“His Name was Pumpkin Spice” is Greer Thompson’s contribution to the Coffee: Hot anthology. I loved this science fiction tale in which a spy’s trip to a safe house takes an unexpectedly sexy turn. Greer was kind enough to answer some of my emailed questions. Find out more about him at http://www.humming-rain.com/greer-thompson.
How did you come up with the idea and the setting?
I’m honestly not too sure, it just came to mind. Which I realize is a terrible answer! I started with the idea of spies undercover, flavoring a drink with fragments of memories and sensations, a night in the rain, threw in the layout of a coffee shop I knew, and just worked from there. I’m a bit of a seat-of-the-pants writer when it comes to plot and worldbuilding, and that was the case here, as well.
Will we see more of Turner’s adventures in the future? Or Spice’s?
I’ve been toying with the idea. I really enjoyed both characters. They’re fun to write, and I like how they contrast each other. It could make for some interesting stories. But I think part of what works with this story is its implication of the bigger world, of adventures past and future and the interstellar conflict that employs the two main characters. If I wanted to do more stories with Turner and Spice, I’d need to flesh that out a lot, and I’d want to be careful to make it worthy of the implications set up in this story. I think it’d a fun challenge, though, especially if I managed keep the lighthearted tone of Pumpkin Spice, at least somewhat, so maybe I’ll give it a crack someday.
One of the aspects of the world I enjoyed were the deliberate anachronisms. Nano-technology and brain implants, set against a rather typical coffee shop complete with chipped cups. How did you decide on these details?
I wanted a setting that felt approachable, like it was, more or less, a coffee shop. Most of the science fiction I write is set on spaceships, or other places where the technology and the futurism of the setting takes front and center. With this story I wanted there to be hints of the sci-fi world beyond the scope of the story, but not to delve into it too much. To that end I decided to include the nano-tech coffee machine and the brain implants, as they’re essential to the action, but to try and keep the rest of it low-key as far as the fancy technology, and see what I could do with those constraints. I also wanted to make a lot of this setting feel like it could be plausible sooner in the future rather than later, which meant I wanted to limit the tech level of the coffee shop a fair bit.