Monday, September 16, 2013
The Ten Spot: Meet Sorin Suciu
Tell us about your most recent release.
“The Scriptlings” is a tongue-in-cheek contemporary fantasy aimed at geeks and mortals alike.
It has been best described as the unlikely, yet strangely charismatic lovechild you would expect if Magic and Science were to have one too many drinks during a stand-up comedy show in Vegas.
In short, it follows the story of Merkin and Buggeroff, two magician apprentices in a world where magicians are capitalists, computers are quasi-magical, and goats are sometimes invisible - all under the watchful eye of a wandering tribe of monosyllabic demigods.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
It was my mentioning of Merkin and Buggeroff, wasn’t it?
Yes, I have always been intrigued by names. Not only by their meaning, although a fascinating topic, to be sure; but by the very fact that we seem universally compelled to invest them with one. Whether we name our first-born or just a new software, our mental process always includes a “because”. I suspect this is a mild form of magic that we humans, in our patently irrational way, are trying to impose on the universe. My name, Sorin, is thought to be a reference to the sun; so I can only surmise that whoever thought about it first was a big fan of tank tops.
Back to my characters, in The Scriptlings universe, magicians are of the well-established opinion that their chosen names should belong to the repulsive spectrum of the vocabulary. Names like Dung, Loo or Sewer are therefore perfectly acceptable. To find the “because” in this reasoning, you wouldn’t have to look further than tradition; but what a “because” that is!
What is your favorite bedtime drink?
When I really want to spoil myself, I find a mix of warm milk and Drambuie to do the trick. The trick gets even better when the proportions favor the latter.
Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?
There would probably be a Zen quality to that kind of job. The trouble is, I’m not terribly good at preserving the Zen, so I would probably end up finding something creative in that tedious job, such as blogging about it, or imagining ways of making others do my work for me.
What are books for?
My parents used to tell me that every book you read is equivalent to gaining another life. A beautiful metaphor, but it was quite wasted on me at the time, because the term “another life” had a completely different meaning to me, namely one related to those arcade games where you gain little hearts (lives) if you smash enough boxes.
All in all, I regard books as fuel for the imagination. I believe we all are afflicted with imagination, but what comes out of our minds is very much dependent on what goes in.
Who do you admire and why?
Quite a lot of people, for various reasons, but I’ll stick to those at the top. I am in awe (which is a few levels past admiration) with Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Like I’ve mentioned on occasion, I have learned English so I could read them and understand them better. It would come as no shock that they are also a huge influence on my writing.
I also hold a deep respect and admiration for Richard Dawkins, whom I regard as a modern-day champion for reason and a model of unpretentiousness*.
*Funny how pretentious this actually sounds…
Do you believe in a deity?
As you can probably guess from my last answer, no. I am a proud and outspoken atheist. As I write this, I feel like I must quickly reassure the readers of the fact that this doesn’t make me a bad person. As “The Proud Atheist” slogan has it: “Atheists believe in good”. Rather catchy, isn’t it?
I sometimes refer to myself as a missionary atheist, but I’m pretty sure that’s because the prurient resonance of the word “missionary” appeals to my dirty mind. I don’t actually go around sharing the word, as it were. One’s faith is too intimate of a choice to be influenced by others, no matter how well intended.
If you could travel to the past in a time machine, what advice would you give to the 6-year-old you?
To mind my own business and not play with paradoxes.
Do you laugh at your own jokes?
When I write a joke, which is usually something that happens without me actually intending for it to happen, there usually follows something best described as what-the-brain-does-before-I-start-laughing.
I don’t know why that happens, that is to say, why I don’t actually laugh. I can certainly taste the joke in my mind, and I often come back to it and appreciate its elegance (if it’s a particularly dandy joke), but I never do more than smile.
Will you take a shot if the chance of failure and success is 50-50?
Hey, I’m launching a book. What does that tell you? I wish my chances on this endeavor were 50-50, but I fear this doesn’t really work that way.
There’s a story I tend to recall quite often, when it comes to making it in the big world. It’s the story of Mike Oldfield and how he tried to get various studios to produce his groundbreaking project “Tubular Bells”. In short, no one would buy it. There was even this famous label which starts with an S (and rhymes with Tony) that utterly dismissed his work in no vague terms. In the end, Mike Oldfield signed with this newly formed label called Virgin and kick started an immensely beneficial journey for both parties. Oh, and the guy from “Tony” got fired.
It’s a comforting story to tell yourself, but it is quite misleading, in that it leads people to believe that all you need is persistence, a little bit of luck and quite possibly Richard Branson. However, what I think the story really tells you, is that you have to be Mike Oldfield to begin with.
A gamer by vocation and an office dweller by dint of circumstance, Sorin lives in the beautiful city of Vancouver with his wonderful wife and their vicious parrot.
Born in Romania, Sorin has stubbornly resisted the temptation to learn English for well over twenty years. When he finally gave in, it was not work and nor was it video games that weakened his resolve, but rather the mindboggling discovery of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Monty Python. With such teachers, it is no wonder that, much in the same way some lucky people learn to ride before they walk, Sorin has learned to be funny before being fluent (even if he says so himself).
A late bloomer, Sorin Suciu made his literary debut in 2013 with The Scriptlings, a tongue-in-cheek contemporary fantasy aimed at geeks and mortals alike.