Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Nice Makes Write: Interviewed by Robert Runté

Here it is! Robert Runté's interview of me in today's issue of Strange Horizons. The photo was taken by Patrik in La Vale de Jakmel, Ayiti (Haiti) in 2006. That's mayi boukonen I'm eating and it is yummy and CHEWY!

Nice Makes Write: An Interview with Casey Wolf

By Robert Runté

Wolf’s stories represent a uniquely Canadian approach to fantasy: where others write about the astronaut hero, she writes about the father who is left behind; where others write about planetary conquest, she writes about multiculturalism and the respect for alien life; where others write about revenge, she writes about reconciliation; where others write stories filled with sound and fury signifying nothing, her stories quietly engage the reader in the real lives of ordinary people—who become extraordinary because they have imagination, perspective, courage—and above all—integrity.

Yet, unlike a lot of CanLit, her stories are never depressing or dry. The speculative element makes her stories both more interesting and, in some strange sense, more real than other Canadian literature exploring the same themes. Consequently, I really wanted to ask Casey about her writing, and how her settings, themes, and characters reflected her Canadian upbringing. She graciously agreed to this interview.

Wolf: Not all of my characters do the right thing. But when they don’t, there are repercussions—not in terms of divine (or authorial) retribution, but in the same terms as life. I don’t see this as being about niceness, or characters putting others ahead of themselves. It’s more about integrity, something some of my characters summon up with ease where others struggle with it. When we live without integrity, we suffer the consequences: greater isolation, with all the lack of resource—emotional and psychological, at least—that that implies; lower self-regard (on whatever level we are honest with ourselves); an extinguishment of a sense of belonging and all-for-oneness that gets human communities through long periods of difficulty and want. In other words, supposedly selfish behaviour actually drags the individual down. We don’t like ourselves as much, and no one else holds us in such high regard, either. And we don’t heal from our wounds, but carry them around sequestered behind our defenses.

To read the whole article go to Nice Makes Write.

Dr. Robert Runté is an associate professor at the University of Lethbridge and co-edited (with Yves Meynard) the Tesseracts5 SF anthology. He has won two Auroras as an SF critic and was Fan Guest at the 52nd WorldCon. He is a regular reviewer for NeoOpsis Magazine.

Strange Horizons (www.strangehorizons.com) is a weekly web-based magazine of and about speculative fiction. The term "speculative fiction" refers to what is more commonly known as "sci-fi," but which properly embraces science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, slipstream, and a host of sub-genres. The magazine was founded in September 2000, and as we said then:

[Speculative fiction is] important to the world. These stories make us think. They critique society. They offer alternatives. They give us a vision of the future—and warn us of the potential dangers therein. They help us understand our past. They are full of beauty, and terror, and delight.

Even as the print publishing market for speculative fiction has contracted, the genre has expanded. A new generation of writers and artists has emerged: multicultural, non-traditional, willing to step past clichés. Strange Horizons hopes to give these rising stars another place to shine.

Strange Horizons has an all-volunteer staff, which enables us to pay our fiction and poetry writers professional rates. We are committed to expanding the readership, professional status, and literary appreciation of speculative fiction in all media, for all people.

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