Maker of Leviathans: Eric James Stone

A Nebula Award winner and Hugo nominee, Eric James Stone has been published in Year’s Best SF, Analog, and elsewhere. Eric is a Writers of the Future winner, graduate of Orson Scott Card’s writing workshop, and assistant editor at Intergalactic Medicine Show.

Eric lives in Utah. His website is

David Steffen: ÂThis has been quite a year for you, winning your first Nebula award, and being nominated for a Hugo for the same story. ÂHave these awards been a major goal for you? ÂWhat’s next?

Eric James Stone: I remember reading Hugo and Nebula anthologies when I was a teenager, so I felt incredibly honored to be nominated for both awards. While I did dream about being nominated for a Nebula or Hugo, I didn’t think it was all that likely because there are so many excellent authors writing today.

David: ÂWhere did the idea for your Nebula-winning, Hugo-nominated story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” come from?

Eric: It came from an assignment at a writing workshop taught by Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Sheila Williams. The prompt was: “You are in the middle of the sun and can’t get a date.” Because my religion is a big part of my life, and because I hadn’t seen a story with a believing Mormon protagonist in a high-tech future, I decided to write such a story. I wrote the first third of the story while at the workshop, but I had no idea what would happen in the rest of the story. Fortunately, I received a lot of encouragement from friends to finish the story, so I did. At the time, of course, I had no idea it would get nominated for anything.

David: ÂDo you find your view on writing has changed since you took the role as assistant editor at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show?

Eric:Â I’ve really learned the importance of a satisfying ending. One of the worst things for an editor is to read a story with a good beginning and middle, but which falls apart at the end.

David: ÂHas writing gotten easier for you over the years, or harder?

Eric: Both. It’s gotten easier in some ways, because I think I have a better feel for what makes stories work. But it’s gotten harder in other ways, because I notice my weaknesses more but haven’t quite figured out how to solve them.

David: ÂIf you could give just one piece of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?

Eric: I took some creative writing classes in college. I thought one of the stories I had written might be publishable, so I submitted it twice and got rejected both times. That discouraged me enough that I quit writing stories for over ten years. My advice to new writers is not to be as big of an idiot as I was. Keep writing.

David: ÂWhat’s your happiest memory?

Eric:Â 2009 was a really happy year for me for reasons mostly unrelated to writing, so I look back on it rather fondly.

David: ÂWhat fictional place would you most like to visit?

Eric:Â The U.S.S. Enterprise.

David: ÂDo you have any works in progress you’d like to talk about?

Eric:Â I’m in the process of editing a novel for a publisher who may be interested, but I can’t go into specifics about it.

David: ÂAny upcoming publications?

Eric: I have new stories forthcoming in Analog Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Digital Science Fiction, and Blood Lite 3: Aftertaste. (For some reason, I have the sudden urge to sing “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others.”) My Nebula-Award-winning story will be reprinted in an anthology called Monsters & Mormons, as well as the Nebula Awards Showcase volume coming out next year.

David: ÂWhat was the last book you read?

Eric:Â Mission of Honor by David Weber. His Honor Harrington series is my favorite series.

David: ÂYour favorite book?

Eric:Â Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.

David: ÂWho is your favorite author?

Eric:Â When I was a teenager, it was Isaac Asimov. Later, it was Orson Scott Card. Now, I’ve read so many fantastic stories by great authors that I really can’t choose a favorite.

David: ÂWhat was the last movie you saw?

Eric:Â The last movie I saw in a theater was X-Men: First Class. I think the last movie I watched at home was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

David: ÂWhat is your favorite movie?

Eric:Â Probably Raiders of the Lost Ark.

David: ÂEric, thanks for taking the time for the interview.

Image Copyright 2008 by Eric James Stone.