James Morrow is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Towing Jehovah, the Nebula Award-winning novella Shambling Twards Hiroshima, and the New York Times Notable Book Blameless in Abaddon. His recent novels include the Last Witchfinder, hailed by the Washington Post as “literary magic”, and The Philosopher’s Apprentice, which received a rave review from Entertainment Weekly. Morrow lives in State College, Pennsylvania.
After reading Morrow’s newest novella, The Madonna and The Starship, I was brimming with questions for him! Read on, as we discuss the evolution of the new novella, how Science Fiction finds a balance between logical positivism and theism, home movies, The Lord Of The Rings lesson plans, his soon to be released Darwin epic, and more!
Andrea Johnson: The Madonna and the Starship deals with themes you’ve touched on before: organized religion, humanism, atheism, and satire thereof. I’d like to know what made you decide to set this newest novel in the 1950s and give it a pulpy scifi twist?
James Morrow: I imagine I’ll go to my grave obsessed with embarrassingly large philosophical questions, conducting the discussion simultaneously in my head and on the printed page. It’s all so mysterious, this business of being a person with a private consciousness. None of the respectable answers satisfy me.