We’d love to shine a light on the volunteers who help keep the British Fantasy Society running—this month, it’s the human keeping our digital lights on.
Name, including preferred pronouns
E.M. Faulds (or Beth), she/her
Which region are you based in?
Your role on the BFS committee is:
Website wrangler, and I help with some of the other communications aspects.
If you write, which genre:
Are you drawn to any specific sub-genres?
I write a lot of different stories, but one of my favourites is near-future Earth post-global warming science fiction. Some folk call it clifi — that is very much their choice.
Your work with the BFS
Why did you join the BFS committee?
The BFS has always been one of the most welcoming and friendly communities and I have met so many wonderful people. But I wanted to make a difference to how the society presented itself to the world, to help it with the process of modernisation its going through. And I had these handy web design skills just sitting there…
Tell us more about your role – what do you do?
I am responsible for how the website functions. I’ll be doing a full rebuild of the site soon to make it even better, if everything goes to plan. I help the practical side, such as making sure email forms and event ticket sales work in tandem with the design side. If the site has a moment and goes offline, I’ll be the one trying to fix it as quickly as possible.
What does this mean in practical terms for members?
A website that works with social media keeps members in the know, and helps them find what they need from the society’s committee. It gives them not only a way to get the latest news, or buy a ticket to the fantastic Fantasycon and other brilliant events, but also a way of showcasing their own projects!
It’s also just a great place to hang out and read all the awesome articles written by our blog and reviews volunteers!
Why should others get more involved with the BFS?
It’s like having a subscription to a gym — not much good unless you use it occasionally! As a community, the more people work towards making it great for everyone, the more use it will be for everyone. I like making predictions — it’s part of my job as an author of speculative fiction, after all — and I have a great feeling about what’s coming up for the society. With the current committee’s enthusiasm and inclusiveness, plus a good dose of pragmatic hard work, we’ve got a good future.
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 was about 14 or 15 when I first read the short story collection Burning Chrome by William Gibson. But I’ve always had SFFH around. I hid behind the sofa when Dr Who or Blake’s 7 was on. Our first VHS was Star Wars ep IV. I watched the Princess Bride every school holidays when I was a teenager. There weren’t any moments where I was not exposed to these influences.
How does that early influence show up in your work now?
I’d like to think I’ve marinated and cooked all the influences enough that I can now say that it’s all me, but let’s face it, we stand upon the shoulders of giants.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
There’s a character in one of Terry Pratchett’s books that has to wear a tin hat to stop having inspiration particles flood his brain. I am, sadly, one of these. But having ideas is only part one of creation, the second part, actually writing things in a sensible and coherent story, is much harder.
Who do you look to as a genre hero? Why?
I’m pretty sure Ursula Le Guin is up there, Sir Pterry, Iain M. Banks… they sound like the sort of awesome and generous role models for us to have, though I was never lucky enough to meet them. But I find heroes in the people I’ve met, too. There are far too many excellent people in the UK SFFH community to name but I am constantly impressed and humbled by knowing as many as I do.
You’re stuck in an elevator for 60 seconds with that hero, and they want you to describe your work. Give us the pitch.
The terrible pain and beauty of existence wrapped around a kernel of hope? I don’t know. I tend to look for the unexamined hero or heroine and how they live with what they’re given, be that in a spaceship, a small rural village, or a parallel universe. A lot of what I write comes from a deeply personal place, but I hope it resonates with a universality of the human experience — even if the characters aren’t always human, per se. We’re all walking buckets of want and uncoupled connections flailing around looking for a way not to be alone. If I can capture even a tenth of that experience, I feel like I’m doing well.
What are you working on right now?
I’m editing an anthology of the Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle which will be out for Worldcon in Glasgow this year! It’s a very exciting time and I can’t wait for August to share the brilliant stories we have in store. I’ve also got a novella coming out and a short story in a magazine alongside some frankly intimidating names, so 2024 is going to be big for me. I’m aiming to finish off at least one of my many novel projects and get that out to agents.
The quickfire round
Sci-fi, fantasy or horror?
Dark or light?
The greyness in between.
Strict lines or genre blend?
Scribble all over those lines, my friend.
Awards or bestseller?
They’re all good books, Brent.
Fiction or non-fiction?
Poetry or prose?
Plotter or pantser?
Reading or listening?
Notebook or computer?
Last book you read?
Secret beta-read for a friend!
Any SFFH author on auto-buy?
Cat Hellisen, Cameron Johnston, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s SF, Dave Hutchinson, Anna Smith Spark, Lorraine Wilson, Catriona Silvey… the list goes on.
What’s the best thing about being a SFFH writer?
I don’t understand what it would be like otherwise. But you do get to have some fun with the weirdoes who live in your head, so that’s nice.
Time to plug your stuff! Where can we find you and your work? What have you got coming up? Consider this your advertising space.
Please check out my short story collection! Under the Moon, (BFA 2023 Best Collection winner) can be found at Ghost Moth Press or most retailers’ websites.