism co-authored with Damien Broderick, Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010.  The chance to pause and take a look backward at the genre helped refresh my sense of the marvels the field had recently achieved, and to inspire future goals of my own.  Luis Ortiz at Non-Stop Press also makes such beautiful books!

Describe your typical writing day.

It’s a monastically rigid ritual, barring random occurences like dentist visits, pals in town, etc.  Up at 7 AM or thereabouts.  Typical human morning duties till 9, including reading two hardcopy newspapers.  Online busywork (answering emails, blogging, reading the BBC feed) till noon.  Writing till 4 PM, then a 2-hour walk around town on errands, to unkink and muse.

What would you draw attention to from your back-list?

I’d love folks to look at my novel A Mouthful of Tongues.  It’s elegant and filthy both, in the manner of Samuel Delany’s work.

Which other authors or books do you think deserve a plug?

Everyone should pick up Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  It’s a sophisticated yet utterly newbie-friendly, hip and genuinely speculative upbeat dystopian adventure.  How often does one of those come along?

If you were to offer one snippet of writing advice what would it be?

Know thyself.

So… the easy one: what’s the future of publishing? How will writers be making a living and publishing in five or ten years? What will readers be reading?

The joys of reading will persist as long as the unaltered human genome persists.  But whether the text-delivery vehicles of the future will afford many of the older, non-narrative pleasures remains in doubt.  Personally, I just can’t get cozy with e-readers, and find them utterly empty of potential nostalgia cues, in the way any hardcopy book is.  As for earning a living, I remain unjustifiably optimistic.  Dreamers have always had to scrabble for coins, but somehow audiences occasionally take pity on us and toss a few our way.


Paul Di Filippo sold his first story in 1977.  Since then, he’s somehow accumulated a dozen or so volumes of same, along with a handful of novels, for a total of nearly thirty books.  He lives in Lovecraft-haunted Providence, Rhode Island, with his mate of 36 years, Deborah Newton, a calico cat dubbed Penny Century, and a choco-hued cocker spaniel called – what else? – Brownie.

Paul wrote the chapter ‘Beyond the Human Baseline: special powers’ in Strange Divisions and Alien Territories: the sub-genres of science fiction (edited by Keith Brooke, published by Palgrave Macmillan, February 2012).

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About Keith Brooke and infinity plus

Keith Brooke is a writer of crime fiction, science fiction, fantasy and other strange stuff, and editor and reviewer of same. He is also the publisher at infinity plus, an independent imprint publishing books by leading genre fiction authors. View all posts by Keith Brooke and infinity plus

5 responses to “Snapshots: Paul Di Filippo interviewed

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