Interview: Richard Larson on “Warm Math”


Rich LarsonTell us a bit about “Warm Math.”

A claustrophobic escape pod thriller featuring espionage and psychosurgery.

What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

“Warm Math” is obviously a riff on “The Cold Equations” by Tom Godwin, but I’ve never actually read that story — I just know the basic plot. It’s also inspired by Chuck Palahniuk and Memento, plus a long conversation that took place in a semi-flooded park in Gatineau.

Who do you consider to be your influences?

I’m more influenced by specific works than by specific authors. There are many writers who produce a whole bunch of stuff I’m ambivalent about, but one thing I love obsessively. For instance, CS Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen of Attolia, or MT Anderson’s feed. The writer I can think of who produced a whole bunch of stuff I love obsessively is Kenneth Oppel.

What are you working on now?

I use interviews as a way of procrastinating, so what I am not working on now is a novel about a despised prodigal returning to his icy homeworld to hunt down an ancient sapient machine and break a mining strike. It’s a mish-mash of many influences: the poem Beowulf, novels like Rose and Germinal, an old online game called Galidor Quest, and shows like Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman. 

Sometimes I think it’ll turn out great. Sometimes I do interviews.

“Warm Math” appears in the May/June 2020 issue of F&SF.

You can buy a paper copy of the issue here:

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You can subscribe to the electronic edition of F&SF at the following links:

Weightless Books (all formats):

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Amazon UK (Kindle edition):

Click on Mr. Larson’s photo to visit his Patreon page.


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