First Place Winner– Micah Joel

I am excited to be finally sharing the story story that won first prize in the Singular Source contest. When you read it, you’ll see that it’s a perfect fit for our book. The author is Micah Joel from (where else?) Silicon Valley. As with the other winners, here is a short interview to introduce Micah to you.

Susan Elliott Sim (SES): Tell me a bit about yourself. (Do you write full time? Do you have a day job? How long have you been writing?)

Micah Joel (MJ): I’m a classical Silicon Valley geek, although I’ve only lived in the
valley for about seven or eight years. Career-wise, I’ve done all
kinds of geeky things, from working on portable heart monitors to
e-forms to mobile web sites to search engines and most recently, NoSQL
databases. Oddly enough, I’ve never worked with AI, despite how often
it comes up in my work. I’ve been writing semi-seriously since the
early 2000s, but getting into the Viable Paradise workshop at Martha’s
Vineyard in 2010 really kicked things up a notch for me.

SES: What got you into writing science fiction?

MJ: I’ve been a fan of SF for as long as I can remember. I have fond
memories of waiting in line to see Jedi, or watching cheesy Buck
Rodgers or Star Trek reruns, or later first run episodes of TNG or
DS9. I’m an idea person, and writing SF is a such a good fit for that.
I can’t see myself writing much fiction that’s not speculative in one
way or another.

SES: Where did you get the idea for “Ritchie Boss: Private Investigator Manager”?

MJ: This story is actually a sequel to another story of mine, in which
Judith of 2017 does some shady things to smuggle the technology she
co-developed out of the lab. I liked the idea of picking up on that
plot a few generations later, when the whole world of technology has
shifted in a way nobody had foreseen. The pseudo-noir angle appealed
to me too. I can’t get enough Bogart movies.

SES: Is the story set in the future or in a parallel universe? Or both?

MJ: I’ve always envisioned the universe both of these stories are set in
as an actual future, possibly reachable from where we are now, absent,
of course, any catastrophic discontinuities (or singularities, if you
prefer that term).

SES: What do you hope to achieve with “Ritchie Boss: Private Investigator
Manager”? And with your writing in general.

MJ: Let me pause for a second here and give some props to the Creative
Commons set of licenses. I love this entire concept. I love to see
what creative things others can do with accessible art. So I’m really
happy that this story is getting released this way. I’m likely to use
it as an introduction into self-publishing, possibly in a bundle with
its prequel story. If enough people take advantage of the license and
do cool things with it, who knows? Maybe an anthology is in order? I’m
currently working on a number of short stories and a Sumerian epic
time travel novel.