Today I am interviewing Terri Favro, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Sisters Sputnik, the sequel to Terri’s 2017 novel Sputnik’s Children!
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DJ: Hi Terri! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Terri Favro: Hi DJ, thanks for your interest! I’m a Canadian writer based in Toronto but I grew up on the U.S.-Canadian border in a rural-industrial town called St. Catharines. (Yeah, it’s really spelled that way.) It’s not far from Niagara Falls. In addition to being what we’d now called a ‘rustbelt’ town, the Niagara region in Canada is home to a microclimate that makes it a good wine and fruit growing area, so it attracted a lot of immigration from Italy including my who were from the mountains of northwestern Italy. I grew up in a two acre vineyard. My father and grandfathers were enthusiastic winemakers, but Dad was also a bit of a techno-geek, an amateur inventor. He made his living as an electrician in a car parts plant and was eventually given the job of looking after the first industrial robot, UNIMATE. This was in the late sixties. Dad became completely enamored with UNIMATE (which he called “Robby”, short for “Roberta”, because in his mind the robot was a female). He started writing the odd purchase order for spare robotic parts that he’d bring home and use to build working robots in our home. I loved hearing stories about “Robby” from him and imagined her as a humanoid robot, rather than a gigantic robotic arm. We were the only kids on the block with a self-mowing lawnmower in 1970. So science, machinery, space flight, robots and sci-fi were big interests in our house (along with comic books, which I loved). My family was also obsessed with oral storytelling, which influenced me from an early age to start creating stories of my own. I was storytelling before I could read or write. I’m a fabricator of tales of the fantastic going back to my childhood. (That’s what my last name means in English – ‘fabricator’.) In addition to writing novels (four to date), stories, essays and one book of nonfiction (about robots of course), I’ve made my living as a freelance writer, mostly copy and content for ad agencies. I’ve worked on campaigns for technologies, like mobile phones, when they were still emerging.
DJ: What is The Sisters Sputnik about?
Terri: It’s an odyssey through the multiverse, crossed with a love story. At its heart it’s about what it means to be human in the unpredictable future we’re hurtling toward. Are robots and AI assistants capable of being as human as we are? Are humans becoming more like machines? Is storytelling the ultimate test of what makes us human?
To give a quick sketch of the storyline, three itinerant storytellers (a comic book writer, her unpaid intern and an AI) are wandering the multiverse, telling stories for anyone willing to pay. As quantum voyageurs, they’re able to jump from one time continuum to another. In The Sisters Sputnik, the multiverse isn’t infinite: new continuums are only calved when a nuclear detonation occurs in our reality, referred to as Earth Standard Time. That’s 2,058 worlds, to date, including all the test detonations since World War II. The book opens with the Sisters in the Coordinated Universal Time Zone, better known as Cozy Time, a world that has forgotten how to tell stories. Very profitable territory for storytellers-for-hire! The senior storytellerDebbie Reynolds Biondi ends up in bed with an old flame from another continuum, and spends one long night telling him the story of how the Sisters started to wander the universe, in particular their run-ins with a race of robot-people who want to send humans back into their own pasts and change the history of Earth Standard Time..Continue reading “Author Interview: Terri Favro”