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Mike Resnick: The ‘Alien Contact’ Interview

This month, SF Signal is featuring guest posts and interviews with the authors of Alien Contact edited by Marty Halpern. Today, we’re pleased to bring you an interview with contributing author Mike Resnick!

SF SIGNAL: What’s the appeal of Alien Contact stories for you?

Mike Resnick: I think the fascination comes from the fact that we’ve never made contact with a sentient alien special, yet assuming the race lives long enough there’s a 100% certainty that we well, especially since the Hubble has now proven that almost every star has planets, and there are maybe half a billion G-type stars in our local galaxy.

SFS: What was the first “alien contact” story you read that made a lasting impression?

MR: The first I read was Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess Of Mars, when I was about nine years old, and it had an enormous effect on my life, but I hesitate to call it a “real” first contact story. I suspect the first real first contact story I read was Stanley G. Weinbaum’s “A Martian Odyssey”, maybe a year or two later, which was still close to 60 years ago.

SFS: You’ve written 65 sf novels and 250 stories. Which do you prefer, and why?

MR: I prefer short stories. I think they can have as lasting an effect, and I can write a lot more of them. I must be doing them right; all of my Hugos have been for short fiction.

SFS: In “The 43 Antarean Dynasties,” what made you decide to alternate between historical prose and the main narrative?

MR: To set it only in the present would take away all the emotional resonances. I think it was important to show the reader what the narrator’s race had been for the reader to fully understand what it has become. And yes, I got the idea while observing my guide and some tourists in Egypt.

SFS: What projects are you currently working on?

MR: Jack McDevitt and I just handed in a novel, The Cassandra Project, to Ace. I have a novel, The Doctor and the Kid, coming out this December from Pyr, and I just signed to do two more in the series, The Doctor and the Rough Rider and The Doctor and the Dinosaurs. Eric Flint and I will be starting a long-overdue collaborative novel for Baen, The Gods of Sagittariuis, later this year. I write a Lucifer Jones story for almost every issue of Subterranean Magazine; I write a Harry the Book story for every issue of Postscripts; I owe a story to Asimov’s, and I’ll be collaborating on stories with Brad Torgerson, Lezli Robyn and Kij Johnson in the coming months. And I’m editing a new line for Arc Manor called the Stellar Guild line. I think I also have half a dozen collections coming out in the next year, but that’s not normal; it’s a function of being Guest of Honor at the 2012 Worldcon, and I can guarantee it’ll never happen again.

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