Thursday, June 21, 2012

D. All of the Above -- The Multi-Medium Talents of Stephen Antczak

Novelist. Comic book writer. Publisher. Filmmaker. Screenwriter. All these words describe Stephen Antczak. (And I have to fess up here: After meeting him, it still took me three years to learn to spell his last name correctly.)

But that doesn't detract from his talent. No matter what medium he uses to tell a story, he tells it skillfully. And that's why you should get to know him.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

I finished a YA science fiction novel in March called A GATHERING OF AENGELS that's book one of a fairly extensive series concept. I started work on the second book. I may publish the YA stuff under a pseudonym, though, to differentiate it from my obviously for-grown-ups stuff that's already been published.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I tend to revisit the concept of "the price of power," as in the price a hero pays for having great powers, or the price for getting what one has always wanted. I also tend to look a lot at whether or not humanity has what it takes to become a star-faring civilization, and if we even deserve that. I mean, if I were an advanced alien race with the power to grant humanity a way to expand beyond the earth and join a so-called "Galactic community," I'm not too sure I would just yet.

What would be your dream project?

The AENGELS book series is one. I'd love to write a big budget science fiction or fantasy movie...well, actually, I have written several, but I'd love to see one of them actually made. Also, nonfiction has really captured my imagination lately, with books like GARBOLOGY and THE EERIE SILENCE or A BEAUTIFUL MIND. I have ideas for books that could explore the intersection of science & economics or science & history.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

The beauty of being a writer in the computer era is that we can do that all the time, and I have. My novel THE ORACLE PARADOX, a techno-thriller for grown-ups, is in line to come out as an ebook after my short story collection, EDGEWISE, which is currently a Kickstarter.com project. The ORACLE novel took me a total of fifteen years, on and off, to finally get to where I was happy with it, and I am quite happy with the final version.

What inspires you to write?

A desire to express myself: my ideas about good and evil, right and wrong, etc. It's also a good way to "get involved" in one's varied interests, allowing a person explore ideas that intrigue them, like whether or not there's intelligent life on other world's and what it might be like, why people make the decisions they make, what our deepest belief systems say about us, etc. You feel like you're contributing to the discussion in some way, even if it's a small way through a short story or a comic book or a poem.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Hard to say. I know that Harlan Ellison's work certainly influenced my writing when I was younger, but only in certain stories is it apparent. Same with the Heinlein juveniles. I read hundreds of science fiction books growing up, all the usual suspects, so obviously as a field I'd say science fiction had the largest influence on me in many ways. Comic books definitely influenced me in a big way, too, as did the Tolkein books and the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Movies and TV shows like Star Trek and Star Wars, Logan's Run, Aliens, Rollerball, 2001: A Space Odyssey and such influenced me. A lot of stuff that didn't have anything to do with sci-fi and fantasy, at least on the surface, influenced me, as well, like The Warriors, Woody Allen movies, and Steve Martin's comedy.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Mostly art, I guess. I don't know. Started out as mostly art and moving towards science continuum, perhaps.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug? 

My second short story collection, EDGEWISE, is currently on Kickstarter.com as a project to fund the cover. Once I have a cover I like I'll self-publish it as an ebook and then move on to THE ORACLE PARADOX as an ebook. I may self-publish the AENGELS book as an ebook after that. We'll see. I've also posted three screenplays to Amazon Studios in the hopes something happens with them there.

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For more information, visit Stephen's blog, IMDB page, or Amazon author page.