PRATT WALKS THE PLANK
Tim Pratt has achieved a high level of notoriety for his short fiction, including for a story from Polyphony reprinted in The Best American Short Stories. He also co-edits Flytrap, a cross-genre zine. Now he has a novel just out from Bantam Spectra, The Strange Adventures of Ranger Girl. I haven't read it yet, but what intrigues me is the range of reviews for the novel, from pans to raves. To me, that signals a more interesting novel than one that gets praise across the board, and I'm looking forward to it.
What's it about?
As night manager of Santa Cruz’s quirkiest coffeehouse, Marzi McCarty makes a mean espresso, but her first love is making comics. Her claim to fame: The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, a cowpunk neo-western yarn. Striding through an urban frontier peopled by Marzi’s wild imagination, Rangergirl doles out her own brand of justice. But lately Marzi’s imagination seems to be altering her reality. She’s seeing the world through Rangergirl’s eyes – literally – complete with her deadly nemesis, the Outlaw.
Two absolute scoundrels have blurbed the novel, which bodes well:
"Tim Pratt's The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl is a two-fisted meta-fiction of old west mythos and modern day – sharp writing, cool characters, fascinating ideas, and the courage to have fun. Readers of comics and classics and both will enjoy this novel." –Jeffrey Ford, author of The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque
"Rangergirl is a fine blend of imaginative and engaging – a tale well-told." –Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing and author of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
I met Tim at WorldCon last year and I have to say that he's one of the nicest people in the business. He was kind enough recently to walk the plank...
TIM PRATT WALKS THE PLANK
Why should readers pick up your book(s) as opposed to, say, just about anybody else's book(s)?
For that particular audience which craves a melange of Westerns, comics
coffeehouse culture, pretentious artists, non-pretentious artists, bisexuality, radical feminist golems, toy pistols, giant scorpions, skeletal buffalo, frustrated romances, and a love song to the city of Santa Cruz, I dare say my book is the only choice. All others should pick it up for the awesome cover by Michael Koelsch.
Does your book have any socially redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?
It teaches readers that there are few problems which cannot be solved via the careful combination of caffeine and paintbrushes. For remaining intractable problems, six-guns are suggested.
Does your book have any medicinal or mental health value to readers?
Several of the characters are mentally disturbed in various ways (obsessive compulsion; delusions of grandeur; schizophrenia; pyromania). In many ways, my novel could be seen as a fictional counterpart to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and as such, is recommended reading for students and practitioners of psychology and psychiatry, as well as their patients, friends, loved ones, enemies, and casual acquaintances.
Assume your book has been filed under "Ages 8 to 12" in the children's section, perhaps by mistake, perhaps not. How horrified do you imagine a child would be after reading your book, and why? How many years of therapy would the child take to recover from the experience?
Based on the Charles Dexter Ward scale of Cosmic Horror, where 1 is equivalent to the horror of discovering that beloved pets may eventually die, and 10 is equivalent to the horror of discovering that your aged parents are ardent practitioners of a particularly depraved subgenre of kinky sex, I would say my novel rates a 4 (for animated violence and sexual situations). It will take approximately 3 years of therapy to recover from the reading experience (more if the reader's parents are
cowboys or pyromaniacs).
If your book were a kind of fruit or vegetable, what kind would it be?
A prickly pear.
If no one buys your book and you are unable to continue publishing your fiction due to the intense vilification that occurs in the media, what line of work will you go into?
I hear good things about the booming service industry, so I guess I'd
become a barista (baristo?).