Bio: E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised by a single mother and the public library in Yonkers, New York. He is the author of numerous short stories and four young adult books: the Andre Norton Award–winning Fair Coin, Quantum Coin, The Silence of Six, and Against All Silence. His next YA novel, RWBY: After the Fall, will be published by Scholastic in summer 2019. E.C. currently lives with his wife, son, and three doofy pets in Pennsylvania. You can find traces of him all over the internet, but especially at http://ecmyers.net and on Twitter: @ecmyers.
What sparked the inspiration behind the anthology’s short story – The Land of The Morning Calm – and its mixture of MMO video gaming and Korean culture?
For a while I had been thinking about writing a story about someone reconnecting with their dead mother through a video game; however, initially, I thought it might be through a haunted cartridge or a game save file or something like that. When I began planning a story for this anthology, I researched to find just the right fable or myth to focus on, and I discovered a Korean MMO called NEXUS: The Kingdom of the Winds that was loosely based on Korean history. That seemed a perfect way to engage with an old myth in modern times, especially since MMOs are so popular in Korea, and when I brought in the idea of a trapped spirit, it all just clicked.
You explore virtual reality, time travel and superheroes in your previous books (and short stories including The Observer Effect). When were you first exposed to each of these elements growing up? What drew you to incorporating your own take on them in your stories?
That’s a terrific question. I often find myself thinking about what authors and work have most influenced the stories I like to read and write. As a kid, I read voraciously, and I also watched a lot of cartoons. Superman and shows like He-Man were my earliest introductions to superheroes, and I became hooked on science fiction through the books of William Sleator, beginning with Interstellar Pig (oddly enough, about a kid drawn into a board game), and especially Singularity, which involved weird time dilations, as well as Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series. From there, I sought out books and shows exploring time travel, alternate realities, virtual reality, and so on. One piece of advice writers commonly get is write the stories you would want to read, and so it makes sense that childhood interests would find their way into my fiction.
If you needed to rescue someone, which character from a game (or your own story-based universes) would you take with you and why?
I would say Superman, but alas, he still hasn’t been in a good video game! Most video game characters seem particularly suited to their particular world, so I’m not sure who would be most capable in a variety of situations. So I think I’ll shock people who know me well and go with Batman, who has proven himself capable in many video games and scenarios, with the added superpower of being super rich, which can solve a lot of problems.
What would you like to see more of in science fiction and fantasy?
Always more representation of diverse groups of people, especially in science fiction; realistically, the future will be even more diverse than it is now—in particular with more people of mixed races—but for too long the future has belonged to white men, in and behind the stories. Cindy Pon’s recent science fiction book Want is a breath of fresh air (pun intended). It’s also a failure of imagination to not have more people with different abilities in your futuristic fiction. As for both fantasy and science fiction, personally I want to see more stories set outside the United States, and written by international authors. I’m a bit bored of reading and writing stories set in New York, and I love reading stories from other parts of the world that follow different narrative conventions and work within unfamiliar cultures and settings—the literary equivalent of watching anime. Although they sometimes require more effort from the reader, books like Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem are fascinating and inspiring to read, and clearly filling an important gap in the genre.
What are you working on now – or – what should readers look out for in the future?
My next book will be RWBY: After the Fall a collaboration with Scholastic and Rooster Teeth, as the first YA novel tie-in to Rooster Teeth’s popular web series RWBY. It has been so much fun to work on! That will be out in summer 2019. I’m also currently working on a couple of new serials with Serial Box, and I’m really excited to announce those soon and have people see what my fellow writers and I have come up with.
In case you missed it, check out our previous 1KBE author interview with Cindy Pon!