Mary A. Turzillo
The Legend of the Emperor's New Space Suit (A Tale of Consensus Reality), poetry, Issue 17, December 1, 2011
When did you start writing? At age seven, shortly after I realized that the people who made up stories were in fact just grown-up versions of me.
When and what and where did you first get published? High school newspaper--I had a gossip column.
What themes do you like to write about? The great unknown of scientific exploration, the possibilities of human potential, the variety of human individuality--also cats, space, sex, and Mars. That's a partial list --
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author?
This is but a sample:
The Left Hand of Darkness, Madame Bovary, King Lear, The Crying of Lot 49, "Spacetime for Springers," "Blood Child," anything by James Lee Burke, Robert Graves' The Greek Myths, Pale Fire, Frank Polite's Hyde--which reminds me that my taste in poetry ranges from Yeats (of course), to Wendy Cope, and Mari Ness and Cat Valente. I like what I read in NewMyths.com, a lot. Which is why I am very happy about this acceptance.
Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I like fiction that startles with its honesty and authenticity. I also like craft: work that astonishes me with the writer's skill. I have a taste for over-the-top stuff, and I like to be surprised. I order weird things in restaurants. The first time I ever ordered calamari I had no idea what it was, looked down into the plate the waiter had brought and said "Ick. Squiggly things." And then I ate them. They were delicious. I once insisted in a small Parisian restaurant that I wanted the Poire William and it turned out to be a cigar. (It usually isn't.)
I like language. I don't like pretension, but I do like weird and rich and delicious. I compare opening a book or zine to opening a menu. I like new tastes on my tongue and in my mind.
That's what I live for.
My Nebula-winning story, "Mars Is No Place for Children," and my novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl, (Analog, July - November 2004) have been selected as recreational reading on the International Space Station. My poetry and fiction appears in Asimov's, Astropoetica, Interzone, Stone Telling, Star*Line, F&SF, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and anthologies and magazines in the US, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic. My Nebula finalist, "Pride," appears in Tails of Wonder and Mystery. My story "Eat or Be Eaten" was on the final 1997 British SF Association ballot. I have work coming out in Asimov's, Paper Crow, and Stone Telling, plus an authorized Philip José Farmer sequel story "The Beast Erect," in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 2, Meteor Press, 2011.