Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reader Appreciation Interview - Shaun Duke

Mulluane | Thursday, March 19, 2009 | 4 Comments so far

The Bio!
I'm a college student, which means I basically have no life whatsoever, except that I do, because in order to maintain one's sanity in college one has to have a life of some sort. It just so happens that my life revolves around staring at a computer screen, blogging, reading, writing, and chatting with my long distance fiance. Go figure.

On a less personal note, if such a thing exists, I am an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz studying Modern Literature, with an unofficial focus in science fiction (and its neighboring genres). I'm currently working on a research project for UCSC entitled "Otherism: the Dissection of Humanity and the Human in Science Fiction Film"


and figuring out where I'm going to go to graduate school to pursue that further (thus far it's looking like England is a go, provided I can find someone to sponsor me or figure out a magic way not to have $40,000 in loans to make it happen).

I'm also insane, despite all that stuff in the first paragraph about having a life to make sure I keep my sanity. I'm fairly certain that my sanity left me a long time ago. I love long walks along the glittering edges of supernovae, alien booze (preferably Gajak, because most of the other stuff is rather flavorless), and transcilodian ergonomic troglydominonics. And if you have any idea what that last thing is, feel free to let me know...

And I blog at the World in the Satin Bag


...a lot (about science fiction and fantasy, no less). But enough about me. It's time to answer some more questions about, well, me...

The Questions!

1.) What magical ability would you like to have and why?

Well, I'm going to assume I'm not allowed to have the power to give myself the power to do anything, so, I'll pick something more practical. I would like to have the ability to magically tazer people who are being complete idiots from any distance, with no side effects for the use thereof. Granted, half of the world would get tazered all at once, but I suspect that they would all deserve it for being, well, idiots.
2.) What would you do if you had a time machine?

I'd go back in time and kill myself just to see what would happen, and then I'd go back in time again and stop myself from doing it lest all that space-time continuum garbage get all mucked up. Or I'd go back and talk to dead famous people. I'm not sure which. It's a tossup. Flip a coin for me...
3.) You are an archaeologist and you discover something that no one has ever seen before. What do you think would be the coolest thing you could possibly discover and why?

Coolest thing I could possibly discover? Based on what? The world as it is now, or as it was 60 years ago? I'll answer both!

If we're talking today, I think the best thing ever would be definitive, irrefutable proof that the following is true (based on archaeological evidence in the form of writings, carvings, etc.):

a. Religious people are legitimately insane and need therapy.

b. Religion was all made up by Woolly Mammoths thousands of years ago in order to confuse human beings into being stupid for tens of thousands of years.

Not that all that would necessarily be a good thing, but I would certainly get a sense of joy in watching religious fundamentalists squirm in their seats over that...

And then for 60 years ago: I think it would be nifty to pull one of those cool National Treasure/Indiana Jones discoveries. Preferably the discovery of some ancient, long-lost civilization of space-faring ninja monks. If that isn't cool, then I don't know what is...
4.) If aliens landed in your backyard, what is the first thing you would ask them?

If they need directions to the nearest trailer park...

...or, perhaps, depending on my mood: how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood...but the first one would probably come up in most any situation...
5.) Who (or what) is your favorite cartoon character and why?

It's been so long since I've really watched cartoons that the only answer I can come up with for this is Stewie from Family Guy. I'd potentially lean towards Brian from the same show or Claus (the fish) from American Dad. Honestly, those are really the only two cartoons I watch on a regular basis and the only ones I deem worthy of my time these days.

As to why I chose those characters, well, I find Stewie to be one of the most interesting cartoon creations introduced to the unsuspecting masses in a while. As much as I appreciate all the faeries, morons, and other cartoon redundancies, I find Stewie's unflinching dedication to the destruction of the world rather uplifting. But, as I said in my bio, I'm insane.

