In this first conversation, I get a chance to talk to M.L. Clark about “Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan,” originally published in Analog in April 2016. M.L. Clark was an obvious choice to start off this series: There is no writer I know of with a more ethically informed take on the genre and its possibilities. “Seven Ways” is a great place to start, allowing us a jumping-off point for a wide-ranging discussion I hope you enjoy.
RN: First of all, thank you for setting out on this experiment with me, and thank you for choosing “Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan” as the story you wanted me to read. It was fascinating, and there is plenty to talk about here: You wind a number of themes into this narrative. So, let’s get started.
I really like this passage: “Our cruise ship, the Nauta Sunrise, was a sleek, two-klicks-long number with all the amenities needed to pass an entire life in and out of stasis, waking solely to take in a new experience or view.” It crystallizes, for me, one of the themes of the story: the idea of exploitative tourism, of cultures that hold themselves in some way “superior” to other cultures regarding the traditions of those cultures with both fascination and contempt. A tour guide is summarized at another point as regarding the inhabitants of Yul-Katan as “endearing, if misguided” and there are many references, wound throughout the text, to observing and (mis)judging the cultures of others. Can you talk a little about that, and about your treatment of cultural misunderstanding in the story?
MLC: Great starting point. I’m glad this theme leapt out in the reading. I was aiming for something a little more sinister than “cultural misunderstanding”, but I also remember being apprehensive about pushing the point too stridently, which perhaps meant it came across too subtly instead. For me, cultural tourism is not a passive act, but rather an imposing of outsider expectations on specific spaces and their peoples. In consequence, the very traditions that many marginalized communities take pride in maintaining might have naturally transformed into something else over time, if not for that economic dependency on cultures in positions of greater power. My intention with this story was to take this concept to a grim conclusion: the idea that people in positions of power might know full well what they’re doing, in capping another culture’s ability to grow out of even brutal traditions on its own—supposedly in the interest of “preserving” other ways of life, but really to keep others in subordinate roles, serving well as entertainment.
RN: I don’t think your point came across too subtly or too stridently: in fact I think it is well-stated and just balanced enough. I should clarify that when I say “cultural misunderstanding” I am not talking in my question about the world structure we find out about following the big reveal at the end, but rather about the many moments wound through the text of misapprehension/misunderstanding (and fears of being misunderstood) that occur between characters. Also – in my opinion “misunderstanding,” which might sound mild, is very serious – it leads, in all cases, to some level of dehumanization, and in some cases, to exploitation and death. Even when it does not have personal, willful intent, I believe it is a product of a structure that produces and underpins it. That is to say, I think we often “misunderstand” those things the structures we were born into and live in demand we misunderstand or constrain us from understanding. I also think we restrain ourselves from understanding other cultures in order to avoid placing stress on the weaker points in our own narratives of self – or more interestingly, on the weakest seams of false consciousness – but that’s a digression.
Instead, here’s a follow-up question: You say above that your “intention with this story was to take this concept to a grim conclusion: the idea that people in positions of power might know full well what they’re doing, in capping another culture’s ability to grow out of even brutal traditions on its own—supposedly in the interest of ‘preserving’ other ways of life, but really to keep others in subordinate roles, serving well as entertainment.” I think you do that in this story: the “grim conclusion” is very clear. Is this “grim conclusion” that “people in positions of power might know full well what they’re doing, in capping another culture’s ability to grow out of even brutal traditions on its own” something you believe is already occurring in our present world – that is, the mundane world of now – or is this concept a speculative lens you are casting on a set of tendencies you fear may be developing? How do you see it?
MLC: It's funny to revisit this story after having moved to Colombia, because its core argument has only been affirmed for me in recent firsthand experiences. For many Indigenous communities in Canada, Colombia, and even Panamá (where I spoke with displaced Emberá men just a couple months ago), the only sure pathway to economic participation is through the performance of one’s culture in ways that serve outsiders’ expectations. And yet, this performance can also entrench exploitative internal practices in the name of maintaining “tradition”—especially with respect to the women in these communities.
In Canada, when I was first forming this story, I was struck by how convoluted our mainstream discourse was around the immense number of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Mainstream media didn’t know how to handle the fact that a significant number of perpetrators turned out to be Indigenous men—because in our small-minded, “blame the individual” approach to justice, this fact seemed to suggest an “internal” matter in lieu of a massive systemic nightmare.
