Sunny Moraine is a humanoid creature of average height, luminosity and inertial mass. They’re also a doctoral student in sociology and a writer-like object who has published fiction in a variety of places, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld and Ideomancer. They spend most of their days using writing to distract from academics, except for the occasions when the two collide, which is actually pretty often. Their first novel Line and Orbit is available from Samhain Publishing. Sunny’s story “Love In The Time Of Vivisection” was published in Issue #17.
Tell us how “Love in the Time of Vivisection” came about.
It really started with me thinking about relationships – about mine and others’. Many of my stories deal with painful/broken relationships in some way (I swear, my own is really very happy), but what drove the imagery of this story was a meditation on honesty, about how it’s vitally important in keeping a relationship of any kind alive but can also be agonizing and even deeply destructive. Love can feel like a trap, like being forced into things you may not have otherwise done, or wanted to do. So I tried to capture some of that pain and dread with the most literal interpretation possible. I gave myself permission to go into a really dark place and see what I could bring back out.
It was also indirectly inspired by Kij Johnson’s “Mantis Wives”, which is one of my favorite short stories that I’ve read in the last few months.
You write both short fiction and novels. Does one appeal to you more than the other?
I love both equally, and they’re both wonderful and horrible in such different ways. I love the compactness of short stories, the challenge in unfolding an idea and making it live in such a small space, making it resonate with an audience. At the same time, some ideas and characters really do demand more space and more effort, and exploring those in a novel-length work is so rewarding. But it takes enormous stamina. It also takes real devotion to what you’re trying to do, because there almost always comes a point at which you’re sick of it and want to stop.
Lately novels have been taking up far more of my time – I just finished a draft of one and am in the middle of the first round of edits, and I’ll be getting another one ready for release this fall – but I’m looking forward to getting back into short fiction when my workload shifts.
Among your own stories, do you have a favorite?
Others have said this, but: It’s like picking a favorite child. There are definitely stories where I feel like I’ve been more successful at what I was trying to do, where I’ve unearthed the thing more or less intact. “Love in the Time of Vivisection” is one of those – it came very quickly and felt very complete, and I love it for that. I really love the novel I just finished writing and I’m excited to see where it goes. I have an as-yet (as of this writing) unpublished short story about drones (two, in fact, that are really sibling stories) that I’m very happy with. One of the two drone pieces has actually been picked up as part of Murmuration,The State’s June festival of drone culture, which I’m super excited about being part of.
What is currently in your cd player/iTunes/Spotify/8 Track?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Blackmill lately – what I guess one would call “melodic dubstep”. I am hugely into Anxiety, Autre ne Veut’s album, synthy R&B pop. The National’s new album is killer. I’m in a months-long love affair with M83. And BT and Jon Hopkins’ entire catalogs are always go-to writing music for me.
What is your favorite Bradbury story/novel?
I love so much Bradbury – The Martian Chronicles is one of the books that first made me want desperately to be a writer, and “The Veldt” is one of the first stories I remember absolutely terrifying me as a kid – but my favorite individual piece of his has to be “There Will Come Soft Rains”. It’s achingly beautiful, it always makes me cry, and it’s probably one of the few short stories that I would call legitimately perfect.