Mini-Interview – Matthew Hughes

For our first contributor mini-interview we welcome cover-star Matthew Hughes, who donated a great reprint to Ecotones and now provides us with an original piece: the origin story of an entire city!

Matthew writes science fiction and fantasy, and his short fiction has appeared in magazines and anthologies including… that is, his works have been short-listed for awards such as… look, if I went through all that we’d never get to the questions. He’s a former journalist and freelance speechwriter, and lately he’s self-publishing collections of his short fiction at

  • What was the first story you ever wrote, published or not?

An untitled school composition when I was ten, involving a bicycle race, a steep hill, and a hay wagon.

  • Who’s your famous-around-the-whole-world hero?

Henghis Hapthorn, foremost freelance discriminator of Old Earth in its penultimate age, one aeon before Jack Vance’s Dying Earth. Because I’ve published nine short stories and three novels about him, and people keep buying them.

  • Ah: very literally “your” hero. So, who’s “your” no-one’s-ever-heard-of-that-one hero?

Alex, the hero of my first (and very bad) fantasy novel, The Fifth Age. Because it is unpublishable. I think of it as my apprentice piece.

  • What’s your secret weakness – Fire? Ice cream? Kryptonite?

All of my weaknesses are obvious.

  • What would it take to drive you to a thrilling life of crime?

If I’d continued along the path I was following in my teens. Fortunately, at eighteen, I encountered LSD and became a much nicer person.

  • Describe your superhero suit – spare no detail!

Jeans and a tee-shirt. Rarely a hat.

  • If you were Mayor of Pacific City, what would be your first abuse of power?

I’d vote myself a comfortable pension and retire. I’m too old to run anything.

  • We’ve danced around this long enough: which are you, Hero or Villain?

I am a hybrid, and often refer to myself as the white sheep of my family. We are not a very savory bunch, especially on my father’s side.

So, now we know a little about Matthew’s rather enviable track-record (if rather overlookable heroic wardrobe), what’s he got in store for this anthology?

THE GIFT OF GABBY — wind the clock way, way back, and visit the lowly logging camp that will one day become Pacific City… and meet a man whose silver tongue leaves every audience spellbound.

Many thanks to Matthew, more interviews are on the way!


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