Tuesday, May 5, 2020

6 Books with Octavia Cade

Octavia Cade is a New Zealand writer. She is currently writer-in-residence at Massey University/Square Edge, and has had close to 50 short stories published in markets such as Clarkesworld, Shimmer, and Asimov’s. Several novellas, a nonfiction collection on food and horror, and two poetry collections have also been published, and her first short fiction collection, The Mythology of Salt and Other Stories, is due out in July. She attended Clarion West 2016, and is a Bram Stoker nominee. Her Twitter handle is @OJCade.

Today she shares her Six Books With us:

1. What book are you currently reading? 
Right now I’m reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. New Zealand is in lockdown at the moment, and we’re all supposed to stay at home in glorious self-isolation. I figured it would be a good time to tackle some of the classics that I haven’t read before, and I plumped for Dickens because I just couldn’t face the behemoths of War and Peace or Moby Dick. Surely pandemic is punishment enough, without having to read a thousand pages of (what I presume is) absolute misery, or the horrible slaughter of a rightfully pissed off cetacean. To be honest I suspect this particular Dickens is also going to be slaughter and woe, but I loved Bleak House so maybe this will be as enjoyable.

2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?
Demonic Foes: A Psychiatrist Investigates Diabolic Possessions in the U.S., by Richard Gallagher, which is coming out in November from HarperOne. I have a particular love for The Exorcist and all such horror films, so this is going to be exciting background reading for me. I had a paper on archaeological imagery in The Exorcist published in Horror Studies a while back, and there are a few more academic bits and pieces that I’m working on along the same lines, so Demonic Foes is going to be good creepy fun for me.

3. Is there a book you’re currently itching to read again? 
Sticking with horror, I made sure that I had a copy of Dracula with me when I went into isolation, because it’s a fantastic book and it seems thematic, what with contamination and contagion and all that. Plus, it’s isolation time, and we shouldn’t be inviting people into our dwellings anyway. It’s just good common sense.

4. How about a book you’ve changed your mind about – either positively or negatively?
I’m going to go with Young, Damned, and Fair by Gareth Russell, which I read recently and really enjoyed. It’s a biography of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry the Eighth, and the second of his wives to be beheaded. I had my doubts about it, not such much because of the subject matter as because of the format. I’m what you’d call a late convert to e-books. I like print, and I was particularly leery about reading a quite academic piece of non-fiction because it’s bad enough flipping back and forth through endless endnotes in print and I didn’t see how that would work in e-book form. But, you know, we’re in lockdown here and all the libraries are shut, so it’s borrowing e-books from them or nothing at all. And it was great. Hyperlinks to the notes and everything! I’m thoroughly converted now – give me all the non-fiction this way!

5. What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?
That’s easy. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper – the book that is, not the series (although the series was and remains one of my favourite ever reads). But when I read this as a kid, all my previous reading material had been very good is good and bad is bad and never shall they meet. But good did terrible things in The Dark Is Rising, and it did it without flinching. I was horrified and fascinated and it pretty much smacked all the simple scales of good and evil in literature off my infant eyes, so there’s that. I’m not sure any other childhood read had anywhere near the impact.

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome?
My latest book is the climate thriller The Stone Wētā, which is out April 22nd – Earth Day! It’s based on the Clarkesworld story of mine of the same name. That story is basically the book’s first chapter, and it was inspired by news stories of scientists working across borders to protect climate data that was at risk from hostile, anti-science governments. I did my PhD in science communication, so this is an area that really means a lot to me, because how can we make good decisions about climate if we don’t have all the information? Ignorance is not the solution... and the scientists in The Stone Wētā agree, as they smuggle data both on and off-world, all the time being hunted down by those who would sink to murder in order to shut them up.

Thank you, Octavia!

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know?
2020 Hugo Finalist for Best Fan Writer. @princejvstin.