Interview with Michael Pevzner, author of Faithful City
Posted February 5, 2014on:
This post is part of the Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine blog tour, and it’s my pleasure to welcome Michael Pevzner, author of the short story Faithful City, to the blog. Michael was kind enough to answer my questions about his Apex story, role playing games, and more! so let’s get to the interview, shall we?
LRR: What inspired The Faithful City?
M.P.: It was originally written (in Hebrew, back then) for a contest whose theme was “city of the future”, and that was what I came up with. The image of the city speaking to the protagonist was vaguely inspired by the image of SHODAN from the computer game System Shock.
LRR: The Faithful City was your first published short story. Where else can we find your work?
M.P.: Sadly, nowhere. I manage to find very little time to write, and so Faithful City remains my only published story to date.
I did dabble in translation from Russian to English. Here you can find a few short stories by the Russian authors Dmitry Gromov and Oleg Ladyzhensky, which I translated together with my mother. Specifically, “The End Justifies the Means” and “The Eighth Circle of Subway”.
LRR: What types of fiction do you most enjoy writing?
M.P.: It’s mostly dark science fiction and fantasy, sometimes bordering on surrealism.
LRR: Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you they inspire you to write your own fiction?
M.P.: I grew up on the Strugatsky brothers, a pair of amazing Russian science fiction authors, and they remain a big influence on me. Most of their books have been translated into English, though sadly not my favorite one (The Doomed City). Other favorite authors include George R. R. Martin, Clive Barker, Franz Kafka. They most certainly inspire me to write my own fiction.
M.P.: I played computer-based RPGs since I was a little kid, but I only got seriously involved with tabletop RPGs when I was about 16. (Which is rather late, actually.) Some of my favorite RPGs include Don’t Rest Your Head, which is a rather dark and surrealistic game about people who suffer from insomnia so badly that they begin to see a weird parallel city; Apocalypse World, which is, as you might expect, a game about people living in a post-apocalyptic future; and also Dresden Files, a game based on the books by Jim Butcher.
LRR: I’m a roleplaying virgin. Which RPGs are good gate-way experiences for someone new to role playing games?
M.P.: That’s a good question. I tend to recommend Lady Blackbird as an introduction to the field to those completely unfamiliar with it. It’s a small game, doesn’t demand a lot of reading on anyone’s part as many other RPGs do, and is very easy to get into. Also, it’s free, here.
As a step up from that, I’d recommend Fate, or its somewhat streamlined version, Fate Accelerated. That’s the system behind the game Dresden Files. And it’s available for pay-what-you-like.