Just For Fun

Fan Spotlight: Johan Swanljung

In our new feature, we’ll be interviewing Serial Box fans! Stay tuned for more fun interviews with our readers, and if you’d like to be considered for a fan interview, gives us a shout in the comments – you never know—interviewed fans might be picked to receive autographed book swag, sneak peeks, or other cool prizes.

Today’s interview is with Johan Swanljung, a reader of #ColdWitch, a world traveler, and a totally awesome person.


ze82O1DKTell us a bit about yourself:
I’m originally from Finland and grew up mostly in the U.S. (D.C., Pittsburgh, Chicago), but now I’ve lived a lot longer in Stockholm than anywhere else. I’m married to Sweden’s greatest living food writer (and aspiring urban fantasy/horror novelist) and have several children. For my mid-life crisis project I quit my cushy gig teaching high school math and physics to be a climate dynamics grad student. My hobbies are procrastination, homebrewing and neglecting my garden.

What are some of your favorite books and/or TV shows?
That’s such a hard question! If I just list some that I’ve read and really enjoyed in the last few years (some of which are old): Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, Declare by Tim Powers, To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, Anne Leckie’s Ancillary trilogy, everything by Charles Stross, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (though Fingersmith is my favorite of hers), Kindred by Octavia Butler, Dhalgren by Samuel Delany, Iain Banks’ Hydrogen Sonata, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. That’s from my Kindle list and probably not representative, but it will do, they’re all very good.

Right now I’m reading Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, who is a genius.

I usually watch lots of shows on Netflix but I’m in a phase where I’m tired of all of them. Ask me again six months from now.

How did you hear about Serial Box?
It was just a few months ago; I was looking for something to read and I’d enjoyed the first few books in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence so I checked Amazon to see if there were any new ones. There were two, but also the Kindle editions of the first few episodes of The Witch Who Came in From the Cold. When I saw that Ian Tregillis and Michael Swanwick were also on the writing team I was sold. (I hadn’t read the others before, but there don’t seem to be any weak links!)

Which Serials have you read?  Any favorite episodes so far?
Only #coldwitch so far apart from a couple of episodes of Bookburners. I’m a sucker for the cold war espionage/magic mashup genre. I adore Le Carré and #coldwitch has a much lighter tone, but all these people fumbling to make good choices in a dangerous amoral game where nobody trusts each other, well it’s a great backdrop; compounding it with an orthogonal magical axis of interests and alliances is brilliant.

Do you have any Serial Box reading habits (do you read them over lunch? Save them up and read a few episodes all at once? Etc.)
They come out too late in the day in Sweden to read them at lunch. I read them the first chance I get, which is usually the same evening.

Any genres, themes, or locations you’d love to see new Serial Box titles explore?
Not superheroes or zombies! Weird new places.

Website/social media: 
Follow!  @johanswa.

  • RW

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen someone describe teaching high school as a “cushy” gig! :p
    Adding Get in Trouble to my wish list, thanks for the rec!

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