Weird Fiction Review – Questionnaire

I have just answered (in no longer than an hour) the 60 questions asked here:

Neddal Ayad is collecting these answers in preparation for an article about them. You can send your answers to him at wingandclaw (at) gmail DOT com 

My own answers below.


1 – Write the first sentence of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.

“The dream had made me desperate, empty words only being able to explain their own emptiness until finding some less empty words via this dream’s unexpected provision of real writing materials.”

2 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?

8.30 a.m. gmt

3 – Look at your watch. What time is it?

8.38 a.m.gmt

4 – How do you explain this — or these — discrepancy(ies) in time?

Human fallibility in estimating the varying speeds of time and its intermittent retrocausalities.

5 – Do you believe in meteorological predictions?

Yes, and they are a great worry; I have weather OCD.

6 – Do you believe in astrological predictions?

I have practised astrological harmonics sporadically for many years and have experienced some ostensibly significant correlations and synchronicities. Not cause-and-effect, however, but ‘as above, so below’. 

7 – Do you gaze at the sky and stars by night?

Only rarely.

8 – What do you think of the sky and stars by night?

It makes me feel how insignificant my concerns are.

9 – What were you looking at before starting this questionnaire?

Updating my internet affairs. Before that preparing rubbish for collection.

10 – What do cathedrals, churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues, and other religious monuments inspire in you?

A sense of stability and aesthetic appreciation. Rarely spirituality.

11 – What would you have “seen” if you’d been blind?

Squeezed-eye shapes and floaters? Otherwise, nothing other than images that sighted people described to me then skewed by my imagination into internal images.  Hard to imagine what that would have been like.

12 – What would you want to see if you were blind?

Everything or nothing.  Just a bit would be maddening, I guess.

13 – Are you afraid?


14 – What of?


15 – What is the last weird film you’ve seen?

I rarely watch films. I’m guessing Lynch’s Inland Empire.

16 – Whom are you afraid of?

Everybody and nobody. I don’t mean that pretentiously. But the polarization of feelings happening simultaneously is common with me.

17 – Have you ever been lost?

Seriously lost. As a nine year old in Llanelli. In 1957, children were allowed to go shopping on their own in large cities. It was just I’d never been to Llanelli before.

18 – Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes and no. See next question.

19 – What is a ghost?

It is a work of fiction, the realest thing I can imagine.

20 – At this very moment, what sound(s) can you here, apart from the computer?

Men banging opposite. I think they are building a fence.

21 – What is the most terrifying sound you’ve ever heard – for example, “the night was like the cry of a wolf”?

My wife crashing our car into the side of our house many years ago.

22 – Have you done something weird today or in the last few days?

I have got off on the Higgs boson.

23 – Have you ever been to confession?


24 – You’re at confession, so confess the unspeakable.

I have many secrets.

25 –Without cheating: what is a “cabinet of curiosities”?

 Something that might appear in a Jeff VanderMeer fiction.  The words, without association, simply mean, however, a box or cupboard full of what most people would consider to be curious items.  Curiosity is a matter of opinion regarding an item’s relative weirdness or a desire to dig deeper than the surface.

26 –Do you believe in redemption?

Not really, other than as a significant trope in literature and religion.  Saying sorry is a social thing to make things run smoothly.  One is never completely forgiven.  Nor can one completely forgive.

27 – Have you dreamed tonight?


28 – Do you remember your dreams?

Yes, for a good while but then they gradually vanish unless I write notes about them that I rarely do. I think I remember that I remember dreams at least temporarily because I have to regularly get up two or three times in the night – and broken sleep makes you remember dreams more readily at the point of breakage.

29 – What was your last dream?

I have now forgotten. But I remember remembering it vividly during the night.

30 – What does fog make you think of?

Seemingly foggier days when I walked to school.

31 – Do you believe in animals that don’t exist?

Self-evidently, no.

32 – What do you see on the walls of the room where you are?

My wife’s Christmas quilts.

33 – If you became a magician, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Establish my sanity!

34 – What is a madman?

Someone that other people consider to be insane.

35 – Are you mad?

No. But my being definite there with my answer may put me into the category of the last question!

36 – Do you believe in the existence of secret societies?

Secrecy is a word you cannot define. I believe there are societies where the members are sworn to some pact of non-disclosure.

37 – What was the last weird book you read?

The VanderMeers’ ‘The WEIRD’

38 – Would you like to live in a castle?

Not really.

39 – Have you seen something weird today?

This questionnaire. (Sorry).

40 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever seen?


41 – Would you like to live in an abandoned train station?

Not really.

42 – Can you see the future?

Well, the Large Hadron Collider seems to have indicated that there is a particle speed greater than the speed of light. So I keep my options open.

43 – Have you considered living abroad?


44 – Where?

45 – Why?

46 – What is the weirdest film you’ve ever owned?


47 – Would you liked to have lived in a vicarage?

If it was a nice house suitable to my needs, then yes.  Location, location, location – not previous use.

48 – What is the weirdest book you’ve ever read?

The VanderMeers’ ‘The WEIRD’

49 – Which do you like better, globes or hourglasses?


50 – Which do you like better, antique magnifying glasses or bladed weapons?

Antique magnifying glasses.

51 – What, in all likelihood, lies in the depths of Loch Ness?

A few blind fish.

52 – Do you like taxidermied animals?

Intriguing, but like? Not especially so.

53 – Do you like walking in the rain?


54 – What goes on in tunnels?

Space between things that move within their margins.

55 – What do you look at when you look away from this questionnaire?

My daughter’s wedding photograph.

56 – What does this famous line inspire in you: “And when he had crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him.”?

As a writer, one needs to risk one’s imagination coming back to bite you.

57 – Without cheating: where is that famous line from?

Don’t know. (oops)

58 – Do you like walking in graveyards or the woods by night?

Yes. With constructive frissons.

58 – Write the last line of a novel, short story, or book of the weird yet to be written.

After establishing the false bottom, the end is near but never near enough.

59 – Without looking at your watch: what time is it?

9.25 a.m gmt

60 – Look at your watch. What time is it?

9.19 a.m gmt

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