UNGOW! Hello! Fester Cat here, taking control of Paul’s blog. I often attempt to reach the keyboard, but he always interprets these as opportunities to take adorable photographs of the two of us. I humour him, but I have always had an urge to do some investigative journalism. He’s off watching some episodes of Crossroads at the moment, so today I am interviewing author Cody Quijano-Schell. (I fully realize this is a piece of fluff journalism, but I have to get my paw in the door somehow)
Fester: So Cody, you have been involved with Obverse Books since its inception?
Cody QS: Yeah, Obverse published my first short story. I’ve since written other Iris stories for Obverse, a Bernice Summerfield story for Big Finish and have a Dark Shadows audio script in the works called “The Flip Side” (for Big Finish as well).
Fester: Tell meow more about your current project.
Cody QS: My Iris Wildthyme story in the very first Obverse Iris collection (“The Celestial Omnibus”) served as a backdoor pilot for this current endeavor. The novella series is called “The Periodic Adventures of Senor 105” and is written by myself and others. The concept is roughly based on the tradition of the surreal Mexican Masked Wrestler films and comic books of the 60’s. Senor 105 is a semi-retired luchador turned scientist who obsessed with the Periodic Table of Elements. His wrestling gimmick is that he has a different mask for each element. And since the series is set in 1970, he has only 105 masks instead of 118 or whatever.
Fester: So the series is all about Mexican traditions?
Cody QS: No, not at all. It’s sci-fi/fantasy/spy/weirdness. There’s a whole cast of international characters. 105’s sidekick Sheila is from Paris, and he has associates from Canada, Japan, the United States, etc. He has a Japanese friend named Mr. Tea who is obsessed with England. Then there’s Lori, a woman who aspires to be a Canadian Mountie. Jorge Zumbido is a Mexico City nightclub owner and schmaltzy easy listening recording artist. And more! The series has an international scope, but tends to avoid adventures taking place in England.
Fester: What’s wrong with England?
Cody QS: From 105’s perspective, nothing interesting ever happens in England - No alien incursions or world-threatening crises. What he doesn’t realize is that there’s someone else who is taking care of all of those.
Fester: Ungow! Who do you mean?
Panda: He obviously is referring to ME!
Cody: Among others.
Fester: Panda, please just hold the microphone quietly. You are neither interviewer nor interviewee.
Cody: Here Panda, you can sit on my knee. There. Later, I’ll hold the microphone when he interviews you, okay?
Panda: You’re patronizing me, but that’s fine. I’m only here because I want to know if you talk about me. There’s only one thing worse than being talked about and…
Fester: UNGOW!!! Let’s get back on track. Cody, you were talking about the Periodic Adventures… I take it the title is a play on words that they’re released periodically? Like a comic book?
Cody QS: Yes, the Periodic Adventures are released as e-books, usually every other month, but we also plan to collect them in special-edition printed omnibuses, 3 or 4 novellas in one! The spines, when lined up, will resemble the Periodic Table. Collect them all!
Fester: So with an ocean of ebooks and genre fiction out there, why should my readers be interested in your series?
Cody QS: I think the PA’s have a unique viewpoint and the authors are given a lot of room to put their own creativity into their novellas. There is also a deliberate effort made to use settings and unique cultural viewpoints. For example, the international settings/explorations of other countries, but also many of the stories have supernatural or fantasy elements to it, which is not as common in a world of science fiction. Senor 105 is a man of science, but he’s seen evidence of unearthly goings-ons.
The most recent release is called “Green Eyed and Grim” by Selina Lock and features a rogue Grim Reaper.
Fester: So potentially, you’re as likely to see a real werewolf as you are to see aliens who look like werewolves?
Cody QS: Exactly. And the point is: in a world of fiction, calling something alien is often just a gobbledybook technobabble explanation of why something is “scientific” instead of “magic” and that can be rather boring. The supernatural has mystery and intrigue. Occasionally using those kinds of elements in fiction doesn’t negate the ability to also write from a science-realism point of view in the same series. It keeps the mix fresh.
Fester: But there –are- aliens in the Periodic Adventures of Senor 105?
Cody QS: Oh yes. In fact, 105’s sidekick Sheila is a mass of intelligent Helium atoms. She’s of a race called the Sentients, one of the founding families from the time of the Big Bang. And she’s searching for her family from whom she’s been separated. We get hints here and there about them, and we will eventually find out what happened to them, and who the Aurorals are. Other aliens mentioned so far are the Modulars, the Binaries, the Wandering Ones…
Fester: The Clockworks?
Cody QS: Yes, when 105 crosses over with Iris, they’ve been mentioned. But generally, 105’s universe is his universe, and hers is hers. They meet up occasionally.
Cody QS: They’re just friends. I think.
Panda: Definitely!!! Iris would never get herself involved with a such a musclebound moron, even if he is a world-class scientist and inventor! So what if he can also play the piano! Besides, I think it would break her mother’s heart if she didn’t marry a doctor, in fact….
Fester: HISSSSS! You are ruining my interview!
Cody QS: It’s okay, really. But it is true that Iris is the only person (that we know of) who has seen Senor 105’s face without his mask. Well… there was a Venusian, but they kept all but one of their five eyes shut when they looked.
Fester: Is this one of the Venusians from Paul Leonard’s “Venusian Lullaby”? Is Senor 105 a Doctor Who spinoff?
Cody QS: Oh no, he’s an Obverse Books original character, like the Manleigh Halt Irregulars or Theo Possible. But I love Doctor Who books and Paul Leonard was kind enough to allow Blair Bidmead the use of his literary property in his Senor 105 novella “By the Time I Get to Venus”.
Fester: What else has the series done, or plan to do?
Cody QS: There’s been a mysterious crater full of alien technology. The Chixhulub crater in Mexico is evidence of the impact that killed the dinosaurs. In the 105 universe, this is the reason there’s so many strange goings-ons in his country. Other stories have been about strange towns, beings who are the personification of the planets of the solar system, Venusian martial arts, and a Christmas story. Coming up we have stories with visitors from the future, living tattoos, a globe-hopping adventure with a submarine, and a story from Philip Purser-Hallard featuring his characters named Wood & Stone who have been hinted at for years…
Fester: Well I think Crossroads is over… we should probably sneak out of here now. But remind us where you can buy the Periodic Adventures of Senor 105?
Fester: My pleasure. This is Fester Cat, signing out and headed to take a nap. UNGOW!!
follow Cody on twitter at: @CodyQS
follow Señor 105 on twitter at: @Senor105