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THE BIG INTERVIEW: FTN interviews Robopocalypse author and futurist Daniel Wilson

July 13th, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Daniel H. Wilson is the author of the New York Times bestselling Robopocalypse and seven other books, including How to Survive a Robot Uprising, A Boy and His Bot, and Amped. In 2008, he hosted The Works on the History Channel. He earned a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as Masters degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. His novel Robopocalypse was purchased by DreamWorks and is currently being adapted for film by Steven Spielberg. Wilson lives in Portland, Oregon and he recently was assaulted by crazy ladies Katie Dalton and Sharon Stogner from our sister site I Smell Sheep

FTN Sharon: So my obvious question is: if every time you entered a room a theme song/music played what would it be?

DW: Oh my god, what a curse that would be! I’d love to be able to stare off in the distance and have the Lord of the Rings soundtrack play. That would also give me an excuse to buy a sweet cloak.

FTN Sharon: Do you really need a reason to buy a cloak? I think not!

DW: You don’t need a reason to buy a cloak, but you probably need a good reason to wear one.

FTN Sharon: You’ve written best sellers, got your PhD, got a movie deal… what is left that you want to accomplish?

DW: My life has oscillated between science and science fiction, and I’d like to get back more into the science aspect. Right now I’m working on a super secret project that will combine the two. I have learned that you either use your skills and knowledge or you lose them (which doesn’t seem fair).

You don’t need a reason to buy a cloak, but you probably need a good reason to wear one.

FTN Sharon: You drop words like “super secret” and give no hints? Does it involve how to build a life-like Thor robot? Cause that would be pretty damn super…

FTN Katie: I can pull out the duct tape and start the interrogation at anytime…*holds tape threateningly*

DW: No Thor-like robots involved… so you’ll have to track down Chris Hemsworth himself if you want to ogle the six-pack from Valhalla. It’s more boring than that, just a transmedia type of storytelling that will take place on a device and have elements of audio books and video games.

FTN Sharon: *eyes glaze over* Wha?

FTN Katie: No Thor for you today *hands Sharon a tissue*

FTN Sharon: What is the nerdiest thing you own?

DW: Easy answer. The nerdiest thing I own is a website that I built from the ground up to give me statistics on my Magic The Gathering decks. The site is at, but I don’t make any money at it and it usually doesn’t work.

FTN Sharon: We just interviewed urban fantasy author James Tuck and he has over 10K Magic The Gathering cards! You do have the Rabid Sheep card, right?

DW: You mean the Rabid Wombat? Tons of them roam through my decks.

The nerdiest thing I own is a website that I built from the ground up to give me statistics on my Magic The Gathering decks.

FTN Sharon: oh, no… I give you: Flock of Rabid Sheep

FTN Katie: Favorite Halloween costume you have worn?

DW: German astronaut. The costume involved a blonde wig and most of the outfit from when I went to Space Camp at age twelve. Suffice to say it no longer fits.

FTN Sharon: What kind of movies/TV do you like to watch?

DW: I’m overly optimistic about how much TV I’m going to be able to watch. I set out to watch very serious full series and then I end up watching cartoons and zombies. So, I’m all over anything with H. Jon Benjamin in it, like Bob’s Burgers and Archer. Futurama rarely disappoints. And I hate watching The Walking Dead, but damned if I can’t quit it.

FTN Katie: Hate the Walking Dead? Dude, why?!

DW: So much angst. So many zombie dry spells when no undead bothering to show up. And way too much good guy/bad guy bullshit. But then, every now and then, pow! The Sheriff will just put a bullet into somebody’s forehead and your faith in the show is renewed.

I hate watching The Walking Dead, but damned if I can’t quit it.

FTN Katie: Have you ever read a romance book?

DW: Does Clan of the Cave Bear count? Because I recall that book series being scandalously X-rated and prehistoric.

FTN Sharon: *facepalm* no, it doesn’t count.

FTN Katie: *Head desk* Wow, just…wow.

DW: It’s just that… I thought… I was, uh, joking?

FTN Sharon: Sexiest robot, scariest robot, badass-ist robot?

