The Redesign, fiction, Issue 34, March 1, 2016
Birthday? June 7, 1976
When did you start writing? I got serious about writing in 2010.
When and what and where did you first get published? November, 2011. "Houses," in Lightspeed Magazine.
What themes do you like to write about? Diverse. I tend towards dark themes with a bit of humor, but there's not any one thing that I solely write about.
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? I grew up reading the typical sci-fi legends (Asimov, Heinlein, Varley, Silverberg, Niven, Herbert, Vinge, Clarke) and made it through to adulthood without letting them ruin me as a writer. Nowadays I try seek out new and diverse writers who's work is both interesting as well as well crafted. Such as Karen Joy Fowler, China Mieville, Jonathan Lethem, FX Toole, LeGuin, Butler, Italo Calvino, M. John, Ligotti, Michael Cisco. I love finding new and/or niche writers that I'd never heard of and just going "where the hell did this person come from?" As far as a novelist who's work has stayed with me the most, I'd say that's Iain M. Banks. Broken characters with dark pasts and heavy hearts living in a complex, fleshed out universe and set against a twisty plot, love it. Not all of his books are winners. He started just walking through his plots towards the end of his career (though he had many more years of writing left before he was taken from us so soon), but still, his early novels (Wasp Factory, Use of Weapons, Excession, Against a Dark Background) are, for me, paragons. Plus, he opened up my eyes to other fantastic Scottish writers like Ken McLeod and Charlie Stross (I know, not Scottish, but he's been living there a long while).
I am a musician and writer and graduate of Clarion West 2011. My work has appeared in Lightspeed, GigaNotoSaurus, and has been adapted into a radio drama for Wisconsin Public Radio. I currently reside in San Francisco. Visit me at www.markpantoja.com.