As we were moving closer to the release of Trenchcoats, Towers and Trolls I spoke to some of the contributors about their stories and what inspired them. I put together a blog post showcasing their answers to those questions here.
For this blog post I’m asking the same questions of an individual contributor, Nicola Kapron.
Question #1: Which aspect of this anthology were you drawn to the most originally, the fairy tale or the cyberpunk bit? Did you feel the same way once you were finished writing your story as when you started? Talk about that a little bit.
Tough question. I love the themes and aesthetic of cyberpunk, but hard science and I don’t always get along. On the other hand, I have a mixed relationship with fairy tales because it can be hard to put a distinct spin on an old tale. To be quite honest, I think it was the combination of both fairy tale and cyberpunk that attracted me to this anthology. By the time I was done writing, though, I felt that the fairy tale aspect of my story had won out over the cyberpunk aspect–which is fitting, considering the story ended up being partly about how magic and monsters will adapt and survive no matter what.
Question #2: Why did you choose the fairy tale/fairy tale aspects that you did for your story? Do you have a favourite fairy tale? What is it about that fairy tale that makes it your favourite?
I picked the loose trappings of “Three Billy Goats Gruff” because it’s the kind of fairy tale with a lot of room for improvisation. I knew I wanted something I could be creative with, so an archetypal story that’s more about fairy tale symbols than a distinct plot sounded like a good choice. I kept the rule of three, the troll under the bridge, the sense of lurking danger, and the name ‘Billie,’ and threw out everything else in favour of some cyberpunk-flavoured social commentary. My actual favourite fairy tale is probably “Little Red Riding Hood,” but it’s a bit harder to put a new spin on that one these days. I like that one because it’s hard to go wrong with wolves, deep forest, little girls in over their heads, and the painful kind of coming of age story.
Question #3: Is cyberpunk a genre you were familiar with and enjoyed prior to learning about this anthology? What aspects about it particularly appeal to you? What are your favourite cyberpunk books, tv shows or movies?
I’m pretty familiar with cyberpunk, though my background is more in fantasy and horror. My favourite part of cyberpunk is probably that it’s basically the sci-fi version of urban fantasy, which is itself basically just horror except you’re pretty sure the main characters will survive. Of course, survival is never guaranteed in cyberpunk, but the themes have some overlap. There’s a darkness and tension to cyberpunk that isn’t that common in other sci-fi genres, and that can allow you to explore the future from unique angles. But my story ended up being pretty optimistic, so take this with a grain of salt. My favourite cyberpunk book is definitely the Ghost in the Shell manga by Masamune Shirow, though Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro and Blame! by Tsutomu Nihei are also fantastic. I also liked the original Blade Runner quite a bit.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into mind of Nicola Kapron and some of the influences and inspirations of “Three”.
If you haven’t read it yet, you can pick up a copy of Trenchcoats, Towers and Trolls from any of the usual suspects (links below) or ask your local library to order it in!