Folks, please welcome Franz Ross (aka T. J. Kirby), author of Our Future Good. I really enjoyed Our Future Good, a sharp mix of near-future scifi and social commentary. The audiobook is narrated by Simon Vance, one of my all-time favorite narrators. He’s here today for a lovely chat about physics in science fiction writing, holography, life as a realtor, Warren Buffett, and much more. If you’re here for the giveaway, Franz if offering up 3 audiobook copies of Our Future Good. Scroll to the bottom to enter!
You have a dedicated interest in holography. How did you get started in that? How has the hobby changed over the decades?
I have a small publishing business and I happened to see a notice that these guys were giving classes on how to make your own holograms. If you ever see a real good volume hologram (a hologram that actually forms an image in space out in front of the plate) it is very impressive. People that have never seen one spend a lot of time running their hand through the ghost-like image.
So I did a book with the people that conducted these classes and the book was called the Holography Handbook and it was very well received. Both MacMillan and McGraw-Hill put it in their book clubs and the book sold well in stores too.
I then went on to do a series called the Holography Marketplace which had 8 editions and came out almost annually. Each edition had articles on holography and a database of all the businesses in holography. Each edition was also filled with lots of holograms from various vendors.
Artistic holography was very big for quite a while and there were hologram stores in lots of cities. It has kind of died down now and most uses of holograms today are in security devices like credit cards, money and things like that. It will probably come back in time.
What now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?
Aldous Huxley. I thought Brave New World was an interesting insight to where things might go. The other possibility for the future was 1984. It would be interesting to hear his comments.
What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?
Being a Realtor is very difficult because you never know what is going to happen or where your next dollar will come from.
Writing takes a long time and it is more time consuming and difficult than I first thought but you do it because you love doing it.
Who are your non-writer influences?
I like to casually follow stocks so people like Warren Buffett are interesting.
I really like cutting edge science so the things that people like Elon Musk are doing are very interesting. It is really exciting to be alive today because everything is changing so rapidly.
You have a degree in physics. Did that make writing your book, Our Future Good, easier or more difficult?
It helps a little because it allows you to discount a lot of the garbage in the news and gives you a more realistic idea as to where things are going to go. Our Future Good is the not too distant future and I think people will be surprised how quickly these things come to exist.
I will take this moment to sketch this out: One way of looking at the near future is that there will be 3 major human inventions during our time. The inventions will be so important that you would have to go all the way back to the invention of written language or the wheel to find something comparable.
1) The internet – We have just started this one and it is difficult to understand how incredible it is because you are living it.
2) Mobile Robotic Devices – This has not started yet but it is coming very soon. Call them robots if you like. Robots will make robots and repair robots. So you will be able to create huge quantities of robots if needed and they will do all our mundane chores.
3) Biological Evolution – This comes soon too. To survive as humans we have always gone out and wacked a plant or animal to death and then stuffed it in our mouth to get the nourishment we need. So we are basically using our body as a garbage disposal that leaches out nutrients that we need and this process also slowly clogs up our plumbing and kills us. We will find a way to provide all the nutrients our body needs without going through all this waste.
In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?
I really have to spend more time on this. I published a number of books by other authors in my business called Ross Books (www.rossbooks.com) but I never actually wrote a book before Our Future Good.
I admit I am not good at self-promotion and I need to work on it. Maybe your readers have some ideas.
If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class in SFF literature, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?
Brave New World
Some of Isaac Asimov’s voluminous writings (hundreds of books).
H. G. Wells
Thank you Franz for spending time with us!
Book Blurb for Our Future Good:
Mary and Joe are young people just graduating from their General Lessons. It is time for them to go to their first Project Day and choose the first Project they will to join. Mary wants desperately to get her boyfriend Joe to join her in the NutriSuit Project, but Joe wants just as desperately to do a Journalist Project because a major event is happening and Joe has an opportunity to play an important role
Places to Find Franz Ross (T. J. Kirby)
Now for the Giveaway! Franz Ross is offering up 3 (three!) copies of the audiobook Our Future Good. You need to have an Audible.com (USA) account. For a quick, easy entry in to the giveaway, leave me comment with the following: an email address, do you have an Audible USA account?, and recommend a scifi audiobook. For even more chances to win, do the rafflecopter thing.