Ten Questions

Hello, everybody.  Today, because I couldn’t think of anything better to write about, I thought I’d take the time to answer a few questions from you, my adoring public.  Let’s stop wasting time and get to it.


BigHeath2099 on Twitter asks:

If fruit & veggies became sentient & began to overthrow the earth, who would be the leaders among them?

First of all, I think the question is less an IF and more a WHEN.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before a nuclear accident creates a race of supervegetables and megafruits that will declare war on the human race.  In fact, this was my college thesis.  Or it would’ve been if I’d gone to college.

My own research has indicated that while the aforementioned megafruits will be more physically dangerous (especially the oranges and pineapples, who are sure to evolve superdense rinds), they will only be as smart as a somewhat intelligent dog.  I won’t get into the science of it, but trust me on this.  Genetically, fruits just will never get much smarter than a chimp.  And even that only applies to the plums, who are obviously the least dangerous of fruits.

The leaders class will be found in the vegetables.  Celery will be the most intelligent of the vegetable overlords, but it will also lack the determination and strength of will to lead.  Carrots, in contrast, are ruthless and dangerous, but also, too vulnerable to sunlight.  Sure, they won’t burst into flame upon exposure to daylight like the mutant potatoes, but they’ll still be too frightened of the sun to be of much threat.  The cabbage and kale will be too effete, and let’s not even get into the savage tribes of broccoli, too brutal and ruthless to be trusted by the others.

Clearly, this leaves only the radishes.  They’ll possess both the cunning and military adaptability to lead the army of supervegetables into battle.  If they can find a way to tame the flying bananas, then Mighty Robot King help us all.


MEVC3 on Twitter asks:

How did you come up with totally brilliant idea for a raccoon god?

If I could tell you where brilliant ideas came from, I’d be more famous than I am now.  Lucky the raccoon god (from my novel Divine Misfortune as I’m sure everyone knows) just sort of happened.  I needed a cute little animal, and raccoon seemed to fit the bill.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a raccoon afficianado, I have toyed with the idea more than once.  I created a raccoon character for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles role-playing game (though I never got to use him).  I started a novel with a raccoon cop in it.  Which is sort of where Sanchez, the mutant opossum cop from The Automatic Detective came from.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Rocket Raccoon, the space raccoon adventurer of Marvel Comics.

Basically, I like taking unusual animals and putting them in my stories.  Whether it’s ghost dogs, demonic ducks, or giant centipedes (in the upcoming Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain), it’s just something I do.  I don’t always know why, but I don’t fight it.


Dirksade on Twitter asks:

As an author, what is your opinion on the Internet Blacklist Bill that is working it’s way through Congress?

I think piracy, as a problem, is a bit overblown.  I get the concerns from artists and publishers, all who make their living off of people buying books / movies / etc.  But part of this concern seems a touch antiquated in this modern electronic age.

The fact is media is more and more ethereal, less physical.  And without hardcopies to transport and protect, media theft isn’t quite the crime it once was.  If someone were to hijack a truckload of books or DVDs, then those books and DVDs represent more than just a loss of profit, they represent a loss of investment on the publisher’s part.  Not just the physical product and the time to create it, but the money and energy to transport it.  If you take something like that, you aren’t just stealing a creative expression, you’re stealing a limited physical commodity.

Stealing on the internet is different.  If someone pirates my books (and people have) and posts an illegal electronic version of it, they are stealing.  But they aren’t stealing a limited commodity.  E-books are part of a post-scarcity society.  They basically exist in unlimited quantity.  And unlimited changes the value to some degree.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d rather no one pirate my books.  If you tell me you downloaded an illegal copy of one of my books, I’m not going to congratulate you on your savy.  Neither will I accuse you of being a terrible criminal who has sabotaged my career.

Basically, I’m pro internet freedom, even if it costs me something now and then.  And I’m against any attempt, well-intentioned or not, to limit that freedom to protect the rights of publishers.

And, really, has a blacklist ever been a good idea?


My real life friend, Shawn Scarber, asks on Facebook:

What is best in life?

As much as I make it a policy not to disagree with Conan the Barbarian, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, the best thing in life is the act of discovery.  There’s something awesome about seeing the world, the universe, yourself, etc. in a whole new light, in glimpsing something fantastic, in that eureka moment that changes things, even if only in the smallest way.

It’s a universal moment of joy, whether found in the studying of science or our own personal revelations.  Without it, I’m not sure I see the point in living at all.


Jeff Glaze on Facebook:

What is the greatest source of inspiration for your stories, and who is YOUR favorite author?

These are two questions, but I will let it slide.

This is among the most common questions I get asked, and I hate that I don’t have a better answer for it.  I can’t point to any single source of inspiration.  Inspiration is where you find it.  My list of influences is long and varied, though mostly it’s found in comic book superheroes, cartoons, video games, monster movies, and so on and so on and so on.

If I had a single “greatest” influence, I’d probably be a one-dimensional imitator.  So I won’t pick any single influence, and just leave it at that.

As for my own favorite writer, there are a lot of contenders.  My first instinct is to go with Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created some of my favorite characters and stories.  Or I could go with Walt Simonson, who wrote the most epic superhero comic book ever.  I’ve also become a big fan of Brian Clevinger.  If you haven’t caught his work on Atomic Robo yet, you’re really missing out.


DRyanLeask on Twitter asks:

How did you find the time to write your first novel, and how did you ever get anyone to read it?

Two questions again, but well worth asking.  Writing isn’t easy.  Especially because the universe doesn’t give a damn about your plans and aspirations.  More than talent, desire, and ability, time is the aspiring writer’s biggest problem.  Namely, finding it.

I was lucky enough that I was supported for much of my early aspiring writer career, so time wasn’t nearly as difficult for me to grab as most others.  But the thing about writing is that you have to find a way to make it work for you.  If you can write twenty minutes a week, go for it.  If you can write only for an hour every other Tuesday, then that’s cool too.  Find the time, wherever it is, and use it.  Even if you can only write one paragraph at a time, eventually, you’ll get there.

Now getting someone to read it, that’s something I can’t pin down.  You have to submit.  Submit.  Submit.  Submit.  You aren’t looking for the ONE person who will read your book.  You’re looking for ANY person who will read your book.  Most of those people won’t want to actually publish your book or represent you, but that’s just the way it goes.

This is where I think a lot of aspiring writers fall short.  They fail to understand that the submission process is long, difficult, and discouraging.  It’s frustrating because you will get turned away a heck of a lot.  But you have to hang in there, keep looking for opportunities, and submitting to anyone and everyone.

Above all, stick with it.  The difference between the writer who makes it and the one who doesn’t, more often than not, isn’t talent.  It’s persistence.


Ozarkee on Twitter asks:

Seamus had a bushy red beard. As a female, he was not explicitly described without it. So, do female goblins have beards?

The question someone dared to ask!  We were all thinking it, sure, but no one had the guts to inquire.

What’s funny is that when I get questions like this, I don’t always know the answer to it.  Though I’m not beyond some worldbuilding, I’m less concerned with the background of a story and more often concerned with the characters and their trials.  But as it turns out, I do actually have the answer for this one.

Goblins in the In the Company of Ogres universe don’t have beards.  Both genders are hairless.  Seamus is an exception because he is part leprechaun.  Female leprechauns don’t have beards though, so neither does Seamus have it in female form.

Hope that helps you sleep at night.


And finally, Wayne Arthurson on Facebook asks:

Ten questions about anything?

Not quite about anything, but close enough.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Posted November 24, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink


  2. Old-one-Cthulhu
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Someone HELP! I can’t get access to Mr. Martinez’s short stories, and I’m signed in and everything! HELP!

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted December 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      The website no longer has the story I posted on it, but you can find it online if you google “The Cranky Dead”. I am still working on the Mack Megaton story, but I will alert everyone when it’s posted.

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