Today I am interviewing Rich Larson, author of the new science-fiction short-fiction collection Tomorrow Factory.
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DJ: Hi Carl! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Rich: Hi DJ, I’m not actually Carl. I snuck in using his badge. My name is Rich Larson and I write speculative fiction. I was born in Galmi, Niger, have studied and worked in a variety of places, and now live in Ottawa, Canada. Besides writing, I enjoy playing soccer, watching basketball, learning languages, shooting pool, and dancing kizomba.
DJ: What is Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction about?
Rich: The stories in Tomorrow Factory are about humanity’s interaction with technology and the strange places it might lead us.
DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction?
Rich: Glancing through the table of contents I see stories inspired by:
-LEGO’s Bionicle toys
-an article about muti, the trade in albino body parts for folk medicine
-a walk to the gym in winter under a perfectly blank sky
-vacationing in Thailand
–Dead Space and that one Halo 3 level with all the sphincters
-NBA lottery hype and He Got Game
-the 90s Spider-Man cartoon
–Mario Kart 64
-Penny Arcade’s Automata webcomic
-a vivid dream I had during a hot night in Seattle
-Instagram and my time in Portugal
DJ: What kinds of stories can readers expect in the anthology?
Rich: They’re all science fiction, but they run the gamut. There’s post-apocalypse, space opera, far-future posthumanism, near-future techno-crime, military SF, climate fic, time travel, cyberpunk homage, etc.
DJ: Being an author, what do you believe makes a good short story? How does it differ from writing novel-length stories?
Rich: I think a good short story gets in, does what it needs to do, and gets out. Novels would ideally do the same thing, just with a far more complex situation, but sometimes they end up plodding.
DJ: Was it a difficult process deciding which of your many stories would go into Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction?
Rich: Deciding which stories got in and which stories didn’t was tricky, yes, but ultimately enjoyable. I tried to balance stories that were well-received (represented in multiple Year’s Bests) and ones that I personally loved but never got much attention because they were published in smaller anthologies or lit mags. Even though only “Circuits” was written specifically for the collection, I’m hopeful that a lot of the stories will be new to readers — off the top of my head I’m thinking of “Atrophy,” “Your Own Way Back,” “Ghost Girl,” “Every So Often,” and “Dreaming Drones.”
Of course, I had to make a lot of cuts. I was working from a list of around forty science fiction stories that I thought might be worthy of inclusion. Sometimes I found two stories to be too similar to each other in setting or plot execution, and had to pick one over the other. That gave me more empathy for the fiction editors who reject something with the “we bought one just like it last week” excuse.
I’m very happy with the final table of contents, but I’ve also written a few stories since it was finalized that I think are some of my very best. So, hopefully there’s another collection in my future a few years down the road.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish this one?
Rich: Hopefully they’re just silent for a bit. You know, absorbing or reflecting or whatever. That would be the highest praise.
DJ: Now that Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction is released, what is next for you?
Rich: I’m struggling to finish the sequel to my debut novel Annex, which came out at the end of July.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/rich-larson
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Tomorrow Factory: Collected Fiction that we haven’t talked about yet?
Rich: I’d like to mention that the collection is dedicated to the late Gardner Dozois, who supported my career from the very start. When he asked for reprint rights to my 2014 story “God Decay” for his Year’s Best Science Fiction: 32nd Annual Collection, and I realized he was the guy from those massive collections I had so often flipped through in bookstores as a kid, it was a watershed moment for my career.
Over the next three years, Gardner took six more of my stories for his Year’s Best anthologies. He invited me to write a fantasy caper for his Book of Swords anthology, putting me in the same table of contents as Garth Nix and George R.R. Martin. He reviewed dozens of my stories in Locus Magazine, constantly championing my work to readers who might have otherwise never taken a second glance. He provided Tomorrow Factory’s cover blurb.
Outside of his role as an editor, Gardner was kind and very generous with his time. He gave me advice on pursuing a career in fiction and on publishing my first collection — when I got an offer from Talos Press, he was one of the first to know. His casual and constant confidence in my abilities gave me confidence in them too. I can’t come close to repaying Gardner for everything he did for me, but I’m really glad I can dedicate Tomorrow Factory to his memory.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Rich: Thanks for having me, DJ.
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*** Tomorrow Factory is published by Talos and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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Twenty-three stories from one of speculative fiction’s up-and-coming stars, Pushcart and Journey Prize-nominated author Rich Larson.
Welcome to the Tomorrow Factory.
On your left, post-human hedonists on a distant space station bring diseases back in fashion, two scavengers find a super-powered parasite under the waves of Sunk Seattle, and a terminally-ill chemist orchestrates an asteroid prison break.
On your right, an alien optometrist spins illusions for irradiated survivors of the apocalypse, a high-tech grifter meets his match in near-future Thailand, and two teens use a blackmarket personality mod to get into the year’s wickedest, wildest party.
This collection of published and original fiction by award-winning writer Rich Larson will bring you from a Bujumbura cyberpunk junkyard to the icy depths of Europa, from the slick streets of future-noir Chicago to a tropical island of sapient robots. You’ll explore a mysterious ghost ship in deep space, meet an android learning to dream, and fend off predatory alien fungi on a combat mission gone wrong.
Twenty-three futures, ranging from grimy cyberpunk to far-flung space opera, are waiting to blow you away.
So step inside the Tomorrow Factory, and mind your head.
About the Author:
Rich Larson was born in Galmi, Niger, has studied in Rhode Island and worked in the south of Spain, and now lives in Ottawa, Canada. Since he began writing in 2011, he’s sold over a hundred stories, the majority of them speculative fiction published in magazines like Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Lightspeed, and Tor.com.
His work appears in numerous Year’s Best anthologies and has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Polish, French and Italian. Annex, his debut novel and first book of The Violet Wars trilogy, comes out in July 2018 from Orbit Books. Tomorrow Factory, his debut collection, follows in October 2018 from Talos Press.
Besides writing, he enjoys travelling, learning languages, playing soccer, watching basketball, shooting pool, and dancing salsa and kizomba.