After doing a review of Paul Marlowe’s Knights of the Sea, I thought I would ask him to provide some insights for readers about his work, the evolution and changes to the genre of Speculative Fiction, and the role of SF in speculating Canadian history. Mr. Marlowe was able to provide a great amount of feedback about these and several other questions, including some about the werewolf (which, for those who don’t know me well, is one of my favorite monsters, and the subject of a course I taught at Trent University).
Here are some highlights from that Interview and you can check out the full interview on September 18 and share in Mr. Marlowe’s creative wit and sense of humour.
Paul Marlowe: “I keep thinking of stories that seem a shame not to bring to life.”
Paul Marlowe: “For many years I felt a growing calling towards poverty and obscurity, but since I didn’t have the vocation to be a monk, not being attracted by the chastity and obedience, I decided that being a Canadian SF writer would work just as well.”
Paul Marlowe: “History, too, comes naturally in the Maritimes, since recorded history in what would become Canada started here.”
Paul Marlowe: “It looks like SF will continue to be sidelined, culturally, for the foreseeable future, since there’s a sort of literary apartheid in Canada (as in other countries), which places SF down in the lowest class where it can be disenfranchised by excluding it from the grants, prizes, reviews, media attention.”
Paul Marlowe: “The Maritimes kept the Royal Navy in masts during the Napoleonic Wars, but when the age of sail ended it sank gradually into irrelevance, right into our own age of franchises, TV, and homogeneity.”
Paul Marlowe: “We live in a culture that combines fear and self-righteousness into a potent cocktail of self-delusion. It’s used to justify pointless, bloody wars. It’s used to excuse the erosion of civil liberties.”
Paul Marlowe: “Ghosts and creatures of Gothic fiction seem to fit into steampunk worlds without undue incongruity chiefly because they were features of the real Victorian imagination.”
Paul Marlowe: “We need fantasy for relief from an artificial reality that society has created, and which we are often bullied into believing has no alternatives. We need in our imaginations to experience things beyond our office cubicle, because not to do so is to become a machine, or a thing not quite human.”
Paul Marlowe: “Canadian literature won’t be as rich and varied as it might be until the bigotry of the industry abates.”
Paul Marlowe: “It’s easy (and too common) to either romanticize the (Victorian British) empire as a golden age or else to demonize it as a sort of ultimate evil, with a cackling Darth Victoria grinding the helpless proletariat beneath her diamond-studded, hook-and-eye-laced heels.”
Paul Marlowe: “It’s only by knowing about the real world, its history and its peoples, that one can have enough understanding of the borders of human behaviour and culture to invent a plausible imaginary society.”
Paul Marlowe: “In a country where anti-intellectualism is on the rise – where anyone interested in technology or SF is branded a geek, and where a political leader such as Stéphane Dion can be discredited amongst the public by being called “professor” by that weird gang of mediocrities, cranks, embarrassing amateurs, control-freaks, spin-doctors, and corporate sock-puppets comprising the Government – the question facing Canadian SF is: how many of us want to think?”
Paul Marlowe: “A healthy literary ecosystem is one where many writers explore many niches – without apology, and without pomposity – discovering what is possible with words.”
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Paul Marlowe mixes his sense of humour with provocative criticism of the ghetto into which SF authors often find themselves at the fringes of Can Lit, the tendency to ignore Canadian history, and the dangers of genetic engineering for eliminating human biodiversity. This enlightening interview sparks thoughts and speculations about the dangers of bigotry.