From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Everything Is Woven Of Stories: Sergey Gerasimov

The author of this week’s story, The Most Dangerous Profession, is Sergey Gerasimov. We asked him about his story and his views on writing.

Fantasy Magazine: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself as a writer? Why do you write, and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Sergey Gerasimov: I write because I know that everything around us is woven out of stories. When I notice a story that cries out, “tell me! Tell me!” I can’t help telling it. I don’t make up stories; I usually see them in all the details. In “The Most Dangerous Profession” only one detail was made up: “The door was dark blue, with horizontal stripes, with a white oval number and a withered strand of creeper hanging from above it.” Everything else somehow existed, solidly enough to be seen. The most solid personage was Marsha the Saw.

About the achievements: I know only one thing that matters — to write every next story better. It’s interesting and worth the candles. The else is vanity.

FM: Do you have more in common with the narrator of “The Most Dangerous Profession” or the poet who is his patient?

SG: With both equally, but not much.

I like books and their smell, and I think that words are important in this world.

I am a moderate realist. The paragraph “I think the truth lies in the no man’s land between realism and surrealism, that’s why realists always see one side of it, and surrealists see the other: the optical illusion, which guarantees an unbridgeable disagreement between them. A staunch realist reminds me of a man who tries to chew only using his upper jaw, despising his lower one, or estimates a distance after closing his left eye.” is something I believe in. That’s why I write speculative fiction – I think it fits our world better than realism.

But I don’t agree with the Poet’s derogatory words about prose. I believe prose can talk about the Wonderland in Alice, and this particular story was a feeble attempt to do it.

And I like fried sazan, cold and not very fat, served with vegetables, for breakfast.

FM: What speculative fiction writers have influenced your writing? Where do you see yourself fitting into Russian speculative fiction?

SG: Gogol, Alexander Grin, Sheckley. At the moment, I don’t see myself fitting into Russian speculative fiction. I temporarily stopped writing Russian because I stopped enjoying reading most of the things that are published in Russian now. I hope it’s not permanent.

FM: Does your degree in theoretical physics influence your stories at all?

SG: Yes. Theoretical physics is very poetic and very speculative.

FM: You’ve had a dozen novels and over a hundred short stories published in Russian. Are they all speculative fiction?

SG: No, but most of them are.

FM: Do you feel more comfortable working with short stories or novels? Are there other art forms you’d like to try?

SG: I feel quite uncomfortable working with novels. I don’t see that everything around us is woven out of novels — perhaps I’m a bit short-sighted for this. That’s why, when writing a novel, I have to either make up things or compile a novel from stories. I’d like to try poetry, but I don’t know how to combine the form with the content.

FM: For readers who enjoyed your story, where can they find more of your work? Do you have anything coming out soon?

SG: For example, in Clarkesworld Magazine, The Glory of the World. It’s a surrealistic story, which some may find difficult to digest. But it’s about serious things.

Nothing written in English is coming out soon.

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