JQM LITERARY CHAT WELCOMES Chris Lodwig
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:
I live in Seattle with my wife, daughter, dog, lizard, and an unlikely number of shrimp. I have spent the last twenty-three years working for technology companies in the greater Seattle area. I spent my younger years playing music, frequenting Burning Man, throwing art parties and unsanctioned parades, and clandestinely installing monoliths and other art in local parks. I have degrees in both Comparative History of Ideas and Communications from the University of Washington. Systemic is my first published novel.
WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO WRITE YOUR GENRE(S)?
Systemic became sci-fi out of necessity more than anything else. I honestly didn’t know I was writing a sci-fi novel until I was 90 pages or so into the first draft. Two things were going on in my mind at the time. The first had to do with the current political environment, and the willful destruction of truth. I was thinking—and still am thinking—about whether and how we can ever get back to a place where we have a general agreement about facts. I tried to imagine something that could solve that problem; a generally accepted non-partisan arbiter of truth. I’m not optimistic that humans will ever be able to fit that bill. And so, the System was born, and I had a sci-fi novel on my hands. The second had to do with the way the world needed to work so I could tell the story as it unfolded. I either needed advanced technology or magic, and I read quite a bit more sci-fi and actual science than fantasy, so it felt more natural to me. I can’t really tell you more than that or I will give away some of my favorite parts of the story.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?
This changes all the time but there are a couple that stick around. Neil Gaiman is always great, and Neal Stephenson. I love how Philip K. Dick was always playing around with reality and consciousness. Cormac McCarthy writes like no other human alive. I never think I like Stephen King, but I always seem to. There are a ton of authors I’ve been reading lately who will certainly become “my favorites” given time. Gareth L Powell, Iain M. Banks, and John Scalzi to name a few.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS?
The book I force on every young person is Ender’s Game. That book probably turned me on to reading and sci-fi in particular. Dune is so epic and vast it blows my mind. Blood Meridian is the most beautifully written and wrenchingly horrible book of all time. Moby Dick’s not bad either. But I love all sorts of books for all sorts of reasons. Currently the books that have me pounding the table and shouting at people to read are: The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill which is incredibly charming. Erin Morgenstern’s, the Night Circus wins for atmosphere, and N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series was dark and refreshingly original. Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel was a pretty big influence on the mood of Systemic, and the sequel I’m currently writing.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY CHARACTERS?
I’m a bit of a sucker for anyone who starts out assuming they are one thing and then discovers they’re something else entirely. Paul Atreides from Dune, Bagginses both Bilbo and Frodo. I appreciate anyone who points out the ridiculousness of life like Yossarian from Catch 22, Don Quixote, or the odious Ignatius J. Reilly from Confederacy of Dunces. And I’ll always have a soft spot for characters who embody a childlike joyfulness like Fyrian the Dragon from The Girl Who Drank the Moon, or Wilbur the pig from Charlotte’s web.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH POTENTIAL READERS?
My book for starters, and all the things about it that I personally enjoyed. I like that Systemic is technically a sci-fi novel, but that the sci-fi is somewhat in the background serving the plot, rather than being the focus and obsession of the book. I like that it mostly takes place in wide open spaces and small towns rather than the crowded megalopolises standard to the genre. I love my characters and I feel for them. And lastly, I want to share that excited, “Oh, that’s a really cool idea!” feeling I got time and time again while the story was coming to me.
WHERE CAN WE GO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LITERARY WORKS?
You can purchase Systemic on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. https://tinyurl.com/systemicbook
You can also visit me on: