TCT’s Hollywood Interview #20

…with Gil Williamson

The Cartesian Theatre welcomes guests from around the worldosphere, with an invitation to tell us all about themselves – in 25 words or less. Okay, okay, it’s not as bad as all that: they get 25 words per answer. They can wax lyrical if they want, but beware: I edit with an axe…


Continuing my occasional urge to broaden the scope of these little interviews, this week let’s give a big hand to Gil Williamson, a man with more feathers in his cap than most people have caps – which would probably sound better if caps were still commonly worn…

Hi Gil, tell us “all” about yourself.

Qualifications: BSc (hon) Physics/Astrophysics/Psychology. Profession: Software Engineer (50 years this November). Status: Happily Married. Pastimes: Reading, Writing, Karting, Golf.

And he could have told us that in about six languages, too. What is the most inspirational thing you’ve ever read – and why?

Neuromancer by William Gibson – because of first-class writing style and its total departure from traditional sf at the time. It opened up readers’ expectation of cyberspace.

One of my favourites too. What was your first published work?

The TRACK-RECORD Test Assurance System – a paper for ICL Product Development Group’s symposium in 1980. It won me first prize.

Aw, 1980 – I bet you were the cutest little thing in knee-length shorts, blazer and cap. So, I happen to know you publish a speculative fiction magazine online, care to introduce it?

Mythaxis – a serious webzine, concentrating on Science Fiction and Fantasy in the tradition of literary magazines, with readable text and no whizz-bang graphics.

What do you look for in an ideal submission – or a terrible one?

Ideal: Original fiction, mature, consistent writing, appealing plot, readable in ten minutes, good grammar and spelling. Terrible: Lacking many or all of the ideal requirements.

Is there anything you’d like to have published but had to turn down?

Many submissions are full of original ideas or bursting with vitality and would be thrilling to publish, but lack discipline and form. That’s always disappointing.

If only one person was to ever read Mythaxis – who would you want it to be?

John W. Campbell – because I hope he would recognise that the editing tradition he pioneered with Astounding SF between 1937 and 1971 was still remembered and honoured.

Great choice. So, what are you most proud of – in your life, not just your publishing?

Remaining at the leading edge of software from 1964 to date, during most of which I was running a successful business with my wife, Beryl.

Hmm… maybe I had it wrong with the shorts before. What are your plans for the future – all of it?

Improve my golf handicap, take comfortable vacations with Beryl, publish a few more issues of Mythaxis, and participate in the great cyber revolution.

Okay, my thanks to Gil for handling the pressure with ease! Hopefully he will come back one day under more relaxed circumstances – I know for a fact we’ve barely scratched his surface here. In the meantime, why not sample the wares of Mythaxis? The most recent issue has just gone live…

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