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Meet Ian Green

Every Friday, we meet a member of the BFS and peer deep into their soul (or, at least, a form they filled out). Want to be featured? Email us: online@britishfantasysociety.org

Name, including preferred pronouns:
Ian Green (he/him)

Which region are you based in?
From Scotland, currently based in Turkiye! 

If you write, which genre: 
Sci-fi & fantasy

Are you drawn to any specific SFFH sub-genres?
I like weird fiction, epic fantasy, and genre-mashups.

Your influences

Tell us about the book/film/thing that got you into SFFH: What was it? How old were you? What impact did it have on you? 

I have two abiding memories as a child regarding SFF. Firstly was seeing Star Wars in the cinema when they did the 20th anniversary re-release. The scope and scale, the fun and action, it absolutely swept me away and I try to recapture that sense of energy in my work. The second was (perhaps predictably) Tolkien—I read The Hobbit and enjoyed it, but then dove into my dad’s paperback of the Lord of the Rings with the John Howe painting of Gandalf striding on the front cover. I was far too young to make sense of most of it, but there was enough action and imagery in there to capture me thoroughly and from then a spark was lit. I devoured Goosebumps, Hardy Boys, and everything I could get my hands on—a love of genre fiction started strong! 

How does that early influence show up in your work now? 

As a writer I am conscious of the depth of Tolkien’s worlds, which is something I am always keen to strive for. With that, however, my love of sword & sorcery and action (like Star Wars, He-Man, and so on) is something I indulge a great deal. Why not have your action fantasy in a rich and fascinating world? 

A map of Ian’s world

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from? 

I love hiking and spend as much time possible wandering around outside. In general I am curious, and I find that pays dividend for inspiration. I want to read the plaques in the museum. I want to duck my head behind the broken castle wall to see what is hidden. I want to climb the ridge to the next valley to see what is there! I’m always looking for the next interesting thing, and that means I have a wildly disorganised catalogue of minutiae and wonder hidden in my brain to draw from. 

Who do you look to as a genre hero? Why? 

I was immensely influenced by Iain M. Banks. 

Your work

You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with that hero, and they want you to describe your work. Give us the pitch. 

It is a world of brutal juntas, animist gods, and intricate old magics. In the west an arcane storm spawns monsters, and the great god-bear slumbers. From the storm—lights in the sky, strange orbs that cut through the night and steal away children. One child is taken from Floré, a retired warrior of the brutal junta that hold this land together. She will stop at nothing to find her daughter.

Epic action fantasy in a deeply realised world inspired by ancient Celtic animism and the brutal geography of Scotland, The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath (and the rest of The Rotstorm trilogy) is morally complex, character-driven nuanced fantasy. But it also has knights vs UFOs and a woman fighting a pack of wolves with nothing but her armoured fists. 

What are you working on right now? 

I’m working on an SF biopunk book set in near-future London, where biohackers are hired by eco-terrorists to rob, murder, and maybe save the world. It is the mutant love child of Neuromancer and The Water Knife. Not yet announced officially (keep an eye out!). 

Thinking about all the stories/work you’ve done, what sticks out most in your mind? Why? 

I think the most consistent element for me across all of my fiction is way my characters are grounded in the physical world, specifically in nature (or its absence). The focus on moments of minute sensation to tie the reader into a scene, even where the most insane or fantastical elements are occurring—tying the reader into the characters senses has always been important to me (presumably learned from Brian Jacques’ Redwall feasts!). 

Where and when do you create/are you at your most creative? 

I have a toddler so my hours for writing are somewhat dictated by forces a wee bit beyond my control. I try to treat it as much as possible as a desk job, in that I will sit down and work regardless of how inspired I feel—in general, the act of working on the piece tends to bring inspiration (though that initial work is often research, editing, or similar less creatively-intense tasks). 

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity? 

Keep writing. N Quentin Woolf (who wrote a wonderful novel called The Death of the Poet) told me this repeatedly, and it stuck. In my mind it means: just keep going. All of it is writing to me—it is all part of the same project, the planning, researching, editing, thinking, procrastinating, promoting. All of it counts, and just keep doing it. Nobody can stop you but you. 

What’s your writing soundtrack? 

It varies by project! For The Rotstorm trilogy I was trying to channel a combination of Tolkien-esque depth of worldbuilding with 80s action fantasy, so I leaned heavily on movie and video game scores. Video game scores I find especially useful—for fantasy, pick an RPG you haven’t played with a decent budget to it and it will have a few dozen hours of wonderful music that isn’t too intrusive! On the other hand, my most recent SF project has a massive punk element to it so for the last year I’ve swapped medieval castle diagrams and orchestral scores for scientific research papers and punk mix tapes.  

The quickfire round

Sci-fi, fantasy or horror? 
Put the lime in the coconut and mix it all together 

Quiet or loud? 

Dark or light? 

Strict lines or genre blend? 
Put the lime in the coconut and mix it all together 

Awards or bestseller? 
Bestseller, please—the more readers, the better 

Fiction or non-fiction? 

Poetry or prose? 
Prose (I’m too much of a coward for poetry) 

Plotter or pantser? 
Plotter who then pantses 

Reading or listening? 

Notebook or computer? 

Last book you read? 
House of Open Wounds by Adrian Tchaikovsky 

Favourite SFFH book of all time? 
The Scar by China Miéville 

Any SFFH author on auto-buy? 
China Miéville (auto-buy in general, auto-hardback if he does any new SFF!) 

(Pictured: China Miéville; photo © Barney Cokeliss)

Favourite podcast? 
Acquisitions Incorporated—a D&D live play since…2009? Silly. 

The home stretch

What’s the best thing about being a SFFH writer? 

The people and the community are so lovely, and we are working at a time where the breadth of wonderful content being published has never been stronger. Whatever you are into, someone smart will be doing something smart there. 

Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space. 

My debut trilogy The Rotstorm finished this year- it starts with The Gauntlet and the Fist Beneath, which you can find at all good bookstores (and some nasty ones). It is complex epic action fantasy, and the trilogy as a whole is something I am so happy with- the third book is, in fact, the best! 

I’m currently working on final edits for my summer 2024 biopunk book that will be officially announced shortly, and working on the draft of a book for summer 2025…that I can tell you about in private, if you ask! 

You can find me all over the place. Instagram is probably most active, but mainly pictures of my toddler and nice rocks I’ve seen. Twitter/Bluesky more book bits and bobs. Anywhere you see me, say hi, eh?  

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