Daniel O’Riordan – Across Town Featured Author

The following is an auto-biography from Across Town: Stories of Columbus contributor Daniel O’Riordan.  Across Town is available here for $9.35.

Daniel’s story “Killer,” a futuristic thriller about a chaos-inducing, euphoric drug is a fantastic contribution to the anthology.

One of the side effects of growing up on a farm is that you lose interest very quickly in anthropomorphizing animals. The day to day realities of dealing with farm animals takes the luster off that shiny little object real fast. For that reason, you won’t find a lot of animals in my stories. Even though Columbus, Ohio has been referred to in the past as Cowtown, there are no cows in my story, “Killer”.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit a love of Watership Down and Brian Jacques’ Redwall series, but you just don’t see any cows gracing those pages either. I suppose someone could argue cows are under served in the realms of fantasy fiction, but I see anything beyond their comedic value in Far Side cartoons as a lost cause.

Not so for ferrets. We have nine of the little weasels, Cassidy, Connor, Culler, Haley, Kaya, Prancer, Shane, Simba, and Vegas. We also have two mink, Loki and Donahue, a different quality of weasel, and three dogs, Quinn, Casey, and Tasha. The dogs, for the record, aren’t the slightest bit weasely, save for a love of day-old chicks.

I haven’t actually used any ferrets in my stories, but I once modeled two alien races after them. The first were the Camodecans. Between one and one-and-a-half meters tall, they were covered with fur ranging from light to dark brown and had long snouts with olfactory organs running down each side. A bulbous point at the end emitted pheromones complex enough to express abstract concepts, and smell was their primary means of communication. It made them great walking lie detectors since they could sense the slightest changes in biochemistry in other races.

The other race was the Chenitans. Similar in height and build to the Camodecans, although without the long snouts, their fur ranged from creamy white to black. They were extremely hyperactive and excellent at multitasking. While other races would go into battle with massive battlecruisers bristling with weapons, the Chenitans preferred individual fighters. Their unbelievably fast reflexes let them zip around erratically to the extent that lock-on by targeting computers was almost impossible, and the small size made it extremely difficult to hit them with manual aiming.

Fun aliens from fun animals. The same can’t be said for cows.

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