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Kurt Pankau

, flash fiction, Issue 41, December 15, 2017

Kurt Pankau is a software developer in St. Louis, Missouri. Kurt has a weakness for dad-jokes and stories about time-travel. His fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Escape Pod.

Biography Questions


When did you start writing?

College was when I first started writing short stories with an eye towards publication. I subsequently committed some atrocious acts of poetry and then spent years working on a terrible novel. So much awful writing, but it was great practice.

When and what and where did you first get published?

I had an abstract short story in my college literary magazine, circa 1999. My first professionally published piece was a flash story called "Leaving Home" that appeared in Daily Science Fiction in April of 2013.

What themes do you like to write about?

I tend to write about characters dealing with isolation: they're either trying to make a connection or having to sever one. I also like stories about redemption. Give me a character whose actions had far-reaching consequences they didn't anticipate and they'll spend the rest of their life trying to make things right. Those are the heroes I want to root for.

What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work?

Most recently, Natasha Pulley's "The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street". She puts together real and fantastical elements in a way that feels very original. The main character has synesthesia, which is not something you read about very often. She does some excellent work with subtext, which I love. In my own writing, I tend to only tell about 80% of a story and leave breadcrumbs for the reader to intuit the rest. I want a story that forces me to meet it halfway.

Another would be "Saga" by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. It's some of the most imaginative fiction I've ever come across, but it's driven by characters who simply want to protect the ones they love. The world of the story is far more complex than any one reader can keep track of, but when it's boiled down to its elements, it's the easiest thing in the world to follow. That's a tricky balancing act.

Facebook page?
Twitter? @kurtpankau