“In novels, you’re trusting the reader to follow you along the whole way. In video games, you’re working with the idea that people’s attention spans are scattered, they’re going to approach it at different times, and maybe just walk off and explore for a while.”
In a murder hotel in Jersey City, author Cassandra Khaw joins the show to talk about her bad luck with AirBNBs, the root of her fixation on body horror, and how she settled on a cannibal chef for one of her main characters so she could (imaginatively) explore the concept of turning 180 or so pounds of human being into a fine meal. We get into her Food of the Gods series and her other supernatural horror books, her fascination with the aftereffects of violence, the influence of Lovecraft on her work, and the time she embarrassed herself in front of Frances Hardinge. We also talk about her work in the video-game industry and how she entered it by following the convention circuit, what writing games has taught her about storytelling, diversity in the gaming community, and the unique way that games can bring people into other lives and other modes of seeing. Oh, and we get into how she settled on her mythological name! Give it a listen!
“I did a lot of traveling around the world over a decade, and I discovered people let you sleep on their sofa if you clean up after them and leave them three-course meals.”
“There are a lot of similarities between the world of video games and publishing. So much of it is in people trying to break into a monolith, and it’s very close-knit, and people are very encouraging to each other. I guess the real difference is that video games has money and publishing doesn’t.”
“Home is the airport.”
About our Guest
Cassandra Khaw writes many things. Mostly these days, she writes horror and video games and occasional flirtations with chick-lit. Her work can be found in venues Clarkesworld, Fireside Fiction, Uncanny, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and more. A Song for Quiet was her latest novella from Tor.com, a piece of Lovecraftian Southern Gothic that she worries will confuse those who purchased Bearly a Lady, her frothy paranormal romantic comedy.
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at a murder hotel in Jersey City on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Cassandra by her, so it’s not on my instagram. The group one of me, her, and Richard Kadrey is, though.