Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight - David Levine

Our next Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight features David Levine, who is displayed on card number 177 from the Science Fiction Collection.  David is a multi-winning author with over 60 science fiction stories to his name.  Numerous awards such as the 2006 Hugo Award for best short story and the 2017 Andre Norton award for his book Arabella of Mars. He is also a member of Book View Café, a writer-owned publishing cooperative.  He is working on his third novel which will be coming out soon.  You can find more information on David at his website,  www.daviddlevine.com.

How early in your life did you know you would be a writer?

I started writing science fiction at a very young age. I wrote a whole SF novel in fourth grade. But I stopped writing fiction after I graduated from college and didn't start again until I was 37. I think it was at age 40 or so that I seriously started to identify myself as "an SF writer."

How has writing today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?

The markets have changed quite a bit. Many of the magazines I started out submitting short stories to are now gone, but many websites have appeared in their place. Also, paper submissions have been almost completely replaced with online submissions. All in all I think the process of submitting stories is easier and faster than it used to be. The fiction itself has changed largely in the amount of attention and respect paid to women and people of color. This was a factor even 20 years ago but I think we are paying it much more and more nuanced attention now.

If you did not become a writer, what would you be doing?

Probably spending more time running science fiction conventions. That's an avocation that I have allowed to slip away as I've spent more time on my writing.

Are you still involved with writing today, and what role do you play?

I'm mostly a novelist these days, and with my third novel coming out soon the process of managing my career is taking up more time than the writing.

What are your favorite type of books and why?

I prefer standalone science fiction novels rather than fantasy or series. I also like stories with big new ideas rather than those that rehash old tropes.

What are your favorite hobbies today?

I really enjoy travel! This may be the first year in over a decade I'm not leaving the continent (but I am going to Quebec, which is almost like going overseas).

How has your involvement in the writing profession been important to you?

It's brought me so much recognition and satisfaction. Also a lot of frustration and angst!

What does it take to be a professional writer today?

Same as always… talent, flexibility, and most importantly persistence.

What do you think about electronic books that you can download versus the actual physical hard copy?

Personally, I still prefer paper books. E-books have many advantages but somehow I just find them less engaging.

What authors do you admire today and who did you look up to as a child? 

I admire anyone who sticks to a personal vision, including N. K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Nnedi Okorafor. When I was a kid I admired hard SF writers like Larry Niven and Arthur C. Clarke.

What are your favorite books past and present?

My all-time favorite book is likely Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks. The one I liked most in the past year or so was probably All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.

Who is your favorite celebrity and what makes that person special?

I'm just in love with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who combines acting, screenwriting, songwriting, playwriting, and political action, all at a world-class level, and manages to be a genuinely nice guy at the same time.

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a trading card? 

Ha! Not at all!

Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading Card?  If so, where?

Not for the trading card itself, no.

When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?

He approached me at the Nebula Weekend right after I won the Andre Norton award. But I'm pretty sure we met before that at some other convention.

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?

Enthusiastic.

Did you play Video games growing up and what were some of your favorites?

My first video game was the first video game, Space War. I also played Pong and Computer Space, and when I was in college I had a Vectrex machine. (Look 'em up, kids.)

If you can design your own video game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?

It would probably be something involving solving puzzles and exploring a world rather than running, jumping, punching, or shooting. Maybe something like Monument Valley. The main character would be rather a nonentity, so that the player can project themselves into the character more easily.

What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? 

They take up more time and attention than I prefer to spend on them. I also don't watch much television. My real life is my main pastime.

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

I believe some video games are too violent -- certainly too violent for me to enjoy -- but I do not believe that video games lead to violence.

If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why? 

I loved the Addams Family pinball game. For video games it would probably be Tron.

What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years?

I hope that I will still be traveling, still be writing, and still enjoying life with my friends and lovers.