Conversations with the Bookless: Chris Nakashima-Brown

As promised, I am continuing Jeff’s excellent Bookless series but with a Texas bent. Over the next two weeks, I will introduce you to three Texas short story writers, each with a unique perspective. As for what the series is about I think Jeff said it best.

In support of the short story, and specifically those talented writers who are currently “bookless,” which is to say those writers who are at that stage of their career where a collection or novel is a year or more away, I’m doing a new feature called Conversations with the Bookless, of which this is the fifth (2nd Texas) installment. (The first four were with Rachel Swirsky, Nathan Ballingrud, Paul Jessup, and Scott A. Cupp.) The fact is, if you don’t have a book out, it’s harder to get attention and it’s harder for reader attention to crystallize around you. I hope these interviews introduce readers to some of the great talent that, in the coming years, will be amazingly and bountifully bookful.

Beginning in 2002, Chris Nakashima-Brown exploded onto the gonzo slipstream short fiction scene energetically displaying bouts of both brilliance and confusion. His unique works have been compared favorably to Borges and Ballard, and been called “a cross between William Gibson and Mark Leyner” (Boing Boing) as well as “Neal Stephenson meets Hunter S. Thompson” (Cory Doctorow). Tales like “The Bunker of the Tikriti”, “Immaculate Perception”, and “Script-Doctoring the Apocalypse” cemented Chris Nakashima-Brown’s reputation as one of the most exciting new writers of the 21st century.


Where are you, right now, as you’re writing these answers?
In a little room next to an alley in old Austin, sitting at my government surplus tanker desk, while the disembodied head of Dick Cheney (a vinyl mask) stares at me from his perch atop William Vollman’s seven-volume treatise on violence, Rising Up, Rising Down.

What do you like most about short fiction?
Its shortness, and the freedom that entails.

What do you most value in the fiction you love?
Truth and the everyday fantastic. The use of raw sensation pinging off disparate referents to spelunk deeper territories and big ideas.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned in the last week?
That Chihuahuas were originally bred by the Aztecs as meat dogs.

Where can we read your fiction online right now, and where is work forthcoming? (online or off)
The newest piece is my story about some wacked out near future media-jammers, “R.P.M.”, which appeared in Futurismic this spring. I also have some of my “psyops fiction” from the past few years online at The Infinite Matrix, Strange Horizons, and Revolution SF – a complete bibliography with links is at my website – and a fun interview I did last summer with RU Sirius for his NeoFiles show.

I have a story upcoming in Jay Lake and Nick Mamatas’s Spicy Slipstream Stories, and several others in the hopper for the new year – stay tuned.

And I am a regular contributor to the No Fear of the Future blog.

Why do you write?
To impress Jodie Foster.

How do you plan to rectify your booklessness?
I have a proposal for a collection sitting with one the genre’s top small presses, and a longer work in production – a pretty dark contemporary thriller that realizes the imminent dystopia already burbling around us. All you can do is keep dripping water on it – in the meantime, I’m having fun every day and delighted to have some audience for my work.

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