In our continuing series of mini-interviews, we talk with authors who have a story in our forthcoming collection WAY OF THE LASER: FUTURE CRIME STORIES, recently reviewed positively by ALA Booklist! Today, we talk to Marie Vibbert, author of “Sister Thrush” and a new novel, Galactic Hellcats, which will be released by Vernacular Books in December of 2020.
Management: Can you tell our readers a little about your story and where you got the idea for it?
Marie Vibbert: I wanted to write a good old-fashioned cyberpunk story. (And it does make me feel very old to realize cyberpunk is, itself, old.) When I was a kid in the 80s, all my fictional heroes were thieves and hackers. I wanted to recapture some of what I admired in those lawless stories. I wanted urban landscapes, abandoned factories, and at least one scene on a commuter train. I like good people operating outside of the law. I like badass assassins in pencil skirts. So those went in. At its heart, though, it’s a story about family.
Management: Do you have any upcoming or newly released titles that you would like to share with our readers?
Marie Vibbert: Well, if you like stories about heists and capers, you might enjoy my novel “Galactic Hellcats” about a female biker gang in outer space rescuing a gay prince! It’s coming out in December! A dream come true!
Management: What’s one new book that you have read recently and loved, or that you are looking forward to reading?
Marie Vibbert: It’s not a new book, but I recently read Samuel Delaney’s “Nova” and holy GORT is it good. I’m still reeling.
When my kid sister Alyssa came home as a bird, well, it wasn’t as big a surprise as it should have been.
Mom paced the kitchen. “A bird? She should’ve been a rat.” Mom was selling her anger to the cheap seats, like anger kept the sorrow from coming in. “Of course she’d end up dead in an alleyway.”
Alyssa, now a brown thrush, tossed her feathered head with one loud chirp. It sounded like bird-speak for “Fuck you.”
Me? I felt relieved. Part of me had been tensed for sixteen years, waiting for the worst to happen, and now it had. The bird shape was unexpected, but not the uploaded personality bit. Alyssa was hard into tech, and kids did it all the time, these days. One of my buddies drowned in third grade and his parents let him finish out the school year in a robot body. I tried to stay friends with him. He asked to be turned off, though, a year later.
“What was a robot bird doing there?” I asked.
Alyssa hopped over to the interface section of the kitchen table and pecked, turning on the old-fashioned keyboard input.
Songbird Surveillance. Police.
“You nicked a cop bird?”