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Elliott Serrano Presents:


ES: When you first announced the project, you said that IGNITION CITY would be to Flash Gordon as MINISTRY OF SPACE was to Dan Dare. Do you feel the comparison still applies?

WE: I think it was more a useful shorthand at the top of the project, than anything. It's just one of those daft ideas that gets hold of you in the middle of the night and won't let go. Later on, I think I called it the last Flash Gordon story told in the style of DEADWOOD, which is closer to the mark. I was actually going through a phase of trying to avoid telling stories about old story forms, but they keep on surfacing in my brain and refusing to drown. Sometimes you have to write something just to make it go away. And so it was with IGNITION CITY: probably because it has ties to another theme I return to, which is the death of spaceflight.

IGNITION CITY is set in Earth's last and only spaceport, a circular island ringed with space-launch gantries -- a ring that also fences off the settlement inside Ignition City, a place filled largely with disavowed persons from the days when anyone could go into space. And entering the settlement is young Mary Raven, a spacepilot without a spaceship, here to gather the effects of her late father, who died here in unsavoury circumstances...

ES: What were the steps the project went through while in development? Did it evolve or change much from the initial idea?

WE: IGNITION CITY's been hanging around in my files as a title and a setting, looking for a story, for probably something like twenty years now. It was only around the turn of 2006, I think, that the thing finally mutated into a story I really wanted to tell. DEADWOOD, as I mentioned, had an effect -- one of the most compelling things about DEADWOOD is that it's actually part of a non-Western theme, the "interzone" story, but mostly what did it was the language and the dynamics of the town, and wanting to test those effects for myself.

The whole thing becomes like an orrery, all these people moving simultaneously, some orbits crossing while others spin out to the boundary of the machine...

ES: How did you come to settle on the artist for the project?

WE: Nothing exciting, just a case of going through samples of the artists available to Avatar. Making comics is sometimes extremely bloody boring, Elliott.

ES: Why do you think you do best with science fiction when other writers seem to struggle?

WE: God, what a strange question. The only answer I have is that at least two-thirds of my genetic structure is Science Fiction Writer. Hell, even when I'm writing contemporary novels or crime comics, I'm STILL a Science Fiction Writer. You either are, or you're not, and if you are then you can recognise at a hundred yards the people who are not.

That said, I could not write musical comedy for the life of me. Everyone's got different skills.

ES: Your readers know you for your wonderful recipes and your love of drink, give us a recipe for an 'Ignition City' (a drink of some sort) that your protagonist would order at the IC pub.

WE: Recipes? In Ignition City? NO. They do not do recipes in Ignition City. They drink WHISKY. They drink whisky that's been distilled in old rocket tanks that reek of spaceflight fuel. Whisky that's been aged for a whole three weeks in rusted-out air canisters and served to you with a rueful, pity-filled smile by a woman who used to race across forest planets with alien princes but who now has to tend bar in a settlement for all the people who don't get to fly in space anymore.


Elliott Serrano is a writer/columnist/blogger/geek who is often accused of being childish. He has been diagnosed as having a classic case of ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ where he refuses to grow up and wishes to live on an island with a bunch of other immature boys and one hot girl who’ll act as a nanny for all of them. (He thinks Megan Fox would fit that role nicely.) You can e-mail Elliott and you can also read his blog at RedEye Chicago and see him rant about how much ‘Spider-man Sucks’ and ‘Brian Bendis is the God of All Writers’ on the Comic Culture Warrior YouTube Channel. 

E.R. Serrano

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