Charlie Jane Anders is the managing editor at science fiction blog io9.com. Since 2001, she’s organized and hosted Writers With Drinks, a spoken word “variety show” that features science fiction alongside literary fiction, poetry, comedy and other genres. She won the Emperor Norton Award for “extraordinary invention and creativity unhindered by the constraints of paltry reason” in 2009. Her writing has appeared in Mother Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes and Strange Horizons. She has a short story forthcoming at Tor.com.
Charlie Jane Anders
Tell us a little about Writers with Drinks, your spoken-word variety show.
Writers With Drinks rampages through the streets clad in nothing but strategically placed cocktail napkins, reciting cybernetically enhanced mashups of Emily Dickinson and Anais Nineinchnails. If you see Writers With Drinks, do not attempt to photograph it – camera flashes tend to make it shape-shift – much less detain it. If you must communicate with Writers With Drinks, use “I” statements without any verbs.
How did you get involved with science fiction blog i09? How has becoming an influential blogger changed your relationship to the field?
Annalee Newitz and I were putting out other magazine, a print magazine whose theme was not having a theme, for five years from 2002 to 2007. We published people like Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson, along with articles about human rights for clones and 21st century eugenics programs. We organized weird events to raise money for it, like our Ballerina Pie Fight. Annalee and I also co-edited a book of essays by female geeks called She’s Such A Geek!, which came out in 2007. So when Gawker approached Annalee to launch a blog about science fiction and science, she thought of including me, which I’m incredibly grateful for. Getting to write about science fiction every day was something I’d always dreamed of doing, but it’s been even more fun and exciting than I thought it would be. I already had masses of apparently useless geeky knowledge before starting this job, but I’ve learned an incredible amount in the past few years. I don’t really feel influential – I feel like people are willing to take the time to educate me and share their ideas with me. The best thing a blog post can do is spark some amazing discussions and exchanges of ideas.
Did other magazine relate to your interest in science fiction, or did it satisfy needs that science fiction didn’t?
The thing that was fun about other magazine was, it was full of curiosity about all sorts of stuff. A lot of the articles were on really random topics: Like, someone went and interviewed a bunch of people who were trying out for America’s Next Top Model. It was a really eclectic mix of stuff, and that was part of the fun.
In addition to your blogging, editing, and other endeavours, you also write fiction. Do you have any new projects in the works?
I’ve got a short story that’s been accepted at Tor.com, but I’m not sure when it’s going to run. I have a fantasy novel that I’ve been noodling on for a long time – it’s sort of a skewed version of the Hero’s Journey, with a lot of humor and introspection.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your work?
Only that I didn’t mean to kill all those people. I thought they were figments of my imagination, and by the time I realized the truth, it was too late and the people who actually were figments of my imagination were laughing at me. It was a setup.