Giveaway & Interview: Guy Hasson, Author of The Emoticon Generation

HassonEmoticonGenerationCoverFolks, please welcome Guy Hasson back to the blog. Recently, I enjoyed being part of The Little Red Reviewer’s blog tour featuring Guy Hasson’s The Emoticon Generation. If you missed my review, check it out over HERE. Today, we have a great interview with Guy, followed by his generous giveaway of 10 ebook copies of his book The Emoticon Generation. The giveaway is open international – scroll to the bottom to enter.

Without further ado, here is Guy Hasson:

1) This year you have published two novels, The Emoticon Generation and Secret Thoughts, both collections of stories. The first focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and the second on telepathic women. How did you go about developing these stories as the two subjects are so very different?

The Emoticon Generation is filled with stories about Big Ideas and what they mean to us and to the characters in the stories. For example, the story that gave the book its title, Generation E: The Emoticon Generation came to me when I realized that emoticons are actually words that are too small to say. For example, if instead of using a smiley, you would say, “Hey, I like that” you would give too great an emphasis to whatever it is you wanted to put a smiley on. It’s not the same. Smileys are words that are smaller and shorter than written or spoken words.

So once I had that idea in my head I asked myself, What’s the tinniest tiniest word that could ever be? The answer’s in the story, of course. And out of the answer came all the situations and all the characters that you meet there.

In Hatchling I figured out a new way to create a human being. The result is the most human and touching story in the collection.

In Freedom Is Only a Step Away I tried to suggest a new way to teach kids everything they need to be taught in school in a way that doesn’t limit their imagination and feeling of freedom.

So The Emoticon Generation is a story about Big Ideas. Just like the science fiction I grew up on.

HassonSecretThoughtsMeanwhile, Secret Thoughts is about delving deep, deep, deep into our own brains. If telepaths, capable telepaths, ever exist, wouldn’t it make sense that their understanding of us, and themselves, would be so much greater than our own? If someone could delve into the depths of everyone they see, wouldn’t that give them knowledge about what we are and what they are? I wrote the book’s first novella The Perfect Girl imagining a world in which telepaths exist and there are experts at what they do. These experts teach the newbies about the secrets of our minds. It was a chance to go exploring our deepest places and the dark crevices we never allow ourselves to see. I wrote The Perfect Girl back in 2005 as a stand-alone. It won the Geffen Award for Best Short Story of the Year. I never meant it to be anything more. But even as I was writing it, I knew I was creating a world, and that there could be dozens of stories written about it. Part of what makes The Perfect Girl story rich is that I hint in it to about six other stories about telepaths I could have written, but never did. The world feels like it has so many possibilities.

Years passed, and I kept returning to that world. I had crazy ideas about what real telepaths would do. For example: Telepaths connect by touch. What if a telepath got pregnant? She would feel the baby growing in the womb. She would feel not its thoughts, but its first half-thoughts, its first half-formed emotions. She would feel the brain that isn’t yet human, but is half human, a quarter human. She would sense what it’s like to become human, step by step. That’s the story of the last novella in the book, Most Beautiful Intimacy. Now, if you had ideas like these, could you resist writing them and putting them in a book?

2) You also work in film and will be releasing an independent science fiction short film soon, The Indestructibles. Care to give us a little tease and temptation on what this film is about?

Ah, this is fun. The Indestructibles is an idea I had for a film. The budget? A mere $600 million. The story was carved out, I knew everything that was going to happen in it, and I had the first twenty minutes written.

And then I stopped. I’ve already written big budget scripts on spec. They’re still waiting for Hollywood to glance in my direction. But why should I wait for Hollywood? Even if producers bought my scripts, my scripts would not survive the experience the way I had intended them to be. So… Why can’t I do these films at home? I already had a low-budget feature-length SF film under my belt, which I had written, directed, shot, and produced. So I knew I could shoot a professional film, guerilla-style. If I could find a way to rewrite the script so that it fit my budget, why, then… I have a camera at home, I know great actors, I could limit the number locations, I could write it for one-shots which would almost eliminate the need for an editor, and I’d shoot and direct it myself for free… It could be done!

So I rewrote the script. I turned an epic SF tale that spanned centuries and contained scenes with dozens and hundreds of superheroes – I turned that story into a 45-minute film that was shot for $250.

I already shot the film, it’s been edited, and right now we’re going back-and-forth on the soundtrack. If all goes well, it’ll be ready in a few weeks. At which point I will release it for free on the web and let the story find its audience.

I really don’t want to say anything about the content of the film, because everything in it is a spoiler, except that it’s a classic superhero tale turned on its head two times over, to create something you’ve never seen before.

