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"Tweets from 2112": Meet the winner

The winner of the "Tweets from 2112" Challenge shares his thoughts on comet impacts, Star Trek reruns and the power of the public library.
Tell us about yourself. 
My name is Earl J. Woods (@EarlJWoods). I'm a 43-year-old Edmontonian, former speechwriter of Lieutenant Governor Lois Hole and until the last provincial election, a communications professional working for the (Alberta Liberal) Official Opposition. I'm currently serving as the online tutor of a popular culture course at MacEwan University, and I'm an occasional freelance writer. I distract myself with a tongue-in-cheek blog about politics and popular culture, though the emphasis falls much more on the latter these days. My wife Sylvia keeps me grounded in the real world! 

How did you hear about the "Tweets from 2112" Challenge?
I heard about Tweets from 2112 while browsing Twitter; I'm a follower of @cbcbooks

Your winning Oort cloud Tweet was pretty genre-specific. How do you feel about this Tweet winning, rather than one of your more universally themed Tweets (Shakespeare, Canadian politics, etc.)?
I'm very pleased that Mr. Sawyer chose my Oort cloud tweet over my other entries because it's the one I'm happiest with; it's the funniest, it says something about our Canadian identity, and it uses a common science fiction trope—the threat of asteroid/comet impacts. I'm actually rather glad my most political tweet, the one about the end of the Alberta PC dynasty, didn't make the longlist—as a former Alberta Liberal candidate and staffer, it feels a little too bitter and self-serving in hindsight. 

How do you use Twitter in general? 
I created my Twitter account for a number of reasons—to follow some thought leaders in arts, entertainment and politics, to keep track of several friends, to advertise my blog and, back when I was working for the Official Opposition, to monitor the #ableg and #ablib feeds. 

Have you taken part in other Canada Writes initiatives in the past?
I participated in the CBC Short Story Prize for the first time last year. I didn't win; in fact, I didn't even make the longlist. But that doesn't bother me, because the experience motivated me to finish a story I'm pretty proud of. My friend Neil challenged me to take part, saying he'd do it if I would, and we both wound up finishing stories before deadline. He's challenged me again this year, but to be honest the deadline sneaked up on me and between freelance writing assignments and online tutoring, I doubt I'll find the time to finish a story for this year's contest. That being said, I don't plan to give up until I make the longlist—if not this year, then the year after. Or the year after that, or after that...

From your blog, we can see you're a sci-fi fan. When and how did you first discover SF?
I first discovered science fiction at a very young age, wandering through the public library in Leaf Rapids, Manitoba. I don't remember the first science fiction novel I read, but I was exposed to H.G. Wells and Jules Verne very early on, and Star Trek reruns on CBC (one of only two channels available in northern Manitoba at the time) certainly piqued my interest in the genre. 

What are some of your favourite sci-fi themes as a writer?
My favourite SF themes include artificial intelligence, time travel, interstellar empires, dystopias/utopias and space opera. 

Which Canadian SF authors should more people be reading, and why?
I think it goes without saying more people should be reading Robert Sawyer, but since he's Canada's best-known SF writer, he probably doesn't need my endorsement. More people should read Robert Wilson, and thankfully some of his earlier works are back in print. Judy and Garfield Reeves-Stevens are best known for their work on Star Trek, but they've also written some wonderful near-future thrillers with strong SF elements. Candas Jane Dorsey is wonderful—she earned a spot in the Norton Anthology of Science Fiction, and she deserves wider readership. Plus she's an Edmontonian! Of the classics, people should check out A.E. Van Vogt, Slan in particular. 

What's the first thing you'll be downloading to your new iPod Touch?
What's the first thing I'll be downloading on my new iPod Touch? I don't know, is there a CBC Books app? ;-) [Editor's note: Not yet, Earl!]

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