Hello, and welcome to our latest series of author interviews. The long anticipated anthology "Altered Europa" will be coming out on April 2, 2017 (ORDER HERE), and in preparation for this grand release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.
Today I'm interviewing Sergio Palumbo, who contributed the anthology.
MTI: Starting off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
SERGIO PALUMBO: I was born in Florence, and am an Italian public servant who graduated from Law School working in the public real estate branch. I also like playing boardgames/RPGs games or Wargames, attending Medieval Reenacting shows, building scale models - mainly Sci-Fi or Fantasy - and I really read a lot, both for reasons connected to my job, and also during my free time, in this case especially books, manga and comics.
MTI: What inspired you to start writing fiction?
SP: I’ve always been a fan of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror movies and TV series, or Japanese Anime in general, and the first titles that come to my mind are Star Trek, Gundam, etc. But it was when I started reading works by some great authors, like Van Vogt and Heinlein, that I understood that the Fantastic genre might be rendered at its best not only on TV shows but also on paper in literary terms, and that it was not just battles or space fighting, but it might become much deeper in a way.
MTI: If you had to name one writer who most influenced your writing, who would it be?
SP: For the authors of the past, I would certainly say: Van Vogt, Heinlein, E.Howard, and that one named Tolkien of course…eh,eh. For the present –or more modern ones: Dan Simmons, Robert Silverberg, E- Feist, Ian M. Banks, Harlan Ellison, Frederick Pohl, P.J. McAuley, Walter Jon Williams, Scott Rohan, Stephen King.
MTI: Your story, The Forbidden Fuel, appears in Altered Europa, an anthology devoted to alternate history and altered reality. Tell us a little bit more about this contribution, particularly, how does it deviate from known history?
SP: As a matter of fact, some huge meta-planes soaring through the skies of the British Empire didn’t ever make their ever-present appearance in 1800s, and this is probably the main feature of the alternate reality depicted in the short-story itself. Though, I didn’t want to make those flying vehicles become the center of it all, as it happens nowadays in too many Steampunk tales, as I liked most to have a look at the world and the town the characters live in, and what they are trying to investigate there. Other than that, the town of Bristol followed a very different course of history from that you can read in the story.
MTI: If you could go back to any point in time and change any historical event to create an "altered" world, what would you choose to change?
SP: The betrayal leading to the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest should never be allowed to really take place…eh, eh.
MTI: For further pondering, if a wormhole leading to an alternate reality suddenly appeared in front of you, would you dare to take the plunge and discover what awaits on the other side?
SP: Oh, yes, indeed!!! Problem is that, according to our most recent knowledge of the presence of possible wormholes, people are supposed they could get to the middle of one of those from one end, one day, in some fictional way, but they could never get out of it, or reach the other end. Though, you know, our modern science can only explain about 30% of what matter really is, while 70% is still unknown (think of dark matter, dark energy and so on …), so, this conclusion is too highly overrated, and if there are some aliens out there looking at us, they are probably making fun of our science, the same as we would do about the poor science of the old Stone Age…
MTI: Indeed. Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
SP: I usually write some entries for Aphelion Webzine Flash Challenge, every month, and about 1 to 2 short-stories every week, though I change from one genre to another, always in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre, that lately includes also Paranormal Erotica/Steampunk/Historical Fantasy, Weird Western and Urban Fantasy. And I complete a few some short-stories also in Italian during the year, thought I prefer to write in English, truth be told, thanks to my mother that wanted me to learn English since I was very young at school. I must also thank American authoress Michele DUTCHER that, very kindly, has always edited my first drafts and Americanized them.
MTI: Other than your work appearing in Altered Europa, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?
SP: There will be at least 8 U.S. and 6 British Anthologies that are going to have some short-stories of mine published in 2017, as far as I know, though the exact time of completion of such books, and the release date might change, as it frequently happens in the literary field. Then, I’ll be co-editing a British Anthology titled “Steam-powered Dream Engines”, with many authors from abroad, to be done in the next months.
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
SP: Of course. Game of Thrones, Gotham and The Expanse are the first three that come to my mind. The latest, actually, reminds me, in a way, of another great Sci-Fi TV series of the past, the wondrous Babylon 5!
MTI: How about music?
SP: I like most of the music genres available, though I prefer British New Wave, Rock music, Classical music and Anime or movies’ soundtracks that I always listen to while freely writing.
MTI: Can you name some movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?
SP: Well, they are too many to be listed…In case of a shorter enumeration, I would say Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (the whole series), Inception, StarShipTroopers, Babylon 5 (the whole series), Predestination, Twelve Monkeys, Aliens, Edge Of Tomorrow, Oblivion, Kill Bill I and II, Ghost in the Shell, Gundam 0079, Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny (the whole series), Ringu, Blade II and Once Upon a Time in the West that I always watch at least once per year when I want to set my eyes on something really exceptional…
Readers love samples. Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?
SP: Maybe this would be good enough:
“The wind seemed to become colder, and the darkness grew as those men moved onwards to an area even darker, and the street was in worse condition than where they were before. The sound of their feet over the rough pavement turned to an unending beating that appeared to be the only thing capable of reviving such a silent location, as the detective kept tailing the two at a distance. They definitely weren’t policemen investigating that man, Tyshawn was sure about it.”
MTI: A nice, short excerpt. Thank you for a great interview. Those who wish to check out more of Sergio Palumbo’s work can get a copy of Altered Europa!