A Q&A with Andrew Neil Gray, Runner Up in the Open Category
What inspired your story?
I've been fascinated by the Many Worlds Interpretation for a long time. My family emigrated to Canada from Scotland when I was a child, and I often imagined my shadow self – the me that stayed behind, and what his life might have been like. For the contest, I started thinking about what the world might be like if we could communicate with other universes; how would it affect us, and how would we find practical uses for this.
How did you go about writing it?
I brainstormed first, just jotting down notes with a sort of free-association, making lists of the ways people might use access to multiple universes. When I started thinking about format – how best could I show this world and some of the characters I had created in such a limited number of words? – the list/message format seemed to be the most effective.
Can you tell us about you?
I'm in my 40s, and I have been writing since my late teens. I received an MFA in Creative Writing in my 20s and published a book of literary fiction, but took a hiatus from writing when I became busy with my family and career. I returned to writing seriously a few years ago. I've been a science fiction fan since I was a boy, and decided to focus on this going forward. I work in educational programming at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
What interested you about the Quantum Shorts contest?
Everything! I have long had an interest in the strangeness of the quantum world and I wanted to write more flash fiction, so the timing was perfect. I saw a notification about the story posted to Codex, a SF and Fantasy writer's group I belong to.
How do you feel about winning this prize?
Delighted! There were lots of fascinating and talented stories in the shortlist (and I enjoyed a lot of the ones that didn't make the shortlist too), and it's an honour to be one of the winners.
What other writing projects do you have planned or underway?
As well as short fiction, which I continue to write, I'm in the early stages of a novel set in the same universe(s) as this short story. My brainstorming generated a lot of story ideas, far too many to fit into 1000 words! My personal website is at andrewneilgray.com