Today, we are talking with Bascomb James, the anthologist and editor of the Far Orbit anthologies published by World Weaver Press. The first Far Orbit volume, Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures was published in 2014 has garnered many outstanding reviews. The second volume, Far Orbit Apogee, was released earlier this week (October 13, 2015). Bascomb is currently reading submissions for the third Far Orbit volume, Last Outpost, which concentrates on military science fiction stories.
Bascomb received his doctoral degree from the University of Notre Dame and he currently works as a clinical virologist for a large hospital system. Bascomb credits his interest in science, engineering, and invention to the science fiction stories he read as a child.
Bascomb, can you tell us what inspired you to create the Far Orbit Anthology Series?
Sure, I’d be happy to explain. Science fiction and I were constant companions and best buds during my formative years, but somewhere along the way, we drifted apart and eventually went our separate ways. I missed my old friend. The familiar optimism and shared sense of wonder I loved was replaced by grim dystopian futures of the new SF landscape. The genre’s darkness and despair sucked the life out of the room. I kept thinking that science fiction shouldn’t be a dose of castor oil you choke down because someone said, “It’s good for you.” Science fiction should be fun to read, optimistic, and inspiring. With that in mind, I pitched the idea of a “Grand Tradition” SF adventure anthology to World Weaver Press and received a green light to proceed.
What is it about science fiction that appeals to you?
I love science fiction because of the compact that exists between SF readers and writers. The willingness of SF readers to suspend disbelief, gives SF writers unfettered license to create, awe, and entertain. The genre has no limits, no taboos, no preconceived notions of what constitutes right and wrong. In this barrier-free universe, the SF reader can experience the wildest ride imaginable. Sometimes the ride is uncomfortable; sometimes it’s mind-blowing. I also like SF because it provides a vehicle for transporting social issues to faraway worlds where they can be examined without bumping into emotional, theological, and cultural firewalls. Science fiction also helps me to understand how technologies interact and shape our social and economic systems. Contrary to popular belief, SF isn’t just about aliens, spaceships, and fantastic gizmos, it’s about us, our hopes and fears, our passions, motivations, intentions, and prejudices. More than any other genre, SF shows us what it means to be human.
Who are your favorite or most inspiring Science Fiction authors?
Wow! There’s so many. Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Lois McMaster Bujold, David Brin, Poul Anderson, Keith Laumer, Gordon R. Dickinson, Andre Norton, Ben Bova, L. Sprague de Camp, Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison, Tanya Huff, Anne McCaffrey, Frederick Pohl, Terry Pratchett, Kim Stanley Robinson, Eric Frank Russell, E.E. (Doc) Smith, Verner Vinge, and James White.
If you could bring one SF-inspired technology into our world today, what would it be?
Energy technologies – fusactors producing clean, cheap, and safe energy and high-capacity, non-polluting batteries like those used in phasers and light sabers. Today, many of our environmental problems revolve around energy generation and burning of fossil fuels. What if we could drive our cars from coast to coast on a single battery charge? What if every household and factory could be “off the grid?” What if airplanes and ships ran on electric motors? What if coal and petroleum products were only used to produce lubricants and chemical feed stocks? What would the world be like?
If you could hang out with any character from a sci-fi adventure, who would you choose?
Jame Retief, the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne (CDT) official from Keith Laumer’s Retief stories. Jame is pragmatic and anti-establishment, well-read, and he has a taste for fine food and wine. He’s also the guy you want on your side when the party gets rough. Or maybe I’d hang out with Dejah Thoris. just because…
Anthologist Bascomb James can be found online at bascombjames.com. He also tweets science fact and science fiction news from @BascombJ. Catch him at WWP's live Twitter chats #SFFlunch the third Friday of every month, Noon-2:00 PM Eastern Time.
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.