CZP asked Imaginarium authors a few questions. See how they handle being on the spot, and how they handle The Hulk invading their stories! Between now and January 4th, 2013, CZP is running this special feature, and today’s author is Peter Chiykowski, who appeared in Imaginarium 2012: The Best of Canadian Speculative Fiction with the poems “The Cinder Girl” and “Breathing Bones”.
The first piece I remember writing was a comic called Sea Wars. I was like, seven, and I thought: you know what’s easy to draw/no one has written about? OCTOPUSES AND EELS PLAYING UNDERWATER BASKETBALL FOR DOMINANCE OF THE OCEAN. I think I got through six very lazily drawn issues before I realized the idea, for all its merits, offered limited plot possibilities.
What is the best advice you have ever been given from a publisher/fellow author/opinionated reader?
I quite like some of the very demystifying things that Neil Gaiman and Kurt Vonnegut have said about writing. I mean, this isn’t advice they’ve give me, exactly, but then they also didn’t specifically say I couldn’t have it, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s an invitation to try on their words when they aren’t using them. So here’s one of Kurt’s rules of the short story “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”
Hard to be blunter and fairer than that.
What is it about speculative fiction that appeals to you, as a reader and/or an author?
I think it’s more that I’m drawn to good writing in general and I can’t, for the life of me, think of any good reason why that should stop at the boundary of things that happen to exist.
Aside from writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’m intensely passionate about reading good books, watching bad television, and taking casual strolls with whomever is available of my girlfriend and basset hound.
Is there a book that you think would change the world (for better or worse) if every person was to read it?
Pretty much any Calvin and Hobbes collection would contribute to making the world a happier, more imaginative place.
The Hulk is now a character in your Imaginarium poem “The Cinder Girl”: how would it change?
In my Hulkified version of Imaginarium, Cinderella and the Hulk join forces to manually demolish the wicked stepsisters and their homestead, while the Prince, seeing the well-muscled green Goliath at her side, decides he’d better find himself a meeker, less proto-feministic maiden to rescue from poverty
Peter Chiykowski lives and schemes in Toronto. He writes Rock, Paper, Cynic, an online comic that's been shared by George Takei, tweeted by Nathan Fillion, and featured on Tor.com, as well as Little Worlds, an online urban fantasy graphic novel that benefits charity.
His poems n' short stories have been published in Imaginarium 2012: Best Canadian Speculative Writing, Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, The New Quarterly, On Spec, PRISM International, Grain, and a bunch of other magazines and anthologies across North America. He also briefly held the world record for being the youngest living person.