Missing from that discourse, though—just as it is from the discourse for Indigenous communities with internal exploitation the world over—is how much these communities have been denied access to other ways of integrating heritage into the global economy. A much more life-affirming approach would be to centre Indigenous communities in education and policy-reform pathways that lead to a wider range of mainstream economic opportunities: in agriculture, natural-resource management, restorative-justice modelling, environmental sciences, and other fields of inquiry that Indigenous community leaders would be far better suited to naming for themselves.
In short, mainstream economies can eliminate the despair that leads to an entrenchment of brutal practices within marginalized communities, by providing the community members with greater agency to adapt their traditions inventively—but to do that, mainstream societies first have to be willing to give up commodifying other cultures for “edification” and entertainment.
RN: It’s certainly easier to blame the individual than it is to recognize or – even more – confront and change – structural inequalities in what I call “place time.” I find a bridge here between our ways of thinking about these issues. I’ll have to give a bit of background, though, on my “place-time” concept, which I’m pulling from another conversation:
Philip K. Dick had a simple, elegant definition of reality which I love: ‘Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.’ I think this works on many levels: First of all there is the fact (yes, I take this as a fact) that things in the world exist, whether or not we perceive them: Mount Everest is there, in all its physicality, no matter what my set of beliefs is. Even if I did not know it was there, it would be real. It is real, as a thing, even in the absence of consciousness to perceive it. Everest exists in space-time. But there is another level here to reality: Human constructions are also reality. They are structures built up of ideology and traditions, laws. These structures may not be physical, in the strictest sense, but they are real. They are actualities. They don’t go away even when we, as individuals, stop believing in them. They exist in place-time, the world created by the accretions of human culture. Charles Sanders Peirce puts it perfectly: “A court may issue injunctions and judgements against me and I care not a snap of my fingers for them, I may think them idle vapour. But when I feel the sheriff’s hand on my shoulder, I shall begin to have a sense of actuality.”
For me, these actualities are what define place-time. So, I can cease to believe in the values of capitalism, but it remains the driving force of our present economic realities . . . I can deny the importance of nation-states, but they will continue to exert influence on the fate of billions. I can claim that racism doesn’t exist in the United States, or that I am not a racist, but racism will still be a powerful, structuring force in our history and present society – a force that has shaped me and every other person who lives in that place-time. I cannot escape my position in place-time’s mesh. I am “of” the world in which I exist, though I can push against it.
Here’s where I find it links to what you are saying: You said, above, that “In Canada, when I was first forming this story, I was struck by how convoluted our mainstream discourse was around the immense number of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Mainstream media didn’t know how to handle the fact that a significant number of perpetrators turned out to be Indigenous men—because in our small-minded, ‘blame the individual’ approach to justice, this fact seemed to suggest an “internal” matter in lieu of a massive systemic nightmare.”
I agree with what you say, above, about our small-minded “blame the individual” approach to justice. A central question for me is, what is an individual, anyway? If I am “of” the world in which I exist, shaped by that place-time, what kind of freedom I left with? I do not think the answer is “none,” but certainly – to me – the fantasy individuality of the Western subject is a Cartesian farce, and I would argue that this embeddedness and entanglement of “individuality” in place-time is something we need to hold centrally in mind when we speak of justice. Is that something you would agree with?
MLC: Oh, Ray, I agree so much with these sentiments that I wrote two novels since the publication of “Seven Ways” that explore the limits of personal culpability in relation to situational identity and social-contract theory. The first proved too bleak for agents, but that alt-history of Soviet Russia from the 1920s through 1940s (with a 1950s coda) follows three people so caught up in personal feelings of failure brought about by the systems they inhabit that all but one misses their chance to make better choices with what fleeting time they have left. The one I’m currently pitching to agents, a space-opera inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1880), likewise focusses on how every actor in a system is relentlessly shaped by factors outside its control—even and perhaps especially when striving to perfect the practice of moral agency on an individual level. (We’ll see how that one fares with the market!)
It’s no surprise, though, that both these books were inspired by Russian literature and its histories. I count myself deeply fortunate to have read widely from non-Western contexts, especially those in which the myth of absolute individual agency never stood a chance. Even when pitching stories to U.S.-based SF&F magazines that claim (and I think sincerely strive) to want a range of styles in the writing, I’ve noticed how poorly the work fares with certain venues whenever its characters lack at least aspirational-middle-class agency.Of course, Aliette de Bodard already made this point far better, in “The Fallacy of Agency: On Power, Community, and Erasure” (Uncanny, April 11, 2017).
Some may well argue that one of SF&F’s main goals is to be “escapist”, to imagine worlds with greater agency than the ones that we currently inhabit, but for me the best escapes are those that deal frankly with what it is we long to escape from in the first place—and which also make clear to what extent such an escape from our current social contract and “nature” is ever truly feasible.
RN: You have a narrator in this story whose gender identity is never revealed, being concealed behind the shield of the first-person narration. It’s a technique I’ve used myself, in several stories. But what really interests me is this passage: “Imbra caught me looking—the driftwood contours of his back, the sweat-drenched sinews of his neck. I didn’t mind being caught. I smiled and reclined on one of the larger specimen crates as he changed his mind about changing into something that stank less of phytoplankton. He hooked arms about me with his skinsuit half undone. . .” the scene continues, becoming an (interrupted) sex scene. This is on the first page of the narrative, and what it does, I think, is very interesting. (And by the way, “driftwood contours” is a beautiful metaphor).
There are many ways to read what you are doing here, but I’ll suggest a few possibilities: One is that you seem to be daring the reader to make a judgement about both the narrator's gender and sexuality – dangling a trap for those who are stuck in a hierarchical, binary way of thinking. Alternatively, you also seem to be inviting your reader to step through a door with you, to engage in a different way of thinking in which possibilities are left to linger, and the imagination does not need to “lock on” to definitions of gender and sexuality, resolving and shutting down the openness of the scene. Can you speak a bit about what you are doing here with this scene, and perhaps (if you are comfortable) about some of the less-than-ideal assumptions readers of the story may have made about your protagonist’s gender?
MLC: You’re absolutely right that I wanted the reader to choose their own adventure. For those reviewers who noticed the lack of pronouns, the experience ranged from confounding (because of how much gender and sexuality had been intertwined in their point of view) to straightforward (“oh, some sort of nonbinary character—moving on!”). For those who didn’t notice the lack of pronouns—or rather, who thought that the lover being male made our protagonist’s gender and sex obvious—the character was simply female from then on out, full stop.
But it’s funny how much intertextuality comes into play for any reader. When I was still publishing under “Maggie Clark”—a non-ideal choice from the outset—I would routinely have people assume that my science fiction was “about gender” in some way. Literally, whenever I was asked as an SF writer to “speak on” the genre, academics always assumed that I’d be talking about gendered—by which they meant “women’s”—themes.
Now, it’s true that all my characters are gendered (all our characters are!), but even the challenging discourses about masculinity that some of my works address were flying under the radar. After making the switch to M. L. Clark, that… stopped happening, and it was easier to re-centre discussion on the alternative justices and social-contract theory in my work.
Likewise, we writers also carry chips on our shoulders. Two years prior, I’d published a story in Analog, “We Who Are About to Watch You Die Salute You,” that was written in the style of longform journalism from the 2050s: a heartfelt piece following four female astronauts hurtling toward a male-populated Mars colony that Earth now knew had been irreparably damaged. The story was supposed to capture the insincerity of our infotainment media culture, by illustrating how ill-equipped it is to handle monumental tragedies. The story starts, though, with a reference to Les filles de roi, a major part of Canadian settler history in which France sends over a slew of women to sustain the colonies. And some of Analog’s readers, many fairly conservative in nature, posted about their distaste of “prostitutes” being glorified in the magazine.
I think seeing the reaction to that story’s historical opening informed my choices with respect to “Seven Ways”. One thing every author has to learn is that, once a piece has been published, they cannot control how people will interpret what’s on the page. However, if I give the rules of my universe upfront, as soon as possible, then I’ve done as much as I can to help the reader decide whether or not they want to continue with my tale.
