Shimmer #16 author interviews: Greg Leunig
Tell us how “Opposable Thumbs” came to be.
Well, oddly enough it actually began as a writing exercise for a class in my MFA program. We’d just read Kamby Balongo Mean River by Robert Lopez, and the idea was to write a short story making use of some element of Lopez’s novel. The whole time I was reading the book (which is fantastic and quite strange), I was becoming more and more obsessed with the idea that this particular voice would lend itself really well to a wealth of potential sci-fi ideas. So when it came time to write the story, I co-opted his voice and started there. I like to think that EV91′s voice evolved away from Lopez’s narrator, but that’s where it started, anyway.
We both enjoyed Zone One (Colson Whitehead); what other books have you read recently that you think deserve a wider audience?
David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, for one. It’s an absolutely brilliant book. And with a Tom Hanks movie coming out based on it, I’m sure it will GET that wider audience shortly. Another book that I think deserves a wider audience is Jess Walter’s The Zero. He’s an incredible writer, and it’s an amazing book that almost made me cry. Really, all of his stuff (at least that I’ve read) is fantastic.
What’s up with autocorrect, anyhow? What’s the oddest correction you’ve seen?
It’s probably just the first ripples of an eventual global takeover by Siri and friends. The weirdest I’ve had isn’t that weird, I tend to be sort of meticulous about my text messages. I did get “her” autocorrected to “errr” though. Siri must’ve been having some doubts about that girl. The weirdest one I’ve heard about is from my friend Matt, who was autocorrected from “Vidal” to “Visakhapatnam.” That one gets all kinds of points for oddness.
Do you stalk Duotrope?
I spend a goodly amount of time there. Though at this point, my list of which magazines have rejected which stories contains almost every semi-pro and pro zine on the duotrope sci fi list, so I often just use that word doc instead of duotrope. Still, it’s a great resource and I spend way too much time on it.
What is your favorite Bradbury story/novel?
I remember really enjoying Something Wicked This Way Comes, but to be honest it hasn’t stuck with me. I couldn’t tell you a thing about it. So my answer is going to be sadly typical: Fahrenheit 451. Something about it just sticks in the mind, which to me is the hallmark of a great story or novel.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m going to be serializing a novel on a website called Jukepop Serials starting very soon. The novel’s called Multipocalypse, and I’m excited to begin that journey. There will be zombies and some other stuff, in a certain way it harks back to my childhood… but I can’t really say how without giving some important bits away. Aside from that, I’m just going to keep flooding editor’s in-boxes with short stories.