If you want to be updated when it comes out, follow my blog.

And the most important thing is: Now that it’s done, I know I can do it by myself, without a studio. I can tell almost any SF story I want in film… By myself. At home. With my little camera.


3) You also have a serialized fairy tale fantasy, Tickling Butterflies, on your blog. What drew you to attempt to capture 128 fairy tales in one story?

This is turning out as a confessional for how my pieces are made. Works for me.

Here’s how Tickling Butterflies was created.

At first, I wanted to create a story that’s such an explosion of imagination the readers would be thunderstruck. The original concept was to create some kind of encyclopedic map of a magical fairy tale land and have the book be a dump of story ideas. Well, that idea died quickly. If it doesn’t have a story that runs through it, I can’t write it.

So I found a story about King John the Cute. John is born with a prophecy hanging over his head: That this little farm boy will become king at the age of 18 and would die at the age of 20, having saved the fairy tale land. We follow John through his adventures, which, as a side benefit, take us through all the fairy tales of the land. It begins innocently enough with the fairy tales of his childhood up to the point where he becomes king. Then, forced to discover the secrets of the land, John explores it. It begins with regular-themed fairy tales (like the Happily Ever After Home for the Married, where all the romantic fairy tales go to live), but then twists to discover an island where all the funny fairy tales go (The Land of No Respect), and then to The River Red Continent where all fairy tales for adults exist. With John we go through fairy tales about the secrets and origins of magic, through legends about a land of storytellers, a land that has no magic, no happy endings, and no fate. And then the story gets really crazy…

It’s all done through fairy tales that are seemingly independent, but actually form to create an epic story involving all the threads of fairy tales we’ve seen along the way.

Writing Tickling Butterflies also gave me a chance to explore a writing technique I’ve never used before. I discovered how to write beautiful stories. Not just good stories or fun stories or interesting stories or wow stories, but stories that give you a feeling of beauty. Every few fairy tales, I would insert a beautiful tale, while in the fairy tales themselves I would slowly explore the nature of beauty.

As I wrote it, I realized why something is considered beautiful. So I created the solution to the big mystery in the book in such a way that it isn’t just a wow ending, but also a breathtakingly beautiful ending.

Don’t believe me? Read the book.

Tickling Butterflies is being translated to Hebrew and will published in Israel later this year. I’m also in talks with a European publisher that I can’t name yet. And after 45 agents in the US and the UK refused to look at it, I decided to serialize it online. A new fairy tale is being published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at my website. Here’s a page with the links to all the Tickling Butterflies stories that have been published so far.

4) You are also a playwright. What are a few of the key things you keep in mind when picking your medium to tell the story?

To me, every medium is about something else. Prose is about exploring a story, a plot, and ideas. The theater is about either comedy or the most gut-wrenching dramas. Film is about looking into the eyes of the actors/characters and seeing their souls.

A big thank you to Guy Hasson for adding a few more books to my towering To-Be-Read pile!


Entering the giveaway is simple. Leave me a comment on this post about the interview or about Guy Hasson’s works or his webpage. For greater chances to win, enter the rafflecopter below. Guy Hasson is generously giving away 10 ebook copies of The Emoticon Generation (see blurb below). This giveaway will be open for 4 weeks, closing on May 22, 2013. The giveaway is open international.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

From Goodreads:

Guy Hasson’s The Emoticon Generation features seven stories about life-changes brought about by our new electronic generation: stories that blur the borders between our world and science fiction, stories that make you ask, ‘Has this already happened? Is that actually true?’

In this collection you’ll find a man who, after losing his fiancée to a terrible accident, seeks to learn if true love really exists; a girl, hardly a teen, who searches for her father only to learn a terrible truth about herself; a man who wants to immortalize his genius but ends up tricking himself out of it; an old hero whose entire life unravels when the truth about his heroic act is revealed; a harmless birthday gift that triggers a profound search into the depths of a young couple’s relationship; and more.

Guy Hasson is one of the freshest new science fiction authors out there, with a knack for finding the human heart in the biggest ideas.

5 thoughts on “Giveaway & Interview: Guy Hasson, Author of The Emoticon Generation”

  1. I enjoyed the interview and I was especially compelled by Guy’s answer to the final question. It goes a long way to explaining why every story doesn’t work in every medium, but also why some stories are enhanced by exploring them other media.

    1. Very true. I definitely have been thinking about this lately. I love Gaiman’s Stardust, but I think I love the movie just a little more because we visually see how the two main characters change through the tale.

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