RN: I have two questions (actually, I have dozens, but I will limit myself). The first is: You say above “When I was still publishing under ‘Maggie Clark’—a non-ideal choice from the outset—I would routinely have people assume that my science fiction was ‘about gender’ in some way. Literally, whenever I was asked as an SF writer to ‘speak on’ the genre, academics always assumed that I’d be talking about gendered—by which they meant ‘women’s’—themes.” This reminds me of a passing comment made by a professor of mine that since men are perceived to function in our culture as a “default” position, and women are the “other” position, in fact there is only one gender, in the dominant frame of thinking, because a cover-up has taken place: the male gender has been rendered “invisible,” its point of view the “default.” That’s a complicated statement, and very much embedded in a deconstructionist conversation about hierarchical binaries, but I hope you get where it is coming from, because it seems relevant here – in that there is this intertextual assumption (which I do not share, and I want to be clear I am engaging with the comment above and making no assumptions about your identity) that since you have/appeared to have the “other” identity you would be continually interested in talking about SF from an “other” perspective, while the “default” people get to just talk about whatever they like – that is, they enjoy the full range of discursive power and potential, while someone named “Maggie” is limited. And moreover, that your discourses about masculinity would go ignored. Can you talk a bit more about this?
MLC: Huge issues, aren’t they? I have an extremely nuanced position when it comes to gender in genre, because I unfortunately feel that a lot of feminized persons are also responsible for this “othering”, inasmuch as the core problem is a lack of good historiography—by which I mean, a lack of widespread recognition that we exist as part of a longstanding tradition of women writing the world. This is where having studied literary history helps a lot, because from my time in academia I’ve seen how contemporary women also perpetuate bad historiography by, say, only elevating female writers from other eras in relation to themes of femininity, role-subversion, and romance—even when those forebears were absolutely also writing incisive political commentary, or engaging in scientific and philosophical topics of a more expansive nature.
I’m not the first to make this point, of course: Eleanor Arnason, in a 2015 essay for Strange Horizons, “Me and Science Fiction: What Are We, Chopped Liver?”, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in the introductory essay for Women of Futures Past (2016), are among those who’ve recently expressed similar frustration over having to reinvent the wheel when it comes to genre historiography.
Why do we forget our history so often? In part, because it’s lucrative for writers to present themselves as “groundbreaking” on a personal level, and to promote themselves as rare, subversive commodities. Much as many Indigenous communities often find their traditions compressed into those performances that might best provide them with economic success, so too do our literary economies tacitly pigeonhole the performance of gender, on the writer’s end, because radicalizing the work through author-identity can help publishers market certain brands.
Here, too, though, we run into the same problem that mainstream Canadian media had with the reality of internal exploitation among Indigenous communities: The above statement about the commercialization of gender could very easily be taken as criticism of individual writers for following the path that best allows them to harmonize personal identity with literary success—when really, my critique lies with the socioeconomic system itself, for driving people to commodify their identities in order to succeed; and often despite the immense danger that comes with performing one’s identity in our current world.
This is part of why we saw so much anguish around Isabel Fall’s January 2020 Clarkesworld story: because some trans and nonbinary persons found the story deeply traumatizing—especially when others weaponized it against the trans and nonbinary community entirely—while other trans and nonbinary persons saw the story as an affirmation of their own, messier journeys through gender, and were crushed to see it removed.
I don’t bring my nonbinary status forward much, but I felt it was necessary, back in January, to speak in defense of many writers who felt afraid of ever writing about their own gender experiences, after witnessing how the rest of the marginalized community viewed similar stories as nothing but potential weapons against real-life safety and security; and of course, after how Fall had been compelled to out herself as trans to calm the waters at all. Such is one extremely dangerous extension of our literary economy’s commodification of personal identity—and yet, where is the better alternative? Where are the pathways that allow for other forms of thriving?
I want to be clear on one point, too, because some in the feminist sphere will accuse people like me of “hiding” behind gender-neutral initials for greater literary success… but I also refuse to be part of any lists, or answer any calls, that are predicated on gender, sex, or orientation—and in so doing, I know full well that within our current literary economy this means that I am routinely “losing out” on being able to leverage the radical act of being a feminized nonbinary queer person for specific market-shares.
