We've managed to tear Lesley away from her work at a shadowy government agency to answer a few questions. Lesley L. Smith is the author of "MyMind's Eye," which will appear in the September 30 issue of ElectricSpec. Lesley-this is actually the second story you've had in ElectricSpec. The first was nominated for Prego and Nebulous awards. Do youthink it's possible to top the last one?
Gosh, Dave, that's a really good question. Of course, it was a HUGE honor to be nominated for the Prego and Nebulous. I don't want to seem cocky, but I do have high hopes for "My Mind's Eye"; in fact, I'm hoping for an Extra-Spicy Prego nod this time. In all seriousness, I wrote "Entanglements" well over a year ago and I would like to think my writing skills have improved. Reading all our fabulous submissions at Electric Spec can only have helped. I also have an excellent critique group, which is something I highly recommend for all writers.
I hate to leave readers in suspense, so tell us what is a "mind's eye"?
I consulted my mind's eye for something funny to say here but I got nothing. So, I'll just say, 'mind's eye' refers to our ability to imagine, remember, and "see" things with our minds. Actually, now that I think about it, this might be a metaphor. What do you think, Dave?
I’m sorry, I’m having trouble seeing it. Anyway, I’m the one asking the questions here. Keep talking, er, typing.
Anyway, in the story, the protagonist can't see with his eyes very well, so he uses his mind's eye a lot--which ends up being beneficial.
What happens if you have poor mind's eyesight-can you get correctivelenses for that?
Sure. For the low, low price of only $1000 I can sell you some.Since you asked the question though I'm guessing you don't need any.
What inspired you to write "My Mind's Eye?"
I can tell you it was not that old Star Wars novel, "Splinter of the Mind's Eye". I was inspired by...wait for it...physics. I know this must shock you, Dave. Physics is filled with some truly bizarre ideas. One of these mind-bending ideas is that the universe may consist of more than the four dimensions humans perceive.The most popular number of dimensions is ten advocated by string theory.
I see your eyes are starting to glaze over, so I'll just say, the math makes us think such things. It's truly mind-boggling to try to imagine such more-than-four-dimensional things. And yes, I do use my mind's eye to do it. Of course, different numbers of dimensions isn't a new idea in SF. Way back 1884(!) Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote"Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions". As an aside, on the surface Flatland seems super-sexist, but I guess it's supposed to be social satire.
Why did you choose to have it published in Electric Spec rather than,say, Asimov's?
I think you know I really enjoy Asimov's (and Analog), and in fact The Good Doctor had a huge impact on my life, but what can I say, ElectricSpec is my fave zine.
I know—I hear it all the time. The editors over there are constantly e-mailing the editors here requesting that we stop snapping up all the good stories. There’s one that got away and is going to be published at Analog, but I can’t remember whose . . . oh yes, another one of yours! Anyway, I digress. Part of "The Mind's Eye" takes place in a particle accelerator. Is it true that you did some of your research for this story in your own personal particle accelerator that you constructed in your basement?
Good question. I did not use the accelerator in my basement this time around. Instead, I used the one at the national lab where I work. It was really interesting because [MATERIAL DELETED IN THE INTERESTS OF NATIONAL SECURITY].
Oh. So that’s why those guys in black suits were -- What guys in black suits? Why did I type that? Oh, well. Next question. Do you personally prefer two- or four- dimensional pancakes?
Four-dimensional pancakes, of course! The bigger the better! In fact, think I can say with confidence that all pancakes in the history of pancakes have been four-dimensional.
[Interview cut off here because the rest got too syrupy]