In the acknowledgments to THE WALL you thank your parents for setting you down a lifetime’s science fiction journey. And you mention Golden Age stories, THE HOBBIT, and FOUNDATION. Which early influences had the biggest impact on you?
There is a line in THE WALL about the way the audience must structure the poetry for each generation. And the link between speaking and listening, the orality of stories, is something you have spoken about in relation to THE ILIAD. When and where did that thread first emerge?
One way of looking at THE WALL is certainly as an embodiment of a colonialist project where the subaltern has no concept whatsoever that they are colonised. And consequently, a world where liberation can’t even be imagined. And yet there is ‘smara’, and so a world beyond is imagined. How does colonialism play into THE WALL and how what does ‘smara’ mean to you?
In your interview with Aliya Whiteley you mention the book AGAINST THE GRAIN, a book which offers a thesis about the origin of states. How early on were you thinking about THE WALL as a novel about state formation, and maybe also about utopia and dystopia?
Sami Ahmad Khan describes THE WALL as ‘the story of quenching the thirst for knowledge, realisation, and enlightenment.’ How early in the process of planning THE WALL did the end point of the story present itself. And will THE HORIZON, the second part of the duology, be a closing of the circle, or do you see the potential for more stories spinning out from it in the future?
Science fiction is in your DNA, in a sense, and as editor of STRANGE HORIZONS you must see a lot of fiction and a lot of writing about that fiction. Which writers are exciting you most at the moment and which do you feel are not getting enough recognition.