Unexpected Questions with Matthew Kressel

Matthew Kressel is a multiple Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award, and Eugie Foster Awardfinalist. His first novel, King of Shards, was hailed by NPR Books as, “Majestic, resonant,reality-twisting madness”. His many works of short fiction have or will soon appear in Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, as well as multiple Year’s Best anthologies, and has been translated into nine languages. He co-hosts the Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series with Ellen Datlow in Manhattan. And he is the creator of the Moksha submissions system, used by many of the largest publishers of SFF. He lives in Ridgewood, New York, with his wife and far too many houseplants.

If you were transported into one of your books as a character, what kind of character would you be and what kind of adventures would you have?

I would absolutely love to be Jessian Darger from my Space Trucker Jess novels(forthcoming). She’s a kick-ass foul-mouthed, take-no-shit young woman a thousand years in our future who flies around in her giant cargo-hauling spaceship having adventures with missing planets, alien gods, and an insane AI-run galactic government. Sure, derring-do is funand all, but I'd love to, as Jess says, “Fly the long-hauls.” I’d ship carg to and from the Outer Deep, the far-out planets weeks away in the fastest ships, exploring the edge of human-occupied space. What is the galactic term for a “walk about”?  Yeah, I’d do that.

If you could time travel to any point in history, which era would you choose, and why?

As a lover of plants and gardens, I’d love to see the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. But since it’s not clear if the gardens were actually a real place, nor when they might have existed, it’s possibly I’d be searching for a long time. I’m okay with that. Wandering through time, looking for the mythical gardens sounds like an absolutely wonderful thing to do. (Are you sensing at heme here yet?)

If aliens were to visit Earth, what do you think their first impression of humans would be?

“So what you’re saying is these humans actually eat that?”

What off-beat location would you like to see host a convention, and why?

I’d love to attend a convention at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. The place is a giant Hogwarts-like hotel at the top of a forested mountain, right beside a placid lake. (The TV series Upload is set there, if you’ve seen it). The views are spectacular, the hotel is totally haunted, and the ambiance is the closest I’ve come to feeling real magic outside of fiction. A convention there would be simply amazing.

If you had to choose between having the ability to speak with animals or plants, which would you choose and why?

Plants, of course! Everyone thinks plants are boring. After all, they’re just sitting there all day, right? But with so much time to think, plants would be the greatest of all philosophers. Just imagine the wisdom you could glean from speaking to an ancient oak, or what you could learn from a fern, whose kind have lived on this planet for 360 million years.

You can find more of Kressel’s work at his website, https://matthewkressel.net . Recently he’s started the newsletter Outer Deep , where he offers advice on writing, editing, submitting, and publishing science fiction and fantasy. He’s also on BlueSky , FaceBook , Mastodon , and Instagram , among others .

He can’t announce it yet, but he has lots of things coming out in  2024!

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