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What is the favorite book you remember as a child?
When I was about twelve, I became ensconced in Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl. In particular, my childhood self was fascinated by the woman who fed the murder weapon she used to kill her husband, to the detectives who came to investigate the crime. I think that story may have ruined me, permanently, because since then I’ve been obsessed with the way gore, horror and deception intersect.
Tell us about your current book in 10 words.
Think about the weirdest, most horrific, heart-warming sci-fi possible. That.
What are you reading right now?
Echopraxia by Peter Watts. Really, really weird cyberpunk space sci-fi. Complete with vampires allergic to right-angles, and hard-sci-fi zombies. Very strange. Very interesting. I love the way Watts combines paranormal tropes with hard, mathematical Asimov-like science fiction. It makes me laugh, and a little aroused.
What books do you have on hold at the library?
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Bradbury is a favorite, of course – Something Wicked This Way Comes is the stuff of nightmares. Margaret Atwood was a big influence for the writing style in my last novel, Hedon. I love-love-love The Handmaid’s Tale. And Terry Pratchett, although not my very favorite, holds a soft spot for me after I read Mort years ago.
E-Reader or print? and why?
Actually, neither. These days, I only listen to audio books. The reason is that when I read books, I do so in my own voice. And I’m a little burned out hearing my own voice, since I write in it everyday. Having somebody else read to me is deliciously luxurious. Warm. Amniotic.
One book at a time or multiples?
I only write (and read) one book at a time. I’ve often wondered how other authors can work on ten stories at once, or readers who can soak up a shelf simultaneously. Maybe I’m simple this way, but I follow Neil Gaiman’s advice: you only learn from finishing. So I start, finish, then start again.
Favorite book you've read this year?
I think it would have to be The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I don’t generally read in the adult-children’s-story-fantasy genre, but this book was a pleasant surprise. It has a gorgeous ambience – unbridled gore seen through the eyes of a child protagonist. It’s influenced my writing significantly, and the novel I’m currently writing has a younger protagonist as well, although not quite as young as Connolly’s.
When do you do most of your reading?
Because I listen to audio books, I listen all the time – while showering, driving, or just relaxing on the couch. It’s kind of like breathing – I do it all the time. Living in a world of words is a beautiful existence.
Re-reader or not?
Life’s too short to re-read anything. Yes, I’m told that one only picks up certain nuances on a second reading. But one can never be more surprised on a second reading than one is on a first. And I live for surprises.
Jason Werbeloff’s short stories have been downloaded over 20,000 times. Obsidian Worlds brings together his 11 best-selling sci-fi shorts into a mind-bending philosophical anthology.
In Your Averaged Joe, a man’s headache is large enough to hold the multiverse. Q46F is an obsessive-compulsive android who finds love in a zombie-embroiled apocalypse. The end of the world isn’t all that bad – The Experience Machine will fulfil your every desire (and some you hadn’t considered). A sex bot dares to dream of freedom in Dinner with Flexi. But mind what you eat, because The Photons in the Cheese Are Lost. Don’t fret though: The Cryo Killer guarantees that your death will be painless, or your money back when you’re thawed. Unless, that is, you’re The Man with Two Legs.
Plug into Obsidian Worlds for these and other immersive stories, including the hilarious Time-Traveling Chicken Sexer. Your brain will never be the same again.
“Sorry, this is a bit overwhelming. Let me introduce myself.” Then all three men spoke in unison, extending their hands, “I’m Thursday.” They each chewed a piece of gum, their masticating movements simultaneous.
Joe eyed the identical hands. Long, frosty fingers. Whitest skin. He shook hands with each. Their grips were firm. All three.
Thursday continued, “This is the Chamber.” He waved his arm around the room proudly. Joe considered the space. The rows of beds seemed to stretch forever. He couldn’t see the end of the room. And no pillars. Nothing to support the pink ceiling that extended in all directions. Joe scrunched his feet at the enormity of the Chamber, and the floor squeezed between his toes. But the floor wasn’t smooth – it was … hairy? He glanced down, and yup, fine dark hairs covered its surface. It was like standing on a forearm. Goose bumps erupted along his arms, down his legs, Joe shifted his weight to his heels, trying to avoid the hairs from scratching between his toes. And as the goose bumps spread across his back, down his chest, the ground beneath his feet changed. Between the silky black hairs, the fleshy floor lumped in places. Lumps the size of fists. Bumps, goose bumps. On the ground. He shivered.
Trying not to think about it, and resisting the urge to jump, to get his feet anywhere but on the fleshy floor, he stared at the beds. Each held a single occupant, each with brown hair, each wearing the same pale blue nightgown he was wearing. Joe looked to the bed beside his, and his heart stopped.
The man in the bed was him.
Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and philosopher. He loves chocolate and his Labrador, Sunny. He's interested in the nature of social groups, personal identity, freedom, and the nature of the mind. His passion is translating philosophical debate around these topics into works of science fiction, while gorging himself on chocolate.
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