SF Signal has the opportunity to bother science fiction author Tobias S. Buckell (Sly Mongoose) with a few questions. Here’s what he had to say…

1. What’s your latest book, Sly Mongoose, about?

Take the idea of Venus-like world, where 100,000 feet up it isn’t boiling hot, the pressure doesn’t crush you, and it isn’t raining sulfuric acid, and you have very earth-like conditions. Mix in the fact that breathable air on a Venus-like world is a lifting gas, and you have floating cities. Once you have floating cities, of course you must include blimps. And people who lower themselves in pressure suits to the surface to mine.

That’s the world of Chilo. Now just imagine that Chilo’s about to be invaded by a pretty implacable foe, with only a pair of teenagers from two very different floating cities facing off against the impending menace, and a pretty beat up dreadlocked superhuman to help them, and you have a taste of the situation.

2. Are you planning on writing any stories that show the history of the Crystal Rain/Ragamuffin/Sly Mongoose world?

Well, there are two more novels planned, where I’m hoping to continue showing the worlds off, but I would like to write some short fiction pieces that are prequels. I’ve written three of them so far, and I have some rough ideas for more of them.

The two novels that continue this series are Duppy Conqueror, planned to come out in ’09, and Desolation’s Gap, planned for 2010.

3. That zombie sequence in Sly Mongoose was one of the best ones I’ve read all year. How are you going to top that, Mr. Author?

Well, that is hard to top, but strangely enough, I’ve been facing that dilemma every time I write a novel (Oh my gosh, what am I going to do now?). If you throw yourself into each novel and feel like you held nothing back, starting the next is always a bit daunting. However, I think I have a few tricks up my sleeve for the next one. Duppy Conqueror is going to be my Maritime SF book, and feature some sea-going adventure I hope people dig.

4. If you were to recommend a science fiction or fantasy book to someone new to the genre, which one would it be and why?

John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, or Scott Westerfeld’s recent books. I think they’re very much gateway novels that bring people into the genre.

5. What was the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

Okay, so I’m visiting San Francisco for the first time with my wife, Emily. We’re going hog wild enjoying all the varied cuisine, but the one meal we still talk about to this day is a damn hot dog.

Seriously, down by the wharf of the Golden Gate Bridge park, near the coffee shop, is some hippy-looking dude with a hot dog cart advertising hot dogs that are all natural, coming from grain fed, happy cows that have massages every night and live in a barn with more amenities than my house… or something like that. I forget the details, but they were special cows.

I wasn’t thrilled about the $10 hot dog, or whatever the high price was, so Emily and I agreed to split one. After taking our first bites, we both turned and looked at each other and said “I’ll be damned if that isn’t the best hot dog I’ve ever had.”

We’re still talking about it to this day in vaguely horrified but worshipful tones. Out of all the Thai, Spanish, Ethopian, and other great, fantastic foods we had, we still can’t shut up about the hot dog. Maybe it was the long hike we’d had, the timing and alignment of the planets, or some sort of magic spell the vendor passed on the dog, but it was the best meal there.

Filed under: Interviews

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