Nick Gevers is an influential man in the field of speculative fiction, being both a critic and an editor. He’s been a reviewer and columnist for Locus and is co-editor of PS Publishing’s Postscripts. His first solo anthology was Extraordinary Engines; he has co-edited the Infinity Plus anthologies as well as Other Earths. Other anthologies include This is the Summer of Love, Enemy of the Good, and Edison’s Frankenstein. His latest offering is a co-edited anthology with the inimitable Jack Dann, Ghosts by Gaslight (out in September in the US). Here he discussed dream anthologies and things to do when one’s nutritionalist is not looking.
1. What makes an author a PS author?
Originality and style. We’re interested in writers who bring highly individual perspectives to bear, and are thus spontaneously original in their concepts and distinctive in their prose. So our books are unusual, striking, hard to forget: exactly the works formula-bound commercial publishers ignore, to their cost and that of their readers.
2. What are the five essential characteristics a writer needs for a sustainable career?
First, a strong, original vision. Second, adaptability, so that that strong, original vision can be expressed in many different genres and moods as public tastes alter. Third, integrity, so that adaptability doesn’t mean selling out creatively at any point along the line. Fourth, a strong work ethic–productivity is important, to keep the writer in the public eye. Fifth, a positive personal relationship with the writer’s publishers and editors, whether mediated by an agent or not.
3. You get to be anyone for a day and you can go anywhere and anywhen – who do you choose, where do you go and who do you choose as your companion?
I’d choose to be H. G. Wells’s Time Traveller, and spend the day in the epoch of the Eloi and the Morlocks. Wells himself would be my companion–Wells circa 1895–and we’d tour the Palace of Green Porcelain, exploring its fascinating antiquities. If the Morlocks showed up, our elephant guns would soon terminate their curiosity.
4. You get to edit your ultimate anthology: who are your top ten authors (dead or alive)?
My top ten short fiction writers: well, of all time, in the area of the fantastic… Jorge Luis Borges. Gene Wolfe. Lucius Shepard. Michael Swanwick. Margo Lanagan. Robert Aickman. Catherynne M. Valente. J.G. Ballard. Tim Powers. Peter S. Beagle. Of course, that’s my list right now. Tomorrow it could change. If I were Wells’s Time Traveller, I could give you tomorrow’s list instead.
5. Donuts (or doughnuts) or danishes?
Neither, if my dietician is anywhere near. If she isn’t, doughnuts. Can’t beat those.