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 Julie C. Day, author of “Speculative Execution”. and editor of the anthology Weird Dream Society.
Management: Can you tell our readers a little about your story and where you got the idea for it?
Julie C. Day: Gosh. People on the margins, low level criminals, are such engaging characters. They’re the family farm in a world of mega-farms. The little guy David vs. the Goliath corporation. We all love an underdog. And in a world where nothing is fair, their questionable choices just make them more endearing: at least they aren’t passively accepting what is objectively a raw deal. My main characters in “Speculative Execution,” Sonia and Dachen are definitely in that vein.
Like many of the characters in the stories I write, I found Sonia and Dachen by focusing first on the tone and the world building. A version of this A.I.-driven city has been with me for a few years now. I’d fashioned it on the bones of old projects that included an unlaunched RPG game and an unrealized novel set in 1890s and 1910s Berlin. Adjusting the world so that A.I.—rather than ghosts—were at the heart of this city’s economy and infrastructure was the big epiphany. I got so excited by the idea! It was already a city rife with potential conflicts while still in draft form. Once I figured out this final element of the world, it was just a matter of feeling my way to which of the inherent conflicts this story would address. In a world were actual people are used as A.I. templates, coercing or press-ganging people to act as templates seemed an obvious problem—and one that was just creepy enough to hold my interest.
Management: Do you have any upcoming or newly released titles that you would like to share with our readers?
Julie C. Day: Besides my story in the Way of the Laser, I just had a story entitled “After the Apocalypse There Will Be Memory Poems” publishing Vol. 1 Brooklyn as part of their Sunday Stories series. I also have a reprint story “Flyover Country” in the just released anthology Weird Dream Society: An Anthology of the Possible & Unsubstantiated in Support of RAICES.
Management: What’s one new book that you have read recently and loved, or that you are looking forward to reading?
Julie C. Day: I’ve been in a Pandemic reading rut. I think it has more to do with my lack of focus, rather than the books I keep putting down, or perhaps my inability to engage with too stories that might break my heart. Right now, I’m eyeing a 1930’s noir-love story by Russell Banks entitled The Reserve. Supposedly it addresses all sorts of issues around class, art, love, and madness. The first page pulled me in—gorgeous sentences—so I’m going to see if I can break my streak and actually lose myself in a book that contains unpredictable ups and downs. Fingers crossed.
Be sure to check out Julie’s new story in The Way of the Laser!