Interview with Kat Otis
Please share a short excerpt from your story/stories:
Humans were never meant to fly.
That thought consumed Morgaine as she stared out the Mosquito’s windscreen at the thickly-falling snow. If humans knew what was good for them, they would be content to fight over earth and leave air to the corvidae, water to the leviathans, and frost to the giants. Unfortunately, humans had never been very good at sharing – among themselves or with the other great species of the world.
Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? Do you think you were successful? The characteristic I wanted to highlight the most was corvid intelligence. When I was trying to decide what kind of corvid to write about, I started by browsing bird websites and quickly fell into a research pit of corvid videos where they showed amazing levels of intelligence and tool use. Obviously the only proper response was to elevate the corvidae as a group to be as sentient as humans and… um… leviathans and frost giants. I sure hope I was successful, as the story makes very little sense without it!
If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? If I had to live in a nest, it would be a giant bean bag. Actually, sophmore year of college my roommate and I put a bean bag in a corner of our tiny dorm room, for an oft-visiting friend of ours, and called it her nest. So… I guess I sort of already have built a nest out of a bean bag 😉
What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? Shiny new ideas, of course! For example, I was just working on my latest shiny new idea, a steampunk piece with exploding airships, and- OH NEW SHINY NEW IDEA GOTTA GO LATERS!
As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂
Mr. Yegpie: It would be cool to know where all these stories came from, I mean geographically – like I think I could tell who was from Edmonton and who was from Vancouver! (Where do you live, and did that affect your story/poem at all?) Oh, ye spoiled ones of fixed addresses! In just the last seven years, I’ve lived in twelve places, four time zones, and two countries. I’ve lived at latitudes ranging from 34.2 to 51.7 N, longitudes ranging from 0.1 to 118.1 W, and altitudes ranging from 115 to 2,080 feet. Or, as they say on Facebook, “it’s complicated.” My location has probably only affected my story in the most general ways – I have yet to live somewhere that it doesn’t snow.
Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?) Well, I started with World War Two spy pigeons, because, hello, SPY PIGEONS! Who of course immediately morphed into corvidae for the purposes of this anthology. Then I added a pinch of recent personal tragedy, a dash of additional historical research, and a pound of advice on how to crash airplanes from the family pilots. Voila!
Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?) Definitely the ravens of the Tower of London. What other birds have the power to topple an entire empire just by deciding to up stakes (up coops?) and move? But after that, I’ll give you magpies, who are pretty awesome.
Kat Otis lives a peripatetic life with a pair of cats who enjoy riding in the car as long as there’s no country music involved. Her fiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction and Penumbra eMag. She can be found online at www.katotis.com or on Twitter as @kat_otis.
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