Flipping through these tales, I feel a mixture of nostalgia, pride, and embarrassment.
I used to write as if women were wonderful, fascinating aliens—over the years I’ve gotten better at depicting them as people.
Intoxication has remained a years-long literary obsession.
I first assembled this collection in 2012, and what you see here is the 2017 edition.(2) When I speak of power chords in the context of fantastic literature, I’m talking about certain classic tropes that have the visceral punch of heavy musical riffs: blaster guns, spaceships, time machines, aliens, telepathy, flying saucers, warped space, faster-than-light travel, immersive virtual reality, clones, robots, teleportation, alien-controlled pod people, endless shrinking, the shattering of planet Earth, intelligent goo, antigravity, starships, ecodisaster, pleasure-center zappers, alternate universes, nanomachines, mind viruses, higher dimensions, a cosmic computation that generates our reality, and, of course, the attack of the giant ants.When I use a power chord, I try to do something fresh with the trope, perhaps placing it into an unfamiliar context, perhaps describing it more intensely than usual, or perhaps using it for a novel thought experiment.(1) The notion of fictional thought experiments was made popular by Albert Einstein, who fueled his science speculations with so-called Gedankenexperimenten.Thought experiments are a very powerful technique of philosophical investigation.Walt Whitman spent his whole life revising and expanding one single book of poetry: Leaves of Grass.Complete Stories is in some sense my final anthology.My primary goal is not to make useful predictions that businessmen can use.I’m more interested in exploring the human condition, with literary power chord standing in for archetypal psychic forces.Like many professions, writing is something one learns on the job.Over the years I’ve published five print anthologies of my stories: The 57th Franz Kafka (Ace Books, 1983) Transreal! (Four Walls Eight Windows, 2000) Mad Professor (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2007). Initially I thought it would be futuristic to abandon print and to have my story anthology take on the form of an ebook, published by my own Transreal Press.