Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Jack Skillingstead

Jack Skillingstead’s Harbinger was nominated for a Locus Award for best first novel. His second, Life on the Preservation, was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. He has published more than forty short stories to critical acclaim and was short-listed for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. His writing has been translated internationally.

Skillingstead’s new novel is The Chaos Function.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I like to keep a couple of books going at once, plus whatever random selections I take to bed. Most recently, for our Science Book Club, I read Timefulness: How Thinking Like A Geologist Can Help Save The World. Marcia Bjornerud is a very good writer, her prose is clean and her personality shines through. The early parts of the book are heavy on the science of geology, which I found a bit of a hard go, but it was good for me. The last couple of chapters are absolute knockouts. Part philosophy of time and how our modern world isolates us from a sense of being part of its flow, and part an examination of the history of climate change as it is revealed to us in the geological record.

I’m also reading a new novel by Ted Kosmatka, a far future adventure and examination of a society literally stratified within immense towers. This one is still in manuscript form, and it’s a terrific read.

A couple of weeks ago I finished a long biography: Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson. I love reading about painters and artists in general. This bio was packed with great details about Leonardo’s life and times that I’d had no clue about. For instance, Leonardo’s famous notebooks contained some fiction, most interestingly notes and descriptive passages for a planned novella that he never quite got around to writing. Well, he was famous for not finishing projects, even as the projects the did finish are towering works of genius. Anyway, the proposed novella is about the end of the world by apocalyptic flood. When I posted about this on Facebook, Gordon Van Gelder, publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction directed my attention to The Deluge, a “science-fantasy” novel some enterprising editor back in 1954 cobbled together using Leonardo’s original writings and published it as a mass market paperback with a lurid cover. “…a powerful and violent story of life and love in a time of blazing turmoil and savage upheaval!” I might do a little essay for F&SF’s Curiosities department.
Visit Jack Skillingstead's website.

--Marshal Zeringue