Friday, December 7, 2012

Nina Munteanu Interview on Speculating Canada

What does science fiction and ecology have in common? And what can they do together for humanity and the planet?

Derek Newman-Stille of Speculating Canada challenges author and ecologist Nina Munteanu with awesome questions on the nature of speculative fiction and the literature of the strange and fantastic.

On the topic of who exactly is Nina Munteanu: "I'm a bit of a bohemian and enjoy wandering the world in search of the strange and wonderful."

On the topic of curiosity's role in creating a better future: "Curiosity feeds our souls. It slows us down so we can pay attention. It teaches us to be interested in the world, to observe and feel. It helps us crawl outside the box, peer around corners into dark alleys where thrilling adventure lurks."

On the role of SF: "the literature of the fantastic: speculative literature, science fiction, fantasy...explore--nay--celebrate and bridge the gap between logic and imagination, the mundane and the extraordinary, the known and the strange, order and infinite possibility.

On the role of speculative fiction: "Speculative fiction predicts consequence to current conditions. It projects into the future or alternate reality from current paradigms in science, technology, and society. Speculative fiction uses the premise, "What if?": "What if this continued?"; "What if we used that this way?"; "What if this caused that?" It provides the proverbial canary in the mine on society. Speculative fiction doesn't just 'tell us'; it can 'show us'."

About balancing her science and her fiction: "My fiction and my ecology have co-evolved in a synergistic way. My interest in ecology stems from my interest in preserving this planet as well as my fascination for how Gaia works; these themes pervade most of my fiction and much of my non-fiction articles and essays...Both ecology and science fiction explore consequence in a big way."

On how these two pursuits influence the other: "Writing science fiction has opened the doors of creative problem solving in my scientific pursuits; and my science has opened windows of possibilities in my writing."

On the role of SF in raising environmental awareness: "Science fiction is the literature of consequence that explores large issues faced by humankind; it can provide and important vehicle in raising environmental awareness."

On her interest in the outsider, as featured in Darwin's Paradox and The Splintered Universe Trilogy: "I find the concept of the outsider fascinating from a psychological perspective. How we treat the unknown (e.g., with suspicion and fear or with wonder and curiosity) tells so much about who and what we are."

On the role of media in influencing what society considers socially desirable or the biases that develop: "We are a fickle, multiplexing culture who want it now, fast, easily digestible--and already summarized. Letting others decide for you what is newsworthy is so dangerous; it spawns gossip and feeds into propaganda."

On the influence of her Canadian identity in the worlds she creates: "Canada is a truly multi-cultural country and serves an excellent fractal microcosm for writing about mixed civilizations in the universe."
For the complete interview go to Speculating Canada.

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.

No comments: