We’re celebrating the launch of CROOKED V.2 by spotlighting the authors who have contributed stories!
Erik Grove is a writer, long-distance runner, and little dog wrangler living and doing things in Portland, OR. You can find his work in places like ESCAPE POD, the SPACE COCAINE anthology series, the Zombies Need Brains NOIR anthology and upcoming in NIGHTMARE. Follow him on Twitter @erikgrove or check out his webpage www.erikgrove.com for dog glamour shots, marathon training nonsense, and sundry writerly shenanigans.
Tell us a bit about your story and the story world.
In “Terminal Sunset” Kate Hadon has 4 hours to pull off a double-cross before a solar storm burns everything on the planet’s surface to cinders and smoke. If she pulls it off she’ll be able to afford her own spaceship and a swimming pool full of whiskey and ice cubes. If she fails, she won’t make it to nightfall. The story takes place in my Moonshine Hustle series of space opera stories that features Hadon and her crew trying to pay their debts and get by in a galaxy choked by intergalactic capitalism, gangsters, and motherfucking space witches. Think of it as a scuffed up Guardians of the Galaxy directed by the Coen Brothers by way of Breaking Bad.
What was the inspiration behind this story?
I saw the first CROOKED anthology and said “Oh Jessie that’s MY SHIT!” and knew I needed to come up with something cool so I could hang out with the space heist kids for V.2. I’ve been working on the first novel in this series for a while and have a companion story out in a recently released anthology. “Terminal Sunset” is a prequel that takes place years before Hadon has her ship and a fully-formed crew. She’s younger, messier, and much more desperate. I wanted to write a lean pressure cooker story with a simple objective and high tension. I loved the idea of a mostly-abandoned world hours before the apocalypse and the prequel-ness of it all came together naturally during the conception of it. I had so much fun with Moonshine Hustle Year One, that I’m confident I’ll be returning to the era again soon.
If you could travel to any science fictional world, where would you go and what would you do?
I am a massive Star Trek fan so I have to say, I would go there probably steal a bunch of stuff, find the poor people working lousy jobs outside of the pretty Federation worlds, and get drunk with them.
What are some of your favorite sci-fi crime books or stories?
The first ones that come to mind are Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, PKD in general, William Gibson, Cowboy Bebop, the Fallout games, every ferengi storyline on Star Trek, John Wick (the speculative element is minimal but it’s there), and Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
What authors have inspired your writing?
Moonshine Hustle is me in dialogue with Star Trek and other so-called utopian sci fi. Everything that Star Trek hand waves away, that’s my playground. I want to write about student loan debt in the future. I want to write about sex in all kinds of gravity environments and vacuum toilets and sci fi alcoholism. So it’s Star Trek plus Lies My Teacher Told Me plus Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys plus the Wire that have the greatest influence on me here. It is with love and a punk rock sneer that I create not dystopian work but anti-utopian. Utopias are naive nonsense that imagines a human nature that I’ve never experienced. Call me a cynic but I’m not convinced the elites would just give up institutional control in a post-scarcity world. They’d trademark and copyright replicators and dilithium crystals and mortgage the moon to remain the 1%. Eat the rich! Sorry — what were we talking about again?
What are you working on next?
I am currently focused on making the first Moonshine Hustle novel, Vertigo Punch, a smutty, anarchist, action packed romp. I also have short fiction in the pipeline for a variety of publications.