S. Kay - Selfies, sexbots, and drones collide in these interwoven nanofictions about a society before, during, and after its collapse

S. Kay, Reliant, tNY.Press, 2015.

Selfies, sexbots, and drones collide in these interwoven nanofictions about a society before, during, and after its collapse. With dazzling humor and insight, debut author S. Kay reveals a future that looks disconcertingly like the present. Beautifully illustrated by Thoka Maer, Reliant is a bold examination of society’s unrequited love for technology.

Reliant book open
S. Kay’s debut book “RELIANT” was just released by tNY.Press Books. It’s an illustrated apocalypse in tweets. Order it here.
What inspired you to write about the apocalypse?
I wanted to explore society after society, life among the survivors of the near-future, both human and machine.
What are your goals for the novel? What issues do you hope to bring to light? 
I hope to reveal there is menace in over-reliance on technology. But on balance, often there’s little harm and we don’t need to fear it as much as some do, demonizing with mecha robot destruction. Robots can be friendly. We can laugh with them. We can love. There are foibles as well as connections, fun and danger. But most of all, the issue I want to highlight is that we need to be more careful with environmental protection.
If you owned a bot featured in “Reliant,” which would you own and why?
I’d like to own an adbot that can project a 100 x 100 metre image onto a mountain. I would project little stories on the big rock, I’d love to work with the setting, and its incongruity. Jenny Holzer has done great work with projections but I’d like to experiment beyond her art, using my nanofictions.
What role do you think Twitter fiction will play in the future of storytelling?
It’s a medium well-suited to smartphones, due to its size. Twitter fiction could be better utilized and published on that platform in well-designed interactive presentations, in apps, to further the future of storytelling. I have a great book for it, looking for the right developer/publisher.
What drove you to the medium of Twitter fiction?
I was driven by the allure of a Twitter lit journal that no longer exists,
@Outshine, publishing sci fi stories. I’d written short stories and flash fiction, and had a novel in the drawer, but the challenge of the tweet form appealed to me. I kept at it, and got better in time. I enjoy it because it’s fast to write, edit, get published (relatively), and read online. It’s quick gratification, yet hard to do well.
What’s it like to write as a queer woman today?
This is a good time to write as a queer woman because the literary world has realized it lacks diversity, and in places is making up for it now. I have seen many calls for submission for queer, gender non-conforming, and otherwise diverse writers. At the same time, I don’t know that my queerest stories have many potential homes among mostly-straight narratives. It’s also awkward being bi in the past, because a novella I wrote, “Joy, available January 2016 from Maudlin House, features a hetero love interest and only a bi side story. I now write from many perspectives while living in a same-sex marriage, and thoughtfully make my stories gender neutral or LGBTQ.
Have any significant events hindered your writing process? How did you deal with this? 
Im formerly homeless, and for a time did not own a computer. I made up for it by going to the library and community centres. Ultimately a friend loaned me her old laptop, which made a huge difference and I wrote a lot of fiction on it. I’m still very grateful for that help.
What does your creative process look like?
I make a cup of tea or coffee, and sit down with my laptop on my deck (or indoor desk if it’s raining). I log into my draft writing locked Twitter account. Sometimes I’ll start with a keyword, like “robots,” or else I let my mind drift. Often I’m inspired by my environment, and “Reliant” has many tweet-sized stories featuring the ocean. Even in the apocalypse.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A plain bagel with light cream cheese, and peppermint tea.
What does a typical day in the life of S. Kay look like? 
Checking email, checking Twitter, writing fiction, sipping hot beverages, eating, fitness, chores. Sometimes meetings, teleconferences, appointments. Talking to my wife either long distance or close together. Petting my cat. Mindful appreciation of my surroundings and bountiful life.
What’s your advice for budding experimental writers?
I feel like I still am a budding experimental writer, and I don’t often follow writing advice. But I’d say: learn the basics, then how to bend or break the rules effectively, and practice a lot. I found wisdom in a Depeche Mode song: “Everything counts in large amounts.” Ironic for tweet-sized stories, but it’s still true. A large collection of nanofictions comprises “Reliant” – a book. - theeeel.com/projecting-little-stories-on-a-big-rock-an-interview-with-s-kay/


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