However, because our culture often conflates personal choice with a condemnation of all other possible choices, I also cannot stress enough that I 100% support other people’s different views on this subject. To me, the stratification of literary calls along author-identity lines feels like falling down the rabbit-hole of Zeno’s paradox, when what I want is for us to build a culture where every single one of our 7.8 billion experiences of being human is treated as distinct. To others, though, hard-won experience has yielded the conclusion that short-term stratification through fractalized self-labelling is what we need to build a better world… and guess what? If that better world cannot contain multitudes—even highly contradictory activist multitudes!—without seeking to collapse them to the One True Way, then it’s not really a better world at all.
RN: I think your ethical commitments truly come through throughout this story, and I know you carry those over into your non-fiction essay work, which I would really invite readers to explore further. I respect your openness and searching, and how you share that with the world.
My second question: Above, you say “One thing every author has to learn is that, once a piece has been published, they cannot control how people will interpret what’s on the page. However, if I give the rules of my universe upfront, as soon as possible, then I’ve done as much as I can to help the reader decide whether or not they want to continue with my tale.” Can you talk a bit about what techniques you use to give those rules upfront?
MLC: Oh, this is so much easier than that last question! I need to begin by pointing out, though, that the idea of establishing rules at a story’s outset is a highly Anglo-Western concept, not present in a great many literary traditions. I needed to put aside my reliance on the idea that a story will establish coherent rules at the start when, say, reading Tlotlo Tsamaase’s The Silence of the Wilting Skin (2020), a Motswana tale of how colonialism degrades everything, and which routinely proposes ideas about the world that don’t hold for more than a chapter, at best.
But, lo! I write in an Anglo-Western tradition, and I strive to establish reading strategies for the work at the outset. My first rule, then, is not to write with a traditional opening “hook” if I can help it—because for me, a more gradual or complexly written introduction conveys my trust in the reader’s willingness to engage. (And, conversely, allows readers who expect to be “grabbed” by a flash-in-the-pan declaration to bounce to another story, if they so choose!) Likewise, if I want my world to be immersive, rather than one in which the reader can expect explanation of every facet along the way, I’ll make sure the opening reflects that. If the reader is supposed to suspect the narrator of bias, cause for suspicion can be found early on, too. And if I’m aiming for more of a philosophical final statement, I’ll make sure that the aesthetic is seamlessly interwoven throughout—even if only in offhand remarks until the bigger, more devastating reveals.
(This last component differs significantly from what you find, say, in a lot of Chinese science-fiction in recent translation: a story might truck along with a highly action-based rhythm for two-thirds, then put on the breaks for a massive chunk of exposition to explain the ending. Anglo-Western writers sometimes do this, too, but “didactic” writing has been so heavily stigmatized in our culture that only a few really get to use it to any great success.)
RN: I like what you say above about how “if I’m aiming for more of a philosophical final statement, I’ll make sure that the aesthetic is seamlessly interwoven throughout—even if only in offhand remarks until the bigger, more devastating reveals.” I think that is something that is done particularly well in “Seven Ways of Looking at the Sun-Worshippers of Yul-Katan” – I think the themes continually emerge from beneath the surface, like stepping-stones in a stream. It’s a real testament to craft.
There is a lovely passage where you describe the experience of Imbra, who lives out of his own time. “Imbra was in one sense hundreds of years old, having fought in the last Allegiance war and escaped in a lifepod cast adrift for generations. The temporal and cultural disconnects when he awoke could just as easily have made him bitter, obstinate. Instead they heightened his understanding of his own weaknesses.” As someone who has lived extensively outside of my own country, this really resonated with me – especially the idea of a heightening of the understanding of one’s own weaknesses being a kind of wisdom. I like also the ambivalence here – the way his culturotemporal dislocation is described as something that could go either way. Can you talk a little about this theme, which I see elsewhere in your story as well?
MLC: I’m so glad you enjoyed Imbra’s character, because I loved him so much I went back and wrote a prequel story, “Belly Up”, which was published in Analog’s July/August 2017 issue, and again in Neil Clarke’s year’s best anthology. This story is all about weakness: in three movements, we follow Imbra as he uses his vulnerability to survive in situations with escalating stakes. I never go so far to suggest that weakness is strength, though, because none of his escapes reflect a person thriving—and indeed, at the end, he still loses everything to save himself.
