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Besides writing you're also a teacher, is that right? I’m a teaching assistant, which means I’m not a proper teacher – here in the UK you have to take either a teaching degree or an extra year’s course on how to teach before they let you loose on a class of your own: I’ve done neither, despite having lectured at university. And I rather fell into the job, too. I was house-husband, my youngest child started primary school, and I just volunteered to help. I thought I’d be wiping noses and listening to the little ones read: instead I ended up in a class of ten and eleven year olds helping them with maths and english. After a few years of that, I was given the opportunity to take half a class at a time and teach them design technology. It’s supposed to be a bit of woodwork, a bit of cooking, a bit of sewing, a bit of model building. Stuff like that. Instead, we build bridges and bomb shelters and geodesic domes, cars and hovercraft and aeroplanes and rockets. Proper engineering, working from first principles. Probably not what you’d expect in a Primary school, but hey...

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Have you used any classroom experiments as inspiration for your fiction? You might have noticed I quite like domes. We did try and make a huge one out of rolled-up newspaper, but it didn’t really work. I’ve plans for a plastic pipe one, but like all state-run schools the world over, we’re not exactly rich, so I’m going to have to scrounge the pipes and work out a reliable way to join them together. But Petrovitch likes his domes, too. His are slightly more robust than mine. Fortunately. In my other, earlier life as a research scientist, my first lab had this massive cheese plant that had not only outgrown its pot but had thrown aerial roots down the sinks, and had become part of the building itself. Probably because we weren’t too diligent in watering the poor thing. In homage to that, Petrovitch and Pif have a small one in their office.

Profile for Conjectural Figments

Conjectural Figments Feb 2012  

ConFigs, the first issue. Transhumanism. Interview: Simon Morden. Poetry: Jhon Z. Baker, Dale Herring. Short Fiction: Richard Thomas, Simon...

Conjectural Figments Feb 2012  

ConFigs, the first issue. Transhumanism. Interview: Simon Morden. Poetry: Jhon Z. Baker, Dale Herring. Short Fiction: Richard Thomas, Simon...

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