J.M. McDermott is the author of five novels and two short story collections, including Last Dragon, Never Knew Another, Women and Monsters, and Disintegration Visions.
SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with him about shared worlds and The Fathomless Abyss, a shared world anthology featuring stories from McDermott, Mike Resnick, Jay Lake, Cat Rambo, Mel Odom, Brad Torgersen and Philip Athans. In The Fathomless Abyss, a bottomless pit opens who-knows-when onto who-knows-where, just long enough for new people from a thousand different worlds and a million different times to fall in and join the fight for survival in a place where the slightest misstep means an everlasting fall into eternity. In this world, the laws of physics work against you, there’s no way out, and time means nothing…
CHARLES TAN: Hi Joe! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how did you get involved with The Fathomless Abyss series?
JM MCDERMOTT: Thanks for having me, Charles! Mr. Athans contacted me after he and Mel Odom had the idea. I don’t get to play a lot with creatures most of the time. My work, in general, involves humans. The thing that excited me was an opportunity to work with, and invent, some creatures. The project reminded me a lot of an anthology I tried to do (and failed to get any traction on, once upon a time) involving mazes. It reminds me a lot of what I enjoyed so much about working with the novel I wrote, as a result of frustrations about the failed anthology idea, which is not out yet. When I learned about the Abyss, I was immediately interested. It reminded me of my favorite part of Forgotten Realms, the Underdark. It reminded me of the Labyrinth. It reminded me of the space between worlds. It reminded me of my short story Dedalus and the Labyrinth, from Weird Tales. I thought about what I loved the most about those different projects, and what I felt was missing from my creative muscle. Like I said, it is the making of monsters and creatures and fantastical beasts.
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