Tell us your biography in three sentences or fewer.
Tony Ballantyne is the author of the Dream World, Penrose and Recursion series of novels as well as many acclaimed short stories that have appeared in magazines and anthologies around the world. He also plays jazz and boogie piano quite well and the baritone horn quite badly.
How and when did you begin writing, and what was your first published piece?
I probably started writing stories as soon as I was old enough to write. I think though, that you really become a writer when you get serious about it. That’s the time when you stop making plans and excuses and you just sit down and commit to writing on a regular basis. I reached that point in my mid twenties. I made a resolution to sit down and write for at least an hour every night.
My first paid published piece was in Private Eye, of all things. I also published quite a few short stories in Women’s Magazines before my first SF sale – to Interzone – in 1998.
What’s so special about writing speculative fiction?
Hah! Speculative Fiction is just bad Science Fiction written by people with an Arts Council grant. I write SF and proud of it. It’s the only truly original form of literature of the past 100 years. SF encompasses everything from the mainstream but adds its own unique sensibility. SF is read by people who appreciate the beauty in Euler’s Identity just as readily as the St Matthew Passion…
What’s special about SF?
it’s about the way you look at the world, it’s the way that the stories are told. I can’t write a story without extrapolating, without asking what if, without acknowledging the fact that there is a cold, impersonal but ultimately wonderful universe out there.
SF explains the world, it finds wonder in the everyday. It recognises the fact of the evolution of the horse is more wonderful than any unicorn.
You can read more about my thoughts on this in my Manifesto
Tell us about your most recent publication or current writing project.
Dream Paris, the follow up to Dream London is out in September 2015. It follows Anna as she searches for her parents, last seen marching into the parks in Dream London. I think we can all guess where they ended up…
Dream Paris, incidentally, is an example of the extrapolation inherent in SF. The ending of the novel was not the one I planned, but once I set events in motion I realized that they were heading in a certain direction.
First, I’m going to complete a few short stories that I’ve had to put aside due to pressure of work over the past year. There’s one set in the Dream World, one in the Recursion universe, and one a couple of free standing stories.
After that, well, I’m currently sketching out ideas for a space opera. Fans of the Penrose series may find this interesting…