INKling Wall of Fame: John Possidente

INKling Wall of Fame


Once, not so long ago, did a man join our INKubator server, and quickly integrated with our community. Before we knew it, he was family. Much to our surprise, it turned out he’d used the Necronomicon to aid in his efforts. He still speaks in the tongue of the Old Ones every now and then but we’ve accepted that’s just who he is. And we love him and all his tentacly glory.

So it’s really no surprise now that he has taken off with his writing career in top magazines with such speed. It’s with our pride and love (and maybe a bit wariness) that we hang him in our Wall of Fame.

And who is this mythos-gic person? None other than John Possidente! Remember that name surely, for it is known.

However, he shall always be “Kevin in the Box” to us. It’s his own fault–that’s the screen name he joined under. And we must admit, it’s super convenient for easy storage.

INKling Wall of Fame: John Possidente

John PossidenteDespite a sort of false start in science journalism, John somehow ended up writing for games instead, which he enjoyed immensely. However, science fiction was his first (literary) love, and now that he’s returned to it he hopes it will be even more fun than games. John is based in Baltimore, where he and his family raise monarch butterflies every summer.


John’s science fiction stories “The Dead Man’s Coffee” and “Red Sword of the Celiac” appear in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of Interzone and the March/April issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, respectively.

His other work includes:


How do you feel your membership at INKubator contributed to your success?

That’s easy. Having other writers to talk to and show works in progress to is hugely encouraging and motivating. Writing is a very solitary endeavor, but in every hobby you need people who love it as much as you do and are willing to chatter on about it for hours.

What inspired you to write these stories?

What’s unusual for me is that both of these started from a title. “Red Sword”, which I wrote first, popped into my head during a chat about celiac disease. It sounded like a fantastical euphemism for the gut pain celiac can cause. It also sounded like the title of an old SF pulp novel. I’d been reading essays by Barry Malzberg, and suddenly–boom–the idea of writing a review of that book.

Do you have any advice based on your experience so far for other writers still struggling for acceptance?

I guess you mean acceptance by a publication. I’d say try to understand that it’s a business, and there’s an element of chance to it. When you submit a story, you’re trying to make a match between your piece (which we’ll assume is good or you wouldn’t be sending it out), the publication’s usual content and style, what the editor believes the readers will appreciate, and the needs of the issue the editor is trying to fill at that very moment. Hugo winning stories got rejected. Don’t let rejections bother you. They’re just a necessary part of the process.

Is there a technique or structure or resource you found especially useful in getting your accepted piece ready for submission?

Ray Bradbury’s advice to write the thing you’re passionate about. The project you should be working on is the one that you can’t get out of your head. You won’t always have one of those, but when you do, run with it.

What draws you to the genres/topics you write?

It’s been said before, but I love that SF, science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction–whatever you call this huge tangle of subgenres–gives you the freedom to write about anything. You’re not bound to humans and their petty foibles and dramas (although those can make great stories). There are no limits except the ones you put on yourself.

Say one day you become a famous writer and your works become the object of academic study, what message would you like people to know about this story to clear up possible speculations they might make?

Red Sword was influenced by Malzberg and Borges, but also by every late night  B-movie and pulp novel I ever ran into and gleefully devoured. Any deep themes anyone finds in anything I write are (almost certainly) purely accidental, and I take no responsibility for them.

What’s the most difficult part of your writing process?

Carving out the time to do it. Life seems to perversely go out of its way to throw responsibilities and events at you just when you’ve had a great idea and literally just sat down at the keyboard.

How long have you been writing?

I started when I was a wee thing, two years after the first moon landing–so approximately a zillion years.

(insert random, silly question)

Yes, but there’s no evidence, so it never happened.

What advice would you give a writer just starting their journey?

Do it because you enjoy it. You might never make a cent from it, you might never have an audience to read your work, but if you love what you’re doing, all of that is just gravy, anyway.

Do you have a quirk to your personality that you think most people don’t share or find weird?

No; I am the very definition of normal, stable, and sane. Why else would I write?


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