So there I was, in yet one more brawl at Muldoon’s Bar-n-Grill. And while the joker swingin’ the bike chain was trying to indenture my skull, Joey was still over by the bar, chattin’ it up with some pickled geezer, yammering on and on about quantum mechanics.
Ralph Sevush, author of “Emmett, Joey and the Beelz” in Pulp Heroes 3, submits to gentle questioning on his life and influences.
Writing is a notoriously solitary business. What keeps you at it? The fame that constantly eludes you? Getting a lie in mornings? The rubber?
I didn’t know I had a choice.
What was it that inspired “Emmett, Joey and the Beelz”?
The Frayn play Copenhagen, the Chabon book Kavalier & Clay, my college infatuation with Nietzsche, my lifelong contempt for religion, and a long sleepless night after eating some bad clams.
There seems to have been a shift in appreciation of Pulp Fiction. There is the so called New Pulp, but did Old Pulp ever really go away?
The paper those stories were printed on may have been cheap and disposable, but the words were not. They persevere.
What sort of fiction do you prefer to read? Which are your favourite TV shows and movies?
I prefer to read good fiction – or, at least, that which is most suitable to read while commuting or defecating. This generally leads me to SF, fantasy and hard-boiled type stuff (sometimes with pictures and sometimes not) – Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Richard Westlake, Jim Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Edgar Allen Poe, and Harlan Ellison come readily to mind. But then I lie down and it passes.
As for TV, if I like the show, it usually gets cancelled fairly quickly (Firefly, Dollhouse, Dead Like Me, Deadwood). Shows that survived my affection include Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, Band Of Brothers and Rome, and BBC stuff like Torchwood, Neverwhere and Hitchhiker’s Guide. Shows that preceded me (so my subsequent appreciation couldn’t damage them) include Twilight Zone, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Burnett, Outer Limits and Star Trek [TOS, TNG and DS5]. Shows that are still running despite my ongoing viewership include Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Sherlock and Top Chef.
Movies? I could go on all day about that. My current top five: Bladerunner, The Crow, The Good, Bad & The Ugly, Casablanca, The Producers and Python’s Holy Grail (sorry, I just couldn’t stop at five … so I’ll throw Rocky Horror in there, too, just for the hell of it).
What can you tell us about future projects?
If I told you, I’d have to kill you. What I can say is that I’m planning to collect this story along with a bunch of others I’ve done (some published, some unpublished) into a novel-length collection with the working title of Spira Mirablis: Fantastic Tales from the Marvelous Spiral, featuring two-fisted short stories of men, myths and mayhem! Yowza!
Tell us something about yourself no one knows (don’t worry – no one is ever going to read this).
Well, I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. But the less said about that the better, I suppose.