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February 17-19, 2023 — Westin Boston Seaport District
January 26, 2015

Mini Interviews with Alex Jablokow, John P. Murphy and Paul Di Filippo

Writers, writers, and more writers! Boskone has plenty of authors who attend the convention each year. Today’s Mini Interviews feature writers versed in novels, novellas, short stories and more!

Alex Jablokow

Alexander Jablokov (pronounced ‘Ya-‘) is the author, most recently, of Brain Thief, recently out in paperback. Previous books are Carve The Sky, A Deeper Sea, Nimbus, River of Dust, and Deepdrive. His stories have appeared in the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Twenty-Eighth Year’s Best Science Fiction (ed. Gardner Dozois); and in Asimov’s, Amazing, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Aboriginal SF. The Breath of Suspension, a collection of his short fiction, was published by Arkham House in 1994 and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Mary, his son, Simon, and his daughter, Faith. Visit Alex’s website.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m working on a novel set in the universe of my novel Deepdrive, set on an extensively terraformed Venus, where the first part of that novel also took place. It’s a fun adventure across the complex backcountry of Venus, with two characters who don’t know whether to trust each other. And it is that, showing how trust can grow despite good reasons for resisting it, that is the both the interesting and challenging part of the work for me.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

There is no need to give up good sentences for good plot and characters. Be more demanding!

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

I’m sure that everyone lists a variation of the same thing: seeing the people I have not seen from last year. I have some time-division multiple access friendships that work on a one-year frequency. By the time both of us die, we will have been in each other’s presence maybe a dozen days total, but that doesn’t mean these friendships aren’t valuable. Since everyone is going to say that, say instead that I am looking forward to the End of Days, which I hear is scheduled for this Boskone.

John P. Murphy

John P. Murphy is an engineer and writer living in New Hampshire. His research interests include robotics and network security. His fiction has focused on mystery in SFF. Visit John’s website or follow him on Twitter @dolohov.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I’m working on a novel-length sequel to my SF mystery novella Claudius Rex, which was an homage to the Nero Wolfe mysteries. I’m excited about bringing these characters to a longer form where they have more space to interact with each other and near-future Boston, and to fully develop as characters in their own right, and I find that I have a lot more to say on the subject of how people might get along with artificial intelligences. But at the same time, that novella was structured as an origin story, which gives a lot of opportunity to naturally worldbuild, and the novella->novel sequence is likely to mean a higher new reader ratio than an ordinary sequel would have. It’s been tough trying to naturally introduce the characters and the setting to new readers without that origin story structure and also without boring the folks who already know them.

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

When I was signing up for college courses freshman year, I was mostly looking at engineering classes, but in the back of my head remembering that humanities requirement. Just flipping through the catalog, I saw that they taught Japanese. At the time, growing up in West Virginia, I knew nothing about the language or the country — I wasn’t even an anime fan like half my class turned out to be. I just thought, “hey, that might be cool” and on the spur of the moment added it to the list. I took that class, then the next, and wound up studying in Japan. I saw parts of the world I never would have otherwise, met fascinating people, and got introduced to an enormous body of film, literature, and food that has enriched my life over the years. It’s taken a long time, and I’m still not sure I’ve fully learned the lesson, but learning to randomly say “yes” to unexpected opportunities that present themselves, trusting that “hey, that might be cool” instinct, has turned out to be a very useful life skill.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

I have a number of friends in the SFF community who I really only get to see once a year at Boskone — some of whom I met there in the first place! I’m very much looking forward to catching up with them, and to meeting new friends to look forward to seeing next year. I think it speaks very highly of Boskone that I can rely on seeing so many interesting people come back for more every year.

Paul Di Filippo

Paul Di Filippo recently published his 200th story and 35th book. He is not yet ready to rest. Visit Paul’s website.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I just finished a story that, given editorial approval, will appear in the upcoming tribute volume to Chip Delany. It’s titled “Devils at Play.” Shaping this piece to resonate with Chip’s work reminded me of how much the field has shaped my life, and what wonders I’ve enjoyed, thanks to writers such as Chip. Trying to reach the same high standards set by his work, I was reinvigorated to hone my own chops!

If you could recommend a book to your teenage-self, what book would you recommend? Why did you pick that book?

My teenage self disdained mimetic fiction, thinking that “reality was for people who can’t handle science fiction.” Of course, I’ve come to realize the insanity of that attitude. So maybe I could have alerted my younger self to something like Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD, which I did not encounter till college. Just think of the adventures it could have inspired while I was still adolesecent-stupid and unfettered!

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

I attended my first Boskone in either 1974 or 1975, so after forty years (not that I could be present every year, alas), the convention feels like a family reunion. At the same time, I continue to be amazed at how vital it remains, not just an exercise in nostalgia. Meeting new folks is as vital to me as reconnecting with old pals. And the level of discourse is among the highest in fandom. Lots of big thinkers, free spirits and warm hearts.