Q&A with Author Neil James Hudson

Winter 2013
  1. Can you tell us a little what your story, "Eurydice in Capricorn," is about?

    The story concerns the first colonists on Mars, waiting for the delayed arrival of the much larger second ship, looking for something to give their lives some sort of meaning in the meantime. Martian astrology is the latest craze.

  2. How did you come up with the idea? Why did you pick Capricorn as the sign for your title?

    It occurred to me a while back that one of the first things people would do on Mars would be to reinvent astrology, but I couldn't think of anything to do with the idea until I saw the theme for this anthology and wondered how it could be worked into a story - why, in practice, anyone would bother, how a new world without a history would go about adapting the old myths for its own purposes, and how you find meaning in your life when you've left it at home. There's nothing particularly important about Capricorn, by the way - I just started at Aries and that's where the significant point of the story is.

    Anyway, sooner or later there will be people on Mars, and some bright spark will reinvent astrology. I want everyone to know I got there first.

  3. What is your inspiration for writing as a whole?

    Probably just that I had such a boring childhood. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to write. When I was a child I spent the day being bullied at school, and then I'd be sent to bed at 6 o'clock. I used to lie awake for three or four hours a night, making things up, daft stories about my teddy bears, who were all superheroes and could beat up the school bully. I'd try to write them down when I could, and knew all along that writing was what I really wanted to do.

  4. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

    I was born in a small town near Reading in the UK, in one of the most determinedly normal places on earth. I went to university in Norwich, still my spiritual home, although I dropped out of my maths degree for personal reasons (the main one being that they were about to throw me out for not doing any work). After ten years there, I moved to a small rural backwater to be with my partner. I've always read science fiction, and always wanted to write it. I also write comedy sketches and have dabbled in being a stand-up, although I think my dabbling days are behind me now. My first story sale was in 2007, and I've since published about two dozen.

  5. Where can listeners find more of your work?

    In the Third Flatiron anthology, Origins: Colliding Causalities, for one thing, and an internet search on my full name should bring up plenty more. In the meantime, www.neiljameshudson.net is a drain on my resources which by the time anyone reads this will contain a full bibliography and details on how to buy my self-published collection The End Of The World: A User's Guide. Honest.

  6. Any new work we should keep an eye out for?

    I have a story in a forthcoming anthology of erotic science fiction detective stories from Circlet Press, but this question really reminds me it's time to start submitting again.

  7. (Just for Juli's curiosity): What are you reading now? Jack the Bodiless, by Julian May. I read her Exiles books when I was at school, on the recommendation of a teacher I was trying to suck up to, but much as I enjoyed them, fantasy sagas aren't my thing and I never expected to read any more. But a copy of Intervention turned up in the charity shop that I manage, and I enjoyed it far more than I expected, so here I am.

    And a guiltier pleasure, A Dusk of Demons, by John Christopher. I devoured his children's books when I was a child, but I was too old when this one came out. I probably shouldn't be reading it now, but I noticed it in a second-hand bookshop where I'd gone to see an art exhibition. I still would have ignored it, but it was signed.