But “Belly Up” was also one of those stories I alluded to elsewhere in our chat: a work that uses an SF context to explore complex masculinities. I believe that our genre needs to think better about how to apply notions of rehabilitative and restorative justice to people (usually men) who transgress to unconscionable extremes. Some recent, retributive fictions in SF&F have certainly felt restorative to many readers, but to me they’re often replicating the very violence that they claim to abhor. My hope is that they’re mere stepping-stones to better dreaming down the line.
In any case, at that prequel’s outset, Imbra has been “declawed” as punishment for a crime, meaning that he no longer has the hormonal reactivity necessary to protect himself once he’s released from state custody. He’s literally put at the mercy of other people’s ability to control their own anger toward him for what he’s done. Now, this circumstance changes for Imbra after he wakes into the era of “Seven Ways”—but in all times and contexts, Imbra remains a person who has had to learn to lean into his fragility to survive. Really glad that this came through.
RN: It’s difficult not to digress into discussing “Belly Up” too much, after that explication. There’s so much to talk about there. But instead, I’d like to return to this point you make: “I believe that our genre needs to think better about how to apply notions of rehabilitative and restorative justice to people (usually men) who transgress to unconscionable extremes. Some recent, retributive fictions in SF&F have certainly felt restorative to many readers, but to me they’re often replicating the very violence that they claim to abhor. My hope is that they’re mere stepping-stones to better dreaming down the line.” How, exactly, do you think restorative justice can be applied by “our” genre? When you say “retributive fictions,” can you give us some examples of what you mean, and some examples of how you view them as “replicating the very violence that they claim to abhor?” Finally – are there good examples you have found yet of “better dreaming?”
MLC: I’m going to begin by reiterating that while I have strong personal views about justice in genre-writing, those views aren’t a condemnation of others for taking different approaches. Works like Brooke Bolander’s 2016 Nebula- and Hugo-nominated “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” and Alyssa Wong’s 2015 Nebula-winning “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” simply left me cold when they flattened their prey—men who hurt women—to two-dimensional figures deserving of unlimited torture. Those who found these stories empowering would argue that this was the point: to treat these toxic men the same way that similar in the real world treat victims. For me, though, this illustrates how our work often replicates instead of transcending trauma.
Similarly, N. K. Jemisin’s “The Ones Who Stay and Fight” (How Long Til Black Future Month? , 2018), which operates in critical response to Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (New Dimensions 3, 1973), tries to imagine a better utopia, messier but striving; and yet—in a way no different from mainstream SF&F franchises like Star Wars—the supposedly better land of Um-Helat can’t seem to arrive at restorative outcomes without first killing a man for having transgressed: “the only mercy possible”. Unlike “Omelas”, this tale doesn’t simply present its egregious societal underpinning for reader contemplation, but rather, works to assure us that this is the only way, then entreats us to stay and be a part of it.
We do have alternatives, though. John Chu’s “Probabilitea” (Uncanny, May/June 2019) grapples honestly and openly with the protagonist’s desire to use her powers to murder white supremacists… and then has her find a different solution. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-08) likewise offers redemption arcs that have to be earned—but which, along with solutions for the most heinous of criminals, don’t require the taking of further life. And of course, Star Trek at its Trekkiest sought better justice through the sheer act of holding different perspectives in tension. Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series, and Hao Jingfang’s Vagabonds (trans. Ken Liu) all build on that principle wonderfully, by requiring their readers to experience a multitude of subject-positions when thinking about how best to build better societies. When Star Trek: Discovery returned to that narrative style in season three, by turning all the brutal and shock-value violence of the first two seasons into the foundation for discourses on trauma that allow for multiple approaches to healing… I felt hopeful. I think there is a lot that we’re already doing in SF&F to establish that vocabulary for “better dreaming” in the real world.
RN: As we discussed elsewhere, I have a hundred other questions I could ask you – you’ve given me a myriad of angles to consider further, but I’d like to end here, on this very positive note of your wish for “better dreaming” and all that entails for our genre. And with your permission, I’m going to steal that phrase, and use it as the title of this entire series of conversations. I certainly cannot think of a better one.
MLC: Thanks so much for this opportunity, Ray. What I enjoyed most about this experience was that you provided a way for the work to open into a fuller conversation about the cultures that surround text, creator, and reader alike. For me, this is the greatest honour that any story can achieve. I look forward to following the rest of the conversations in your series.
Next Month: Don’t miss Julie Nováková and our conversation about her story, “The Ship Whisperer”.