Adam-Troy Castro’s story “Arvies” was first published in the August 2010 issue speed of light magazine, imagine a society that believes only fetuses have souls. One consequence of this is that it is normal for people to never leave the womb using advanced technology.
“There are two kinds of people in that story — fetuses and ‘arvies’ who ride in them, have fun, and change regularly,” Castro said in episode 519. Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “[The story] Jumping back and forth between the point of view of one of the fetuses and the point of view of those basically mindless women you go to – by design – her destiny is to carry her around. “
“Arvies” was a huge success for Castro, winning the 2011 Million Writers Award for Best Short Story and appearing in magazines such as Nebula Awards Showcase: 2012 and Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novel of the Year: 2011“It’s a big story in my career,” Castro said. “I wrote it in an unusual style and it got a lot of attention. It’s got a lot of international attention, which is reassuring. I like it very, very much. I still think it’s the five best I’ve ever done. One of the good stories.”
But not everyone likes “Arvies.” Many readers bored with the horrific premise, or chose to read the story as a commentary on abortion, an idea Castro rejected. “A lot of people thought that particular story was lukewarm; a lot of people thought it was too dark,” he said. “Wonderful. You don’t like this one; maybe you’ll like the next one.”
Castro is notorious for pushing the envelope when it comes to horror fiction. It’s a talent he’s honed over 30 years, and he’s written stories like “Sweet Slow Dance to the Wake of a Temporary Dog,” about a tourist paradise that suffers a genocidal invasion every 10 days, or “The Pool’s Shallow End,” about a toxic married couple who raise their own children and fight each other to the death.
“You need to feel whatever emotional response the story is supposed to provide the reader,” Castro said. “If it’s a funny story, you need to giggle like a lunatic when you’re writing it. If it’s a suspenseful story, you have to be on the edge of your seat, not knowing how things will turn out. If it’s It needs to be scary, and you have to wonder, ‘Oh my God, can these things come out of me?'”
Listen to the full interview with Adam-Troy Castro on Episode 519 Geek Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
Adam-Troy Castro on his story “The Author’s Wife and the Giant Robot”:
[My wife Judi] Read almost all of my stories before I send them. This particular story, about a giant robot living in basically the center of Manhattan and killing a random person every day, is a writing exercise about death. Judy found a lot of logic problems, my conversations with her were great, I covered them almost verbatim when I wrote this story, and they helped guide the story…and very ironic to me, Judy’s Die, the story is kind of like a comment on that, because she was randomly taken away by giant robots. This happens to all of us; we all have stories like this. It’s unfortunate, but that’s life and that’s what the story is about.
Adam-Troy Castro on fans:
I went to a few scattered [science-fiction] Meetings were held as early as 10 or 12 years old. When I was about my age, there was a conference called Lunacon, which I believe was usually held at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. What interests me about that convention—actually all—is that at 2 a.m. Saturday, Isaac Asimov gave a speech. So I would buy a membership and go to that conference just to hear that talk. I did not participate in other panel discussions. I’d show up at that presentation and sit down, watch that presentation, say hello to Asimov – I can say he probably thought I was a miserable kid – and then I’d probably show up in the dealer’s room a little bit point. But then I left.
Adam-Troy Castro in Harlan Ellison:
I know people have their reasons for disliking him or disapproving of him, or – pardon me, I disagree with the word – trying to “cancel” him, but my answer to that is you don’t scoop out 30 years of friendship Or 50 years of literary admiration. You can’t do that. It’s easy for young people to do this when he means nothing to young people…I assure everyone who listens – it’s not me making excuses for Harlan, it’s something I tell them about life The thing is, if your idols live long enough, one day you have to apologize to them, and if you live long enough, you lose touch, you lose the respect of people younger than you. Sometimes it does. It’s part of being alive.
Adam-Troy Castro on his story “The Old Horror Writer”:
When Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein monster first appeared on screen, the first sight of his face was enough to make anyone in the theater faint. It doesn’t have that effect on anyone right now. We see more scary monsters in CGI every day. In fact, for 15 years, Frankenstein’s monster has been chasing Lou Costello. Monsters get dropped by horror novels. Writing a scary vampire story is very, very difficult these days.Hell, there’s a zombie movie called Fido in [the zombie] Is a child’s pet. This is a musical.I think that’s one of the things that pushes [“The Old Horror Writer”]. That’s what the story is about, and that’s ultimately the old horror writer’s success in that story.
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