The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2 interviews Mike Resnick, author of “The Incarceration of Captain Nebula”:
Would you like to briefly introduce yourself? What inspired your writing, when you began, and – if possible – of all of your published work could you tell us which are your favourites (and why)?
I’m Mike Resnick, I’ve written a batch of books and stories and won a batch of Hugos. I sold my first article at 15 (in 1957), my first poem at 16, my first short story at 17, and my first book at 20 (but it didn’t come out until I was 22). None, I should add, were science fiction.
My favourites? Santiago, because it was my greatest seller and paid for our house and a few safaris; Kirinyaga, because it was my most-honoured (67 major and minor awards and nominations to date); and The Outpost, because it was far and away the most fun to write. My favourites of my continuing characters are Lucifer Jones and Harry the Book, both humorous; Lucifer is a parody of every bad pulp story or B-movie I ever saw, and Harry is what Damon Runyon would be writing if he were around today and doing fantasy.
Do you have a favourite genre or sub-genre? What exactly is it that attracts you?
Probably science fiction, which gives me all time and space to tell my stories, and can accommodate anything from humour to tragedy to adventure.
Some say Pulp is a genre, others, a style; which side do you come down on?
It’s a genre which is primarily defined by its style and its subject matter.
What was the inspiration for “The Incarceration of Captain Nebula”?
I’ve occasionally used the device of the Unreliable Narrator. I thought it might be interesting to write a story with multiple narrators, each of whom is unreliable.
Do you have a particular favourite author or authors? What is it about their work which appeals to you?
In science fiction: CL Moore, Robert Sheckley, and Barry Malzberg. In each case, it’s that they excel at certain things: in Moore’s case, emotion and an evocation of the Sense of Wonder; in Sheckley’s, a cerebral form of humour (in the 1960’s, anyway) that only works as science fiction; and in Malzberg’s, an ability to evoke, in his considerable body of recursive science fiction, the milieu in which we work.
Outside writing, what else occupies your time (assuming you have any free time left)?
My passions are the musical theatre, horse racing (I don’t bet, but I wrote a weekly column on it for 15 years); Africa; and collies (we bred and exhibited 23 champions, most of which we named after science fiction titles and characters.
Is there any particular style of music – or musicians — that appeals to you?
Show music. Over a 50-year career, I think I’ve probably written 90% of my output with some cast album/CD playing in the background. My favourites: the team of Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, Stephen Sondheim, William Finn, and Michel Legrand.
What are you currently working on?
Still coming out this year: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, co-edited with Bob Garcia (Baen, October), and The Doctor and the Dinosaurs (Pyr, December). In progress for next year: Cat on a Cold Tin Roof, a mystery, third in the series that began with Dog in the Manger and this June’s The Trojan Colt (Seventh Street, August); I.N.C.I. (title tentative), a team-up with Tina Gower (Stellar Guild books, date not yet set); The Fortress in Orion (Pyr, December), and an-as-yet untitled Stellar Guild team-up with Lezli Robyn. I’ve got a story – a collaboration with Ken Liu – in press at Asimov’s, something like seven other stories in upcoming anthologies and magazines; Harry Kloor and I just completed what we hope is the final draft of a screenplay titled Some Heroes Die, and I’m editing the Stellar Guild line of books and Galaxy’s Edge bi-monthly magazine. In my spare time, I sleep.