Oliver’s story “Signal Jamming” appears in Issue #15.
What inspired “Signal Jamming”?
I’ve always liked epistolary work both as a reader and a writer. I fondly remember reading the 1982 anthology Space Mail, edited by Isaac Asimov. I’ve also wondered about how hacking, phishing, spam, flame wars, and other internet phenomena might work on a galactic scale. Suppose we finally communicate with aliens, and they turn out to be telemarketers?
I’m not sure exactly what inspired Signal Jamming, but I do have a family member who is a corrections officer. Needless to say, he is a fine man who in no way resembles any character in the story.
What writers inspire you?
Vernor Vinge, Lois McMaster Bujold, Iain Banks. For humor, Douglas Adams of course.
What’s the best thing about living in Boston?
It’s the birthplace of Leonard Nimoy.
Favorite book you read in 2011?
I’m a sucker for nonfiction science writing. I loved “Packing for Mars” by Mary Roach.
What piece of advice would you give writers for the coming year?
Autocorrect is a sinister plot to censor our communications. If aliens were infiltrating our society, wouldn’t they first install a device that monitors what we type? Don’t use it! Uninstall it right now!