Interview: Alex Shvartsman (IN SITU)

Name: Alex Shvartsman

Age: 35

Author of: “The Field Trip”

Current Geographic Location: Brooklyn NY

Original Hometown: Odessa, Ukraine


Recent publications:In Service of a Greater Cause” – Schrodinger’s Mouse issue 1; “The Skeptic” at Absent Willow Review; “Good Advice” at Every Day Fiction

Do you think alien life exists in the Universe? Given that the universe is infinite, it stands to reason that there should be infinite variety of life out there. If we travel far enough, we should encounter every science fiction cliché ever conceived. Of course, it’s much more likely that any intelligent beings humanity meets in the Milky Way are so very different from us, we might not be able to comprehend them at all.

If you could travel off Earth, would you? What if it meant you could never come back? If it ever becomes relatively easy to travel to other planets, I think I’d rather go as a tourist, return ticket in hand. Having already experienced moving to a strange and exotic new homeland once (to Brooklyn, NY from former USSR), I don’t think I have it in me to do it again.

What inspired your piece? I wanted to explore the concept of just how difficult it would be for historians to comprehend an extinct alien society, especially if they had to learn about it solely from the fragments it left behind. For example, imagine what aliens might think of us, if all they had to go on is a pack of Twinkies and a “Spongebob Squarepants” DVD? On second thought, that would probably give them a reasonably accurate snapshot of our culture.

What music or movies helped you to write this essay? “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” was probably more of an inspiration to me in writing this story than any movie or song. There is never enough humor SF out there, and while I am no Douglas Adams, I enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to the genre.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? I found out about IN SITU just a few days before the anthology deadline. Normally I am a slothful writer who likes to go back and change every paragraph seventeen times before even my cat gets to see a draft, but this time I did not have that kind of luxury. I was excited about this anthology and really wanted to submit something, but that meant writing fast and completely out of my comfort zone. I wrote the story in two sittings, revised it the following morning and then revised again in the evening. I submitted it at 11:45pm, 15 minutes before the deadline.

What is your favorite bit?

The planet in question had been populated by tool using bipedal mammals who learned to split the atom a little too soon for their own good and went boom. The scenario was so common in this part of the galaxy that there are entire digital storage units full of examples, and they are all filed under “Boring.”

Buy IN SITU now!

EPUB for nook and other readers, $3.99: Click here to buy DRM FREE

MOBI for nook and other readers, $3.99: Click here to buy DRM FREE

Trade paperback, 5″x8″, 248 pages, via Amazon, $9.99: Click here to buy ISBN-10: 0983137323

KINDLE edition via Amazon, $3.99: Click here to buy ASIN: B008J4ZBLW

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  1. Really interesting interview. I think I’ll have to read this story, now.

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