The following is an interview with T.K. Boomer, who appears in the Brad OH Inc. and Hal J. Friesen edited Anthology ‘Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries by Edmonton Writers’, which you can now purchase here in either Kindle ($2.99) or Paperback ($12.50) copies. All proceeds are to be donated to the Edmonton Public Library System.
This interview was conducted by Hal J. Friesen in anticipation of the anthology’s release:
T.K. Boomer lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with his wife. In 2012 he began the awkward and painful transition between being a mainstream fiction writer and becoming a science fiction geek. Remnants of his literary past can been read in his novel, “ A Walk in the Thai Sun” written under the name G.J.C. McKitrick. The future will be revealed in the publication of “Planet Song”, first book in the Fahr Trilogy, probably in late 2015. Other aspects of the transition, like video game obsession and playing “Mr. Dressup” at SF conventions are proving to be more difficult.
1. What made you transition from mainstream into science fiction?
T.K.: When I originally wrote and tried to place “A Walk in the Thai Sun” I ran into the problem of having written a book that was hard to market. It didn’t fit easily into any of the established genres and was rejected for that reason. I wasn’t really writing for a mainstream audience but the nature of the book put it in that very broad category. I’m not a good enough writer to compete with the likes of Margaret Atwood or Barbara Kingsolver so that was the other reason the book was initially rejected. I resolved, at the time, to not write another book unless it would fit easily within an accepted genre. When I got the original idea for “Planet Song” it was science fiction. I did the research and decided that I could write in that genre. However it’s quite different from writing mainstream fiction and there was a lot to learn.
2. In your story you hint that the Internet has been replaced by something else in the far future. What are your thoughts on what that might be, and what form it might take?
T.K.: My biggest fear is that we won’t move forward but rather retreat. I think the Internet is far too dependant on very complicated and vulnerable infrastructures. One bad solar storm could make a huge mess of it so my guess will be some kind of less vulnerable infrastructure. I think we have more interconnectivity now than we will have in the future. I also think that governments are going to move towards more control and less freedom.
3. Do you read paper or e-books, and which do you prefer? What about Siberius?
T.K.: I read both but I think that within ten years most reading will be on e-readers. It’s simply a matter of economics and convenience. However if I’m right about the internet it could cause a resurgence in paper books down the road. As for Siberius, he’s a throw back. Notice how he was looking for physical books in the library?
4. Do you think libraries will become sentient in the future, and is that a good or bad thing?
T.K.: They will but I don’t think sentient in the human sense of the word. The trick will be not to build in a survival instinct into our machines. We should not be trying to create a human-like mind in our machines for that reason. If we do then we’re asking to be out completed by them.
5. Who has inspired you as a writer?
T.K.: Inspiration is a funny thing. I guess I gravitate to writers who use language in unique ways. It’s part of the reason that I still read a lot of mainstream fiction, because I’m more interested in writing technique than I am in tropes. Margaret Atwood is a favourite as is Anne Tyler and Iain M Banks and William Gibson.
Check out T.K. Boomer’s story “Five Hundred Years” in ‘Between the Shelves’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.
Finally, be sure to visit us for a ‘Between the Shelves’ signing on May 30th at William S. Lutsky YMCA (1975-111 St NW) from 10am-2pm!
-Brad OH Inc.