DW: Maria from Metropolis. The Parasite from Robopocalypse. Mecha with a chainsaw coming out of its crotch from the movie Robot Jox. (Yeah, I named one of my own robots.)

FTN Sharon: I expected nothing less. I am off to google Robot Jox for obvious reasons…

DW: Now you know never to trust a guy named Tex.

FTN Katie: What the heck is Pinnocchiopunk

DW: For a while, Cory Doctorow was fond of putting the suffix ‘punk’ on anything and everything. When he applied it to my short story The Nostalgist, I have to say I was flattered to be included in the Doctorow pantheon of punk.

FTN Sharon: If you could have any piece of art in the world in your home what would it be?

DW: A partial leg from a spider tank, taken from the set of the Robopocalypse movie. Which hasn’t been filmed yet. But hopefully will be. Hurry up, Spielberg!

FTN Sharon: Yeah, Spielberg! (by the way, does Spielberg smell like awesome and money?)

DW: Yes. And cookies.

FTN Sharon: I knew it! ok, Rapid Fire – Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt… much.

FTN Sharon: Mr. Rogers or Captain Kangaroo?( If you don’t know who they are then Blue’s Clues or Little Bear?)

DW: Are you kidding? Mr. Rogers always wins. Plus, I lived in Pittsburgh for years and if I answered any different they would never let me visit again. And I don’t want Daniel Tiger clawing me up either.

FTN Katie: Needle nose or flat nosed?

DW: Nail-head biter.

FTN Sharon: Salt water or fresh water?

DW: Fresh water. I’m from Oklahoma. Sweet, sweet tornado-raked, landlocked Oklahoma.

FTN Katie: Moonlight or sunlight?

DW: Sunlight. Not enough of it here in Portland. Send some.

FTN Sharon: Katie lives in sunny Bay Area of CA. I’m sure she can hook you up… we’ll talk later.

FTN Katie: No way, we like ours! Take some from Arizona!

DW: I want sunlight, not more fog. Arizona it is.

FTN Sharon: Symphony or rock concert?

DW: Symphony. My last rock concert ended with a fist fight in the parking lot.

FTN Sharon: aaannnnnd… did you really think you could get by without more details? What concert?

DW: Def Leppard concert. Smack talking. I think I walked away the winner, but my jaw didn’t close right for a week.

My last rock concert ended with a fist fight in the parking lot. I think I walked away the winner, but my jaw didn’t close right for a week.

FTN Katie: Coke or Pepsi?

DW: I claim Pepsi but I secretly drink Coke.

FTN Sharon: Not sure how I feel about this…

FTN Katie: BOOM! Another win for Coke!

DW: And I only drink the little bitty cans. Because my god, soft drinks are terrible for you.

FTN Sharon: Grits or oatmeal?

DW: Oatmeal. With two kids under three, this is a food item more often on me than in me.

FTN Sharon: Don’t worry when they get older, it gets worse.

DW: But someday my kids will be spoon-feeding me oatmeal, right? Oh, wait. No, they’ll buy a robot to do that.

FTN Sharon: I see what you are trying to do there… bring this interview back round to robots and you! oh ,wait… <G>

FTN Katie: Pacific or Atlantic?

DW: Ocean Pacific.

FTN Sharon: El Dorado or Atlantis?

DW: Atlantis is more dreamy and magical, and not associated with sweaty Spaniards and their gold lust.

FTN Sharon: dreamy and magical, sweaty Spaniards and lust… sure you haven’t read a romance novel?

FTN Katie: Monster under the bed or in the closet?

DW: Under the bed, with a big hairy arm waiting to swipe my ankles.

FTN: Thanks for taking the time to play with us. Is there anything you would like our readers to know before we give you a tour of the dungeon? Upcoming appearances, releases, what is under your bed…

DW: My latest novel is called AMPED and it’s out right now! Find me on Twitter @danielwilsonPDX or on my website at Oh, and a box full of nintendo games and four well-worn VHS tapes are under my bed: Princess Bride, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Neverending Story.

FTN Sharon: *getting all teary eyed* You are so cool! Have a moonpie and some Kool-Aid (here are some extra for your kids. Don’t worry they are healthy-ish)

DW: Thanks, ladies!


I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.