It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.
Today’s interviewee is C.S. MacCath. Her story for B is for Broken was the longest piece in the anthology and I think her contribution to C is for Chimera was the shortest–and length is only one of the ways her work shows her huge range. C.S. MacCath is a master storyteller with a poetic style that I freaking love. Love!
What letter were you assigned?
Did you struggle with the letter you were given?
I rather like to think of it as processing the letter and theme against a story idea. I’ve written three stories for the Alphabet Anthologies now, and I’m developing a pattern. I receive my letter and theme, and then I think about whether or not an existing story idea might be developed using them (I have a personal wiki page full of story ideas I hope to develop someday) . If so, then I start writing. If not, I do a bit of research/worldbuilding and let the story shape itself. In this case, it was a bit of both.
What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?
I didn’t have a favourite, unused word. The title popped into my head right about the time the story took shape. Convenient, that!
What kind of chimera is your story about?
My story is about three sentient supermassive black holes at the end of the universe who take the shapes of things they’ve swallowed throughout time.
What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?
Suns themselves; forges of the elements, great-grandmothers of life, death-bringers.
Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?
I am all goat; capable, adventurous, and stubborn as hell.
If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?
I’d want the head and curving horns of a goat (for reasons mentioned above), the wings of a raven (for cleverness), and the body of a garter snake (for transformation). You might call me a Govenke.
What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?
I’m already composed of star stuff, coffee, and half-told stories. I don’t want for any other shape.
Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?
To write all of the stories I want in the time I have.
Can you share a short excerpt from your story?
Before the ancient stars coalesced into brightness, in the vault of the foregoing universe, there were sorrows too great for any being to bear, and the greatest of these was the sorrow of ending. Not the end of a day, with its sundown promise of another sunrise, and not the end of a life, while memories of the dead remain and there is hope in some hearts for the soul’s journey onward. No, this sorrow was vast, cold and complete, and it spanned the void of space among the last rough fragments of matter strewn in terminus.
Who was there to grieve in that heat death? Scripture tells of three; supermassive singularities at the end of their gathering in, brooding upon the cacophony before and the quiet ahead, sacrificing radiation to become chimeras of the wonders they once devoured. There was Face-of-Time, in whose mouth a trillion tongues cried out in languages long extinct. There was Skin-of-Suns, fat with the orbits of planets given to memory. And there was Feet-of-Entropy, fevered with a dance of creation fallen to stillness.
C.S. MacCath is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry whose work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Mythic Delirium, A is for Apocalypse, B is for Broken, Murky Depths and other publications. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Rhysling Award, while her fiction has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award.
Find C is for Chimera online: