Check out this author spotlight for Thomas Kast!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
I’m an award-winning independent photojournalist and illustrator living in Zurich, Switzerland, and have published several photography art books. I’ve spent a big part of his life in Israel, where I taught photography and illustration at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and other Israeli colleges.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Cat or dog?
Neither. I do like lizards, octopuses, squids and — last but not least — the great basilisk.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
Whether on a computer or pen and paper, pouring thoughts on paper is just the last component of the long and arduous process of creating literature. So what’s writing about, as far as I’m concerned? Procrastinating, for instance. I just love it. Procrastinating keeps my mind at rest. Thinking: you wouldn’t guess how much time I spend simply staring into the void, pondering grave philosophical matters, until I collapse from mental exhaustion. As an antidote, I then watch a lot of silly cartoons. Until I collapse from mental exhaustion again. Getting sucker-punched by my anger therapist: brings me down to Earth a little. Just a little. Spilling my guts to a random stranger I met on a park bench at 2:00 AM. Getting my heart broken. Then mended. Then broken again. Dying inside. Feeling alive. Drinking. Staying sober. Shaking my fist in the air, overcome with anger at a random act of social injustice I’ll likely forget the next day. Worrying too much. Worrying too little. Forgetting why I’m writing in the first place, or what I’m actually trying to say. All of this and all at once.
Standalone or series?
The Great Convergence is a self-contained standalone novel, and I can’t imagine doing any sequel/prequel. Standalone novels require a lot of discipline — the readers will either like it for what it is or not. There are no second chances. But I also created a comic book series: Bablah’s Odyssey, where I allow myself more leeway. If someone doesn’t like one issue, they still might enjoy another one. Writing a series allows for more thematic variety and experimenting.
Book or ebook?
Both. I enjoy the convenience of eBooks. That said, I also maintain a vast personal library for showing off. My book is also available in both formats: ebook for convenience and printed version as a conversation starter when entertaining the guests browsing through your shelves 😉
Hero or anti-hero?
The latter, of course. All my characters are deeply-flawed individuals, which, in my view, makes them more human. The problem with heroes is always the same: they mostly follow some archetype that hasn’t got much to do with real people. No one wants to be a loser, madman or an obnoxious jerk. Yet, it’s these flows we find relatable. Whether we like them or not, we care about what happens to the anti-heroes. The heroes always come on top anyway, so who cares?
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
Anything I haven’t seen yet. I love a strong voice and experimental writing. Something I think I’ll remember after reading, anything potentially enriching. But I also like humour, whether cynical or joyful. Humour lets the writer show distance towards their work. This is important if the narrating voice is to be a believable one.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
My recently released debut novel, the Great Convergence is an absurdist-philosophical science fiction piece. It evokes many of my real-life experiences fused with unhinged fantasies, which are often very difficult to tell from one another.
To summarise my book in one line: two competing academics living ten million years in the future travel back in time to 2020. In the course of their investigation into a mysterious event — the Great Convergence, they keep wrecking reality.
Overall, the Great Convergence is a subversive philosophical science fiction and a social satire. I’ve written to expose the absurdity of many ethical and intellectual ideals and to share a few good laughs.
Currently, I’m working on the humorous and philosophical comic book series Bablah’s Odyssey, which is scheduled for release in August 2022. Bablah’s Odyssey features a mad scientist, lord Bablah as he traverses the universe, mansplaining the ‘wonders of progress and civilisation’ to his unassertive yet perceptive mutant sidekick, the Pet-Thing.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
The Great Convergence:
10.000.002 A.D. A cantankerous scholar slipping into obscurity is out for revenge. He time-travels to the year 2022 to stop his nemesis, Scott — a successful scientist at a competing university — from thwarting his research into the origin of a mysterious phenomenon, the Great Convergence. Cunning and ruthless, Scott will stop at nothing to defend his tenure track. The feud quickly spins out of control, and the damage to reality grows unchecked.
Caught in the crosshairs are three characters responsible for triggering the Great Convergence: an art-hating professional art critic who, unbeknownst to him, spontaneously switches between universes wreaking havoc as he goes; a talentless artist whose sculptures act as trans-universal portals; and a schizophrenic astrophysicist trying to avert the invasion of alternate versions of himself from different realities. As their paths converge, the apocalyptic event takes place, and the inescapable tragedy of human existence unfolds.
You can read the first eight chapters for free on my website or purchase the book (print or eBook) on Amazon.
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
As for literature, I like the wry humour of Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams. I also like the philosophical insights of Stanislaw Lem and, perhaps, Philip Dick. Some classics: Franz Kafka, Charles Bukowski, George Orwell, Jerome K. Jerome, Joseph Conrad and more. I like philosophy, but not the philosophers 😉 I also read different mythologies and fairytales.
Apart from that, I read a lot of non-fiction: history (Ian Mortimer, Lucy Worsley, Stephen Runciman, Marc Morris, Juliet Barker, Christopher Hibbert, Barbara W. Tuchman), sociology and economics (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, William Davies, David Graeber), popular science (Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh, John Gribbin)
Films: anything by Wes Anderson (the narrative), Cohen brothers (the humour), Terry Gilliam (love the visuals and the story), and David Lynch (the wonderful weirdness). I like sci-fi mystery films: the Mothman Prophecies, Donnie Darko, the Box, Could Souls (fantastic concept), K-Pax (yes, I’m aware Kevin Spacey’s in it), Coherence, the Endless, Resolution, Being John Malkovich, Vivarium and many more. Sci-fi series: Counterpart, Devs, Futurama, Rick and Morty.
Music: Lots of Jazz: Miles Davies, Herbie Hancock, Grant Green, Bill Evans, Joey DeFrancesco, Tony Monaco, Squirrel Nut Zippers, classical music (lots and lots) and the weird stuff: Pixies, Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins, Van Der Graaf Generator, Miranda Sex Garden, Barry Adamson, Les Claypool — especially Primus Claypool and Lennon Delirium, King Crimson, Trey Gunn, Gong, Tool, Legendary Pink Dots, Public Image Ltd, Tom Waits, Talking Heads, Tindersticks, Frank Zappa, just to name the few off the top of my head.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I don’t have one. As I mentioned earlier, I compose everything in my head, and when I can’t hold off any longer, I make time and bang at the keyboard. I never really stop thinking about the book I’m writing. It’s like being constantly inspired without a break. As for typing, I can type during the day, in-between other things, or even wake up in the middle of the night and start filling up pages.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
I would try some reverse psychology to make me concentrate on my writing sooner 🙂
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
My personal website with photography, paintings and illustrations: www.thomaskast.com
Books and publications: www.thomaskast.space
Comic book preview: www.thomaskast.space/bablahs-previews
Amazon page: www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z5KH33
FB author’s page: www.facebook.com/Thomas-Kast-181359515250408 FB group Sci-Fi Planet: for discussing speculative fiction and sci-fi (just starting) www.facebook.com/groups/701808434002048