Monday, January 09, 2012

Interview: The Weird and - Lucius Shepard

" What weird writers did you grow up reading? How did they influence or not influence your writing?

Lucius Shepard: I read Tolkien when I was a kid, also a few random books like A. Merritt’s The Moon Pool, but they didn’t make much of an impression. I didn’t really like Tolkien. My father forced me to read James Branch Cabell, which almost ruined me for fantasy. Somebody, I forget who, wrote of his Dragon King trilogy that his dragon hunters had the personalities (I’m paraphrasing here) of desperate insurance salesmen. Most of my independent reading tended toward non-fiction travel books, mostly old ones, which are definitely weird by any definition, and adventure fiction, but I managed to sneak in a good bit of Jack Vance — with his ornate backdrops and lowlife picaresque heroes, he fired up my imagination. Then there was Lafcadio Hearn, the author of Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. He was an ex-pat who lived in Japan and even published a good portion of his fiction under a Japanese pseudonym. The exoticism of his stories fascinated me and the awkward baroque-ness of his descriptions frustrated me — even at an early age I could almost see how to make them more precise. My genre reading in childhood and my teens was limited, so these men remained my strongest influences."

4 out of 5