“At one time or another Sue Lange has been one of the following (pretty much in this order): child, student, potato picker, first chair flautist, librarian, last chair flautist, babysitter, newspaper deliverer, apple picker, form cutter, drama club treasurer, track and field timer, Ponderosa Steak House salad server (before the salad bar days, of course), disco dance instructor, waitress, wire harness assembler, usher, Baskin-Robbins ice cream dipper, volleyball team captain, biology club treasurer, circuit board checker, form reader, day camp counselor, tutor, stock room attendant, nurse aide, chemistry technician, senior chemistry technician, right fielder, Plant Laboratory Supervisor–non-radiological, house sitter, first base, receptionist, stage manager, data input technician, actor, bookkeeper, vocalist, typesetter, songwriter, recording artist, home builder, viticulturist, Digital Production Manager, orchardist, and Applescripter. Lately she’s been writing.”
TiamatsVision– For those unfamiliar with your work, tell us a bit about yourself.
Sue Lange– Well I started out as a child, and then I grew up. After that terrifying experience I moved to New York City and discovered who I really was. Turns out I was musician so I started a band. Crabby Lady was the last incarnation. I stripped the music from my lyrics and published my story as science fiction (“Tritcheon Hash”). That went over like a lead balloon so I tried again (“We, Robots”). Blowing my modicum of success with the second book all of out of proportion gave me the nerve to try it once more, hence my third book, “The Textile Planet”.
TiamatsVision– How did the idea for Book View Café come about and what was involved in putting the site together?
Sue Lange– A number of people on the SF-FFW Yahoo group (women writers of speculative fiction) started yakking about offering fiction for free online to create some buzz for our work. We read stuff like Cory Doctorow’s manifesto on the subject and got inspired. Never one for talk without action, Sarah Zettel grew tired of our ranting and said, “Let’s do it.” A bunch of us got eager and jumped on the band wagon, and voila, BVC is born.
TiamatsVision– What do you see happening with Book View Café in the future?
Sue Lange– I think we’re going to become a publisher. We’re going to have a model in place for publishing Internet fiction and making money at it. We’ll know how to make it, serve it, promote it, and sell it. We’ll have a handful of formidable partners that will be able to distribute our product in the myriad formats out there. We’ll have content in Internet formats, ebooks, print books, and podcasts. Wherever there is content, we will be there.
TiamatsVision– Tell us about your current project titled “The Textile Planet”, which is available on Book View Cafe.
Sue Lange– “The Textile Planet” is a rather long-winded tale of speculative fiction. Because it was so overwritten, I decided it would be perfect for adding even more content to in the form of links to back story and little playlets and stuff like that. It could go on forever with bits added here and there as I see, and perhaps the audience sees, fit. Underneath it all though, there is a story. It follows corporate stooge, Marla Gershe, as she foments revolution in her day job. The consequences of her foolish action follow her eventually to the ends of the universe.
TiamatsVision– What inspired you to write it?
Sue Lange– Three day gigs: my job at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, my job at IEEE Communications Society, and a weird little part-time thing I did on the NYC textile exchange. The first two jobs were and are hectic at times and very inspiring when considering revolution. I’m sure there are many people out there who have also at some point in their life fantasized about tipping the in basket over the side of the desk and pulling the emergency switch. They can relate to those moments that inspired this story.
The third job was just plain bizarre and inspirational for anyone writing spec fic. It pretty much provided the setting and circumstances of the story.
TiamatsVision– The main story centers on the textile industry and fashion. Is this something you’ve always been interested in?
Sue Lange– No, but that textile exchange job gave me a slit of a window into how it works from soup to nuts. The textile exchange itself consists of little offices in the Chelsea section of NYC. The Seventh Ave./30th Street area. Around Penn Station actually. There’s no fancy building or big sculpture to let you know something big is going on. The only evidence of its existence is that you’ll see racks of raw mink rolling around the dirty streets at odd hours. Surrealistic. You look at one of these racks and wonder what the value is. Thousands of dollars? Hundreds only maybe, until they’re stitched into a coat? That and the fact that 7th Avenue was renamed Fashion Ave. are the only indicators of the industry. There are a lot of wholesalers in the area selling fabric and notions by the ton to the trade only. So there’s that.
My gigmaster sold shop towels from Russia where they were cheap to make. All day long he moved Russian shop towels from one buyer to the next. He was quite successful at it. He had a bunch of other businesses here and there as well. I had been working for him for about three days when he asked me if I wanted to be a plant manager for a textile concern of his down in Georgia. I ask you, would you take a position that someone is so desperate to fill they’re asking strangers? I’ve spent long hours imagining the horror that place down there must be and “The Textile Planet” resulted from that. I did some research for it, but fabrication based on my imaginations is so much more fun. In the end there’s not much basis in reality in the book. Especially when we get to the ends of the Universe, but I guess that’s obvious.
TiamatsVision– What made you decide to make this a multimedia project?
Sue Lange– I wanted to cut out some stuff that was making the action drag. Instead of just cutting it out, though, I used it for clickable content. The radio play is just more of the same dialogue illustrating that Marla is having a bad day. It just never ends, so I had some friends in for dinner and we recorded the various conversations that had been cut out, added some sound effects and background patter and there you are. Multimedia content.
TiamatsVision– Do you plan to do more multimedia projects in the future?
Sue Lange– Depends on how this one works out. If people are interested in it. I love doing it, but I don’t know if it enhances a person’s enjoyment of the material. The story really stands on it’s own, but I like adding sound effects. Instead of describing what someone is hearing, maybe it’s better to give them an example. But does anyone really care what a home-made version of a Santana song without percussion would sound like? I mean, just thinking about it is pretty funny, considering Santana’s lineup was about 75% drums et al. But if someone is not familiar with Santana’s music, they might not get just how bad it would be. If you’ve listened to the recording you know how bad it is. And having been part of lots of DIY music projects, I know how funny it can get. It’s worth a cheap joke.
TiamatsVision– What are some of your interests other than writing?
Sue Lange– Music, obviously. I love movies. I’m writing a piece on Lina Wertmuller’s “Love and Anarchy” for the Aqueduct Press, 2008 wrapup. I just learned to ride horses a couple of years ago. I do organic farming, have a peach orchard and do vegetables and my signature garlic every year. And I love to perform. Sing, dance, pass gas. It’s all good.
TiamatsVision- What else have you written and are there other projects you’re currently working on?
Sue Lange– My first published book was “Tritcheon Hash”, about a hapless space age pilot that has to visit Earth and see if a partnership with the inhabitants there will be a win-win situation. “We, Robots” is about a hapless domestic robot that learns what it means to be human. “The Textile Planet” is about a hapless worker in the textile industry. And my next project is called “The Perpetual Motion Club” which is about a hapless teenager that gets hung up on a basketball star and perpetual motion phenomena.
TiamatsVision– If people want to read more of your work or purchase your books where do they go?
Sue Lange– Amazon of course. “We, Robots” is cheaper at the publisher’s website (http://www.aqueductpress.com/orders.html). My blog on the subject (usually) of The Singularity Theory is at http://scusteister.livejournal.com. My website is kinda fun: http://www.suelangetheauthor.com and I have a couple of stories up at bookviewcafe.com for free. Some of my other stories have been published on the Internet. Can’t remember exactly where right now. A lot of the sites have vanished. The current issue of Premonitions, a UK magazine, has my story “Jump”. A dark story, not like me at all.