Kevin Weir is an AMPIA Award winning writer of science fiction, fantasy, and comedy. A multidisciplinary storyteller, he has written short films, webseries, stageplays, as well as short stories. These short stories have appeared in places such as Red Sun Magazine, Enigma Front, and In Places Between. He lives in Alberta where he hosts The Third Space Podcast and lives with two dogs that he does not own, but are always around.
Kevin, you’ve written scripts, webseries, stageplays, short stories and now a novel. How do you keep all the various projects straight?
I tend make an effort, either conscious or subconscious, to not have any of my projects be too similar. I can write a stageplay that’s a comedy and a novel that’s a fantasy adventure because I will be in difference mind spaces went putting words to paper. I like writing a bunch of different kinds of stories, mostly because I have so many floating around my brain that demand to be put down, but also because it allows me to switch gears if I’m grinding one down too much. If I can’t get into the state to write a story that has heavy emotional resonance, then I can step back and work on something lighter until my brain resets and I can go back to that first story without slamming my head against the brick wall. With all that said, though, I always have one project as my primary. It’s the one that has a firm deadline or simply just the one that I decided is going to be 85% of my creative energies.
In Endless Hunger you blend fantasy with high tech. Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet.” How does this relate to your book?
That’s absolutely how I approached thinking about both the technology and the magic systems in the book. Some of the technology does astounding things, such as allowing a person to pass through a solid wall through use of state changes or rapidly sealing wounds. I wanted the tech to feel extreme. On the other hand, the magic is restrained. It has rules. There’s a process to go through just to banish a monster. By focusing on the explanation of magic and the wonder of technology, I can try to bridge the gap between these concepts.
Endless Hunger is set in the gritty reality of a dystopian New Montreal. What are the major factors that lead us to this future world?
I always hesitate to call New Montreal dystopian. At lot of the viewpoint of the city is given through a paranoid pessimist who can see monsters and that would certainly color the impression. I would consider it almost a “recovering dystopia.” It starts a hundred years after a global cataclysm, what people call the Final War. That war destroyed a lot of the planet through use of biological weaponry and completely reformed political lines. They’ve been through a century of military states and roving raiders. The technology that advanced during that time were ones of necessity, communication and medicine. I made a conscious effort not to delve into the history of the Final War or the rebuilding too much in Endless Hunger. You see the outcome of war, rather than the causes of it, because when a couple billion people are dead the causes seem to fade away. Maybe in later books I will, but I like the idea of focusing on the future rather than the past, at least in a thematic sense.
More and more we are seeing cross genre books, like Endless Hunger. Why do you think cross genre writing is becoming so prevalent now and what new genres will come out of it?
People are always looking for something new, but familiar. Genres are helpful for telling you before you consume a piece of media what to expect out of it. Not just that fantasy will have magic and westerns will have six-shooters, but the kinds of stories they tell. So to be able to recognize a familiar story in a new package, it honestly makes you feel good. It’s like getting that inside joke. We understand to a certain level the trappings of genre and as we are becoming more mature as a media consuming public, we are able to get those “inside jokes” of storytelling. And we’ve always been crossing genres, we’ve just been able to accept it more. Something like Star Wars has always been a cross-genre story. I’m hoping we’ll see more high-concept genre conventions, such as magic or super-tech, appear in stories where they are not the focus, such as family dramas or political thrillers. That’s always cool to me.
You recently appeared on a panel in “When Words Collide” on From Page to Screen. What are some of the most challenging aspects of converting a story or novel to a screen play?
To put it simply, economy of scale. You can put anything you want into a book and that book will still cost the same. But as soon as you introduce special effects, multiple locations, and dozens of characters into a film, you are adding to the budget. Not only that, the time constraints are different. In a book you have a word count, in a film you have a running time. 100,000 words doesn’t usually fit neatly into two hours, so things will have to get cut and the story will have to get condensed. And then in a more structural sense, books and screen plays have different tools. People react to chapter breaks differently than they do to scene changes. A flashback is less disruptive in a film than it is in a book, at least in my opinion. The reason it’s called an adaptation is because the story will need to change, it will need to adapt to fit its new environment and it will not be the same and that’s not a bad thing.
In terms of podcasts you co-host the conversational podcast The Third Space with Jeremy Verkley, but Level Zero is an audio adventure. What are the some of the challenges you face with The Third Space that you don’t with Level Zero because of the different formats?
I would definitely say Level Zero is harder. With all the people and the setting up of the game of D&D. We took a hiatus on that one and just recently are working to bring it back. The Third Space is nice because the editing is somewhat simpler. It’s kind of a goof and we wanted to keep the edit raw so it sounded like you are there in the conversation. I edit it as well, and I like to leave in the stutters and mistakes because it’s usually such a ridiculous conversation depending on the topic we are having that if the end product was highly produced, that would take away some of the spontaneity. Also sometimes the recording fails and we like to joke about that because we like how it cements down we are more than just voices on the internet. Most of the work we do is coming up with the topics and planning out the short skits we do, but even then they are loosely planned and mostly improv.
What are some of the authors you are reading now, and how to they influence your own writing?
I’m catching up on the popular ones I missed, such as just starting The Name of the Wind. Other than that it’s been a lot of urban fantasy by Brandon Sanderson and Jim Butcher. Plus my sister has been hyping up Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series and I’m pretty excited to start reading those. These books probably influence me more than I even realize, but for sure there are shades of the Dresden Files and Mistborn in my book. In a sort of funny story, I started writing the earliest draft of Endless Hunger before getting really into Dresden Files and actually took things out because I saw too much of a parallel. I’m not ashamed to be influenced by stories I enjoy, but everyone wants to be an individual.
Would you consider being a guest voice on Sage and Savant?
Of course! I’ve been working my way through the backlog and have not been bored yet.
This excerpt is available on iTunes.
Endless Hunger is written by Kevin Weir
Published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
Copyright by Kevin Weir
Audio Copyright Twinstar Studios
Read by: Chip Michael from The cast of Sage & Savant