Ira Nayman is a Canadian humour writer who began combining his beloved approach to storytelling with speculative fiction over fifteen years ago. In that time, Elsewhen Press has published eight of his Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse novels; the most recent was The Ugly Truth, the final volume in the Multiverse Refugees trilogy. He has also had two dozen short stories published in various anthologies and other places. Les Pages aux Folles (http://www.lespagesauxfolles.ca), Ira’s website of political and social satire, has been updated on a weekly basis for over twenty years. In addition, Ira is currently working on a series of short stories that all take place at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Stay tuned!
For almost three years, Ira was the editor of Amazing Stories magazine and its offshoot, Amazing Selects. He is currently the editor of an anthology called The Dance, and has other editing projects in the works. Stay tuned! More!
Name the strangest/weirdest place you’ve ever written. What made it so odd?
This isn’t a writing story, but it is writing-related. The strangest place I have ever pitched a book was in a seniors home.
My father, Bernard, is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. We took care of him at home for as long as we could, but he ultimately needed 24 hour supervision, which was hard on the family. When, a few months ago, a bed opened up in a home near us that had a good reputation, we moved him into it. (It was not a dramatic scene: by the time he went into the home he had little understanding of his surroundings and didn’t recognize any of us, so he didn’t resist the move.)
I try to visit my father once a week. Last Christmas, I learned that Karen Dales, the publisher at Dark Dragon Press and a well known horror writer, volunteered at the home where my dad was staying. (This was not surprising; we live in the same neighbourhood.) I had mentioned that I was interested in editing an anthology for her; Karen suggested that I talk to her about it at the home since we were both planning on going there on Christmas Day. At that time, everybody who visited the home had to take a COVID rapid test and wait 15 minutes, so I pitched the anthology to Karen in the waiting room of a seniors home.
As it happens, she liked the idea enough to accept it then and there. The result will be an anthology called The Dance. Submissions will be open for three months starting on May 1. (For more information, go to: https://www.darkdragonpublishing.com/anthosub.html .) If this works out, I may pitch all of my anthologies at seniors homes!
If you could choose any real-life celebrity to make a cameo appearance in one of your books, who would it be and why?
I already have, actually. Ryan Reynolds is mentioned in one of my novels, where he has become the Prime Minister of Canada. Although it’s basically a throw-away line, I could easily imagine that his career ended after Green Lantern and he returned to Canada where he took up politics. While I’d like to believe he would run for the New Democratic Party, he would probably run as a Liberal because, like most politicians, he would actually want to win. His rise in the party would be meteoric because he’s Ryan Reynolds, duh! He probably wouldn’t get much done while in office, but it would be fun to watch!
If you were to write a love story between a human and an alien, what challenges would they face?
I primarily write stories set in the multiverse. I can imagine a romance between a human and an alien who live on the same planet in different universes. Because travel between universes is tightly controlled by the Transdimensional Authority, the paperwork to get visas to meet the in-laws would take months to fill out! On the other hand, it would give everybody involved plenty of time to learn the other race’s language (a good idea given that multi-universal translation is still at the Google Translate stage).
Long-distance relationships are always difficult, but they can be especially hard when there is no distance at all.
Which trope of science fiction (phasers, transporters, time machines, much more) would you like to see put into our own reality? And how would you use it in a mundane way?
I would use a transporter to shower with. (I was going to say that it would be good for human waste disposal, but I wouldn’t want to run the risk of getting off a toilet and finding half my ass was missing! Hmm…so that’s what Doctor McCoy was always going on about!)
If you had to choose between fighting 100 duck-sized robots or one robot-sized duck, which would you pick and why?
That’s an easy one: I would choose 100 duck-sized robots. Kicking them in battle could be a little dance. Not only that but fighting the AI that controls them all could be the cyberpunk adventure that I’ve never wanted to have! (Although I am paradox-curious.)
Besides, I encountered a robot-sized duck, and that thing…scared me. Please don’t make me go up against that. I’m begging you – don’t make me do it!
CURRENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: I have sold a couple of short stories recently that will come out in anthologies later this year which I am really excited about. “Girls Rule the Cyberpunk World!” will be appearing in Brave New Girls 7; “Girls Rule the Steampunk World!” appeared in last year’s Brave New Girls 6. When I talk to people at cons, I am always amazed at how few of them have heard of this anthology series. The hero of each story must be a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, and she must use one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) areas of research to solve her problem. The series is meant to inspire girls and young women to go into STEM research; to help in the process, revenue from sales of the series is donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund. They’re great books for girls, and pretty darn good reads for boys and adults, too. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the series. (bravenewgirls.weebly.com)
The other was a short story called “ePik Flayl Creates the Wor(l)d…Again.” This was a sweet sale because I thought this story would never find a home. Consider the elevator pitch: a history of human communications media told as a series of trickster tales. Weird shit, right? (Weird shit, I have come to accept, is kind of my brand.) Well, Karen, the editor of the anthology Dreaming the God, thought it was hilarious and bought it. This proved to me that there is a potential market for any story, you may just have to wait to find it.
I am on social media, but I haven’t been all that active there this year; Twitter has gone to hell, Facebook is good for maintaining relationships, but hasn’t particularly helped my career and I don’t have the time to learn how to make LinkedIn work for me. But who knows, if you find me on any of those platforms and say hi, maybe it will motivate me to return. (Except for Twitter. It’s a lost cause.) Since I was forced to move my website to WordPress, I have been writing an on-again, off-again blog. If you promise not to flame me, I’ll promise to try and write more regularly. (https://lespagesauxfolles.ca/blog/)