Jon Mac writes SF/Fantasy with a pulp spirit, something he calls “Mythik” fiction. He’s had jobs picking raspberries, babysitting Coyote pups, working in a recycling plant, directing live TV newscasts, and encoding HD video for Blu-Ray discs. He likes dancing and shopping. No, that’s not really true. He’s still waiting for flying cars and videophones to become popular. He lives in Los Angeles with his lovely wife and their wonder dog, Baxter.
So, you ask, what is all this “Mythik” stuff about, anyway? Well, “Mythik” tales are sci-fi and fantasy stories in the spirit of the old pulp magazines of the 30s and 40s, but with a modern twist. Kind of like Astounding Stories meets The Twilight Zone meets Pulp Fiction.
Jon was kind enough to answer some questions for me.
On your site you mention that Mythik Imagination was inspired by Amazing Stories and The Twilight Zone. Were there any stories/episodes that made a significant impact on you?
First I’d like to say thanks for this opportunity, Nick. I really appreciate it. I loved that post about Bounty and Twitter.
Now to answer your question: One of my favorites is a Twilight Zone episode called “Time Enough At Last.” Burgess Meredith plays a character who just wants to have time to read his beloved books. After a nuclear war, he gets his wish. But of course, it doesn’t quite turn out the way he expected. I love those ironic twists. I think that episode and “To Serve Man” really had a huge impact on me because it showed how things often aren’t what they seem. “It’s a cookbook!” Um. Sorry, I probably just ruined that episode for millions of people who haven’t seen it. Oh, and the one with William Shatner on the plane was fantastic. I’ll stop now.
You’ve hinted that many of the stories in the Mythik series will take place in a shared world. Any teasers you can share about that world?
I want to have a lot of wacky characters and strange situations, but at the same time also have a consistent internal logic and a common framework for the settings. So most of the stories will be part of this Mythik Universe, which is really a meta-universe. The idea is that multiple universes are all contained under one big umbrella, and they are sometimes able to interact with each other. Concepts behind this interaction are the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement. Another key concept is the Novikov self-consistency principle. This essentially means that it is impossible to create a paradox in time travel. If you try to do something that would “change” the past, you will always fail. When you combine many-worlds with Novikov, if you do change the past, then it is no longer your past, but somebody else’s. To you, it’s a new universe. But of course, the people in the new universe know they’ve always been there and consider you to be from some kind of alternate universe. Now I have a headache.
So anyway, as for the stories themselves, each setting is the “real world” as far as the characters in it are concerned. Certain entities are able to seemingly create and/or discover the different universes and time periods. They can also travel between them. All the stories will stand on their own, but they will have this “Mythik” framework, so are loosely connected. Some characters and even story lines may appear or be referenced in multiple stories. Even if a certain story doesn’t directly concern the overall arc of the mythology, it still exists in the framework. That’s the plan, anyway 😉
My favorite story in Mythik Imagination #1 was Ghosts of the Future. Can you talk a bit about what inspired that story?
It just came to me one day out of the blue. I jotted down an idea which was a short summary of the opening scene. I had no idea where the story would go. As I went along, I added a few other other ideas that had been rolling around in my head, and after a while, I had Ghosts of the Future. I used some ideas about time travel that I’ve had for a long time, and there are some things in this story that give hints about the overall Mythik world. Some of the characters and organizations will definitely play key roles in other stories.
What can readers expect from future installments of Mythik Imagination?
Mythik Imagination #2 will be a Weird West edition. I love the idea of taking certain Wild West myths and turning them around. The real old west wasn’t really anything like what we’ve usually seen from Hollywood, so I think it’ll be a lot of fun to create a new mythology. By coincidence, I recently went to a double feature of High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider. Clint Eastwood’s character is some sort of ghost in each of those movies. As crazy as it may seem, that provides a logical explanation for those otherwise somewhat tired gunslinger tropes. I like that kind of stuff.
Mythik Imagination #3 will be Strange Sea Stories. So I’ll get to have some fun with pirates and the age of fighting sail, which I’ve always been interested in. I’d also like to get feedback from readers and have a Mythik Readers’ Corner section at the end of each issue, just like the old pulp magazines did.
Hopefully by the end of the year, there will be a half dozen or so Mythik Imagination issues and then a Mythik Weird West novel. I’d like to also finish the first in a series of Sword & Sorcery novels I’ve been working on for a long time, but that might be pushing it.
Briefly describe your writing process, and any writing rituals that you have.
Well, I think of a lot of stories while I’m commuting on the freeway. I write a lot in my head. I work really long hours at my day job, so I have to find writing time whenever I can. That usually means in the car, or standing in line at the store, or waiting for an elevator, etc. When I was a kid, I made up this thing I called Dream-a-vision, where I’d imagine a movie before I fell asleep. So I sort of do that at random points in my day. Then I write down all my ideas. Sometimes they are pretty detailed, and sometimes they are just a few words or a title. Like, here’s a title: “The Elevator Thief.” I have no idea what that means, but at some point I’m going to turn it into a story.
Usually I’ll be working on several stories at once, in various stages of development. But at some magical moment, one or several will suddenly become more urgent, and then I concentrate on finishing those. Unfortunately, my schedule is a bit too chaotic for any real rituals. So my method is just “squeeze in the writing whenever possible.”
How do you cope with writer’s block?
If I’m stuck, I just write anyway. A lot of times it will end up being gibberish. But sometimes it turns out to be something I can actually use. Or it might give me a new idea and send the story in a different direction. If I’m still stuck, then I’ll work on a different story or do some research. And yes, playing with my dog or going to the pool is “research.”
A time-traveling DeLorean is parked outside your house. It has enough fuel to take you to one destination in time and back again. To what point in time do you travel and why?
Ha ha, this is a hard one. I had to think about it for a while. But I finally decided I would go about 200 years into the future. I would record everything I see and do there. After I came back from the future, I would eventually be known as the best and most accurate science fiction writer of all time 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Jon!