The ‘Use Only As Directed’ Interviews: Grant Stone

31 07 2014

You may recollect that I introduced yesterday’s interview, in this series drawn from the stories from Use Only As Directed, the anthology that Edwina Harvey and I edited earlier this year, as a story of quite deceptive simplicity, understated in its genre elements. Such a thing can’t really be said of Grant Stone‘s story ‘Always Falling Up’, an unsettlingly kaleidoscopic slice of near-future mil-SF War-on-Terror layercake … and yet it, too, is a story which (in my opinion) get under your skin, and stays there.

Here are Grant’s comments on just what was going through his mind:

grant_stone

What should readers know about you before they sit down to read ‘Always Falling Up’?

Not much. Except perhaps that, although there are some gentle and humorous stories in ‘Use Only As Directed’, this isn’t one of them.

What provoked you (or, if you’d rather, encouraged you) to tell the story you did? What was the germ of the idea that led to it?

I’m a software developer and I often find myself frustrated with the way computers are represented in science fiction. I wanted to start with some ideas that are commonplace now – cloud computing and virtual machines – and extrapolate out to some technology that felt real.

If you were told you were only allowed to keep one sentence from the published story, what sentence would that be, and why?

I don’t know if this qualifies as a single sentence or not, but it’s certainly one of the oddest things I’ve included in a story. If nothing else, it pretty much guarantees there will never be an audio version:

[-]ttro 9934 points 1 week ago
A large government project full of bugs, you say?
<willy_wonka_tell_me_more.gif>
[-]the_ghost_of_rick_springfield 235 points 1 week ago
<picard facepalm.gif>

 ‘Always Falling Up’ is certainly a story that’s likely to shake readers out of their comfort zone: it’s challenging and quite confronting. Did you know, from the outset, that it was going to be so hard-nosed, or is that just the way the words fell out?

I knew from the first scene that this would be a dark story. I wanted the story to feel chaotic and partially unresolved. I liked being able to float around the central idea of the Cains using a wide variety of different perspectives.

What are you currently working on, and what would you like to tell readers of this blog about your current endeavour?

I’ve been working on a novel that may eventually see the light of day, along with a number of other short stories, novellas and a few picture books.  And of course every now and then the red phone rings and I have to suit up as part of the Cerberus writing band with Matthew Sanborn Smith and Dan Rabarts. We’re kind of like the Avengers, but with less running around and far more typing.

UOAD_front_cover_small

I should mention, in connection with Grant’s observation that this isn’t one of UOAD‘s gentle stories, he is certainly capable of showing a warmer and fuzzier side than the prickly tangle of ‘Always Falling Up’, as can be readily seen from the other story of his it’s been my priviledge to edit, ‘Better Phones’, from ASIM 56.

If you’re curious to learn more about Grant’s writing, and to learn a bit more of the Cerberus of which he speaks, his website is at d1sc0r0b0t.blogspot.com.au.

If you’re now feeling motivated to read ‘Always Falling Up’ and the other stories in Use Only As Directed, the links are here: (PBB (publisher, pbk, epub, pdf, mobi); Amazon (mobi))

Tomorrow’s interview: Dave Freer, ‘Never More’.

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