Welcome to a special Sunday edition of Barren Island Books, the author interview series that’s in no way related to a popular music-based radio programme. You know the rules by now: my guests are exiled to a remote island with only five books for company, selected from the categories I give them. It’s up to them to make sure they choose wisely, because they’re going to be stuck with those books for a long, long time …
My interviewee today is SL Huang, author of sci-fi novel Zero Sum Game: a book I kind of wish I’d written myself*, given that the heroine is a kick-ass mathematical genius. When not being banished to a desert island, SL can be found at www.slhuang.com.
I have neglected my blogging duties recently, for a variety of reasons, but this week I interrupt the radio silence to bring you a special broadcast from Jim Webster. Jim is a fantasy author who has previously taken the Barren Island Books challenge on this very blog, but now he's branched out into sci-fi. And after I revealed my ignorance by being unable to identify the slide rule in the classic sci-fi book cover he'd posted, he decided he'd better come and fill me in on a few things. Take it away, Jim ...
As some of you may be aware, when I'm not reading or writing or talking about fantasy literature, or editing, or trying to convince Baby Smith that throwing things on the floor for me to pick up isn't the Best Game Ever — when I'm not doing any of that, I'm also a mathematician. And this was going to be a serious post about how maths and fantasy may seem poles apart, but in fact share a requirement for rigorous underlying logic and an understanding of how changing one variable affects another … or something like that. Because along the way, it turned into something altogether sillier.
It turned into this.