Brian and Claus I chose for entirely different reasons than Stewie. I think Brian is simply interesting as a character primarily because he's a dog that also talks. The fact that nobody questions the talking dog thing is surprising, but it is a cartoon. Claus is basically what I would expect every stereotypical German goldfish to be like, which is, perhaps, why I find him so enjoyable.
6.) If you could have lunch with a famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

My grandfather. Technically he wasn't famous, but quite honestly, I don't know of any famous people that I'd really want to meet (except, perhaps, Poul Anderson). My grandfather was a cool guy, though, and generally pretty well known back in Placerville, California. He was a good guy and I'd like to have lunch with him one more time as he was before his many strokes and what not. Sentimental? Sure, but this question didn't ask me to be anything else!
7.) If you could be reincarnated as an animal (real or imaginary), what would you be and why?

Homo Novus, or whatever will be the next evolutionary jump in our species. I'm not particularly interested in subjected myself to a lower level of intelligence, or even a different level of intelligence in which what are, to me, considered to be rather useful modes of communication and emotional connection would no longer exist. So, under no circumstances would I choose something that wasn't an evolutionary step up from where I am now.

And to that whole argument about whether humans are animals: We are. Get over it.
8.) You are stranded on a desert island, and only one thing washed up on shore with you what (or who) would you want that to be?

My fiance with a pair of Amazon Kindles with every book ever made (including ones that haven't been made yet) implanted inside and with unlimited battery life. Yes, I can have both since there is nothing in this question that denies me the right to have one person who happens to be carrying something else. I refuse to be on a desert island without my fiance, and both of us would refuse to be there without reading material. We can fashion our own paper for writing stories out of the coconut trees and what not. Besides, those Kindles would have plenty of books on survival, which we would undoubtedly need.
9.) A lot of ancient cultures, like the Greeks and Romans, had a god for just about everything. What type of god could you envision yourself as and why?

I'd be the kind of god that would be loved for actually being relatively good to my people. None of that annoying punishment crap for good people. I'd be the kind of god that would introduce a radical form of Karma where the good folks would live forever and the bad folks would die off. Then again, I'm sure my definition of good and bad would be far different than what everyone else would come up with, but I like utopias that apply to me.
10.) If you could be a character in a fantasy or science fiction novel, what type would you be? (Wizard, assassin, warrior, spaceship captain, princess, etc...) and why?

Is it possible to be an assassin wizard/spaceship captain/warrior princess? Because that would be cool, don't you think? I'd have magic powers, combined with ninja quickness; I could fly spaceships and I would be a princess who kicks ass.

The Blog Plug!

I run The World in the Satin Bag (, where I blog about science fiction, fantasy, writing, and the occasional unrelated thing. I spend a lot of time babbling about the genre and chronicling my attempts to get published.

WISB is also the home of my first attempt at a blog novel (and technically my first novel ever finished), which goes by the same name (The World in the Satin Bag). I'm currently working on the sequel, which is proving difficult, but interesting nonetheless.

Other than that, I'm not sure what else to say about my blog. If you're interested in SF/F/writing/etc., then check me out. Leave some comments, subscribe to my blog, and, yeah!

Thanks to Shaun (S.M.D.) for sharing his answers with us!

Want to join in on the fun? Find out how here: Reader Appreciation Series

Mulluane is a 55-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest
Dragons, Heroes and Wizards


  1. What's weird is I ran across your site a long time ago (maybe a year or two) and lost it and now I've found it again.

    I'm totally for the tazer idea. One of the reasons I'd never make a good cop is I'd use the thing waaay too much. And if I had an old truck that I could use to ram stupid drivers, I would.

  2. Great interview! Like the way you think. Especially your thoughts on religion.

    Small world, my grandfather when he retired moved from Palmdale to Newcastle. I remember him mentioning Placerville a few a times.

  3. Read your interview with interest. Due to my experience I try to avoid to talk about religion because it's like walking through a minefield.

  4. Great interview! Hilarious, in a typically Shaun Duke kind of way. Wouldn't those Kindles be a little waterlogged, though? I don't think sand and salt water are too good for e-readers.


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