This month it’s my pleasure to be interviewing another Speculative Fiction writer.
Tullio Pontecorvo is an aspiring science fiction author. He studies political science and international relations, and is currently working on a near-future sci-fi novel that explores the relationship between the individual and the ideological in a complex geopolitical environment. He’s also a freelance journalist.
Tullio believes the greatest virtue of speculative fiction is the Socratic exercise. Suppose blank: what are your choices, and your beliefs? A good speculative story can tell you more about yourself as a reader than about the author who crafted it, because it doesn’t beat you on the head with a stick: it confronts you with a complex situation akin to those we face in every day real life. That’s what goes into his writing.
I see you’ve recently started a blog. What are your current plans for it?
Tullio: At the moment I am following international news and European politics. I have a Mass Effect essay series running but that’s currently on hiatus. It will come back shortly. Other than that, I suppose I can’t wait for The Winds of Winter to come out, so I can run a chapter-by-chapter literary analysis. One day, hopefully, I’ll have my own publications to talk about.
I understand you’re a big fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Has his work influenced your writing?
Tullio: Absolutely. GRRM is, if anything, under credited for the way he handles themes and tropes. He doesn’t just deconstruct them, as someone claims: he pumps new life into them. As Emmett Booth of Poor Quentyn would tell you, the runaway message from the storylines of the protagonists isn’t that it’s not worth it to be heroes, but that being heroes is hard. And, say, Sansa’s arc isn’t telling you there are no true knights – but that upholding that ideal requires sacrifice, often without recognition, and it’s usually the ones outside of the actual caste that try to adhere to the lifestyle. Socrates would be proud of GRRM: the pars destruens, in which the old is deconstructed, is followed by a pars costruens, where you rebuild anew. It’s been an inspiration for how to handle my own themes.
Is there another author, besides GRRM, that you consider inspirational?
Tullio: Lovecraft. Cosmic horror is a huge element in everything I write.
What other works influence your writing?
Tullio: Most of my other inspirations belong to the visual arts. Some of them are movies like von Trier’s Europa, Alien, or Blade Runner. There are several videogames in there too: Mass Effect obviously, but also the Talos Principle, XCOM, Deus Ex… too many to count.
That’s a lot of different elements. How do you sort it all out for your writing?
Tullio: Well, it’s not a mish-mash. But I do believe that as a writer, you codify your experiences into your own words. Everything that has left a mark on me, be it art or history or politics, or personal life from love to experience on the workplace, it all bleeds on the page at the end of the day. That’s why it’s so important to keep writing: to impose form upon the chaos of our thoughts, to mold them into something we can show to others. Not with the aim of creating an approximate model of reality, although that intent is certainly laudable, but on a more basic level, to *talk*. To facilitate that process which is at the foundation of everything human and social.
Thanks so much for the interview, Tullio. Best of luck with all future endeavors.
You can follow Tullio on social media
Also check out the article he wrote for Earth Island Journal under a different name: