Author spotlights are occasional Q&As with contributors. Brian Hugenbruch is a speculative fiction writer and poet living in Upstate New York. His fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Alternate Peace and My Battery is Low and it is Getting Dark from Zombies Need Brains. His poetry has appeared in several magazines, including Star*Line, Abyss & Apex, and Apparition Lit. He enjoys traveling, fishing (but only in video games), drinking Scotch (but only in real life), and spending time with his family and their pets.
Departure Mirror: Tell us a little about your Departure Mirror story.
Brian Hugenbruch: “Techniques for Folding Time and Space to Fit Into Your Nightstand” began in the exact same place as P.A. Cornell’s “Tabula Rasa.” (Wound up in a different place, though!) I’d acquired the title in a close-won game of chance, and I spent several months trying to figure out what the heck to do with it. Then a writing prompt was posed: “Where does the time go?” Well, into one’s nightstand, of course. But… carefully. And much like the titular space-time, I spent a while folding and re-folding the story to figure out whose time this was, and what they were doing with it, and why. It took a while to find that green thread running through the middle of it, but I found my way eventually.
DM: How did you become a writer?
BH: I’m one of those “always been” writers. I learned to read by writing a book at the age of three, and started hacking out sword & sorcery stories in my father’s spreadsheet software when I was nine. It always struck me as a Thing One Does For Fun, though, until my 8th grade English teacher used the word “publish.” She probably said something after that, but I was too busy listening to the revelatory bells ringing in my head. There were a few detours along the way (hypertext fiction in the 2000s, National Novel Writing Months over time), but I started submitting regularly in 2016 and eventually qualified for the SFWA.
DM: What else are you passionate about? Tell us about it.
BH: I used to travel a fair amount for work, in the Before Times, and I’m always thrilled to have the chance to see new places and learn something unexpected. Might be something as simple as glass-blowing in Corning; might be how geothermal energy cooks traditional Maori food in New Zealand. (For those curious: “really well.”) But since I’m spatially locked for a while yet, it’s culinary experiments. My parents owned a restaurant when I was a kid, and a few things stuck: so whether it’s regional cuisine, or molecular gastronomy, or beer-making, I’m always curious to try (and try to make) new food. (The dishes, I’m a bit less enthusiastic about.)
DM: Do you have anything you’d like to promote?
BH: The Broken Eye Books anthology Cooties Shot Required is now up for pre-order, and it has my story “An Elicitation of Thursdays” in it. (I’ve read it cover to cover and can endorse the whole thing thoroughly.) I’ll also have a story called “There’s An Art To It” out at Diabolical Plots in December, and a poem coming soon at Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine. And I was nominated for a 2021 Rhysling Award for poetry, so I highly encourage anyone curious about poetry to check out the SFPA’s anthology thereof… and for anyone afraid of poetry to do so also. It’s okay, those line-endings aren’t sharp!
Thank you, Brian! “Techniques for Folding Time and Space to Fit Into Your Nightstand” can be found in the Spring 2021 issue of Departure Mirror Quarterly. The issue is free to download and to read. If you love the story as much as we do, please tell your friends!