Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the recently-released How to Start Your Own Religion and Devils of the Endless Deep. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
SF Signal had the opportunity to talk with him about shared worlds and The Fathomless Abyss, a shared world anthology featuring stories from Philip , Mike Resnick, Jay Lake, J.M. McDermott, Mel Odom, Brad Torgersen and Cat Rambo. 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 Phil! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how did The Fathomless Abyss series start out?
PHILIP ATHANS: I’d been kicking around the idea of a fantasy world set inside a giant, bottomless pit for years, but could never quite work it out. It just sat back there in the dark corners of my mind, sort of brewing. Then my buddy Mel Odom started telling me about the various indie e-book projects he’d been working on and encouraged me to give it a try, too. We went in together on the still-evolving Arron of the Black Forest series, which has been great fun (and I’m really champing at the bit to get started on the next Arron book), but then, being the Go Big or Stay Home kinda guy I am, I started envisioning a more ambitious project, with more authors on board. Once I felt as though I had the tools to create something interesting in the e-pub world, the Fathomless Abyss setting rocketed out of that dim recess and I started bouncing the idea off a small group of author friends. It built from there.
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