Uncanny Valley with Sarina Dorie

To celebrate the launch of Uncanny Valley: A Science Fiction Anthology we asked our authors four simple questions.

This time, we’re talking to Sarina Dorie, whose short story, “Quoth the Raven, Nevermore” is a humorous take on misinformation, media madness, and – of course – aliens.

What was the inspiration behind your short story?

There were several things that inspired this story: Edgar Allen Poe; my own hay fever being so bad and so long-lasting as I wrote this that I wondered if it would be better if it were like an infection that I could just get over; asking what-if questions like, “What if allergies were contagious?”; living in Japan and South Korea where it was common to wear masks when one was sick; and some of the mistranslations and cultural confusions that happened when I lived abroad. I actually wrote this story prior to Covid, but it seemed especially timely and more poignant after the pandemic started.

What does science fiction mean to you?

Science fiction and fantasy are ways to explore the mundane or ordinary problems in fantastical ways. Some of my favorite classic Star Trek episodes explore social issues, environmental issues, and politics in a way that make the topics approachable. I like to think I often do the same thing with my science fiction and fantasy stories and novels—and with humor.

What’s your favorite science fiction artwork, book, or film?

Do I have to pick one?

As a teenager I read a lot of Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kate Wilhelm. I also read every Star Trek universe novel I could get my hands on.

Among contemporary authors I love Laini Taylor, Patricia Briggs, J.K. Rowling, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Donna Boyd (who wrote The Passion and The Promise and I can’t believe no one has read), Mary Robinette Kowal, and Peter David. I love Laini Taylor for her storytelling, humor, beautiful imagery and characters. I am hypnotized by J.K Rowling’s world.

Androids or Aliens?

It depends. Is this for friendship or as villains? I like both, but in this story, the science fiction element was the alien. I think both androids and aliens can be interesting tools for exploring cultural differences and confusion. I write a lot of fantasy, as well, so lately I have had a love/hate relationship with witches and ghouls in Womby’s School for Wayward Witches and the spin-off series.

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