Robert Maas


Robert Maas grew up in England. Unsurprisingly, he thinks the English catastrophe novel is the highest form of fiction. From Wells and Wyndham to Ballad and beyond, he has reveled in the multitude of ways in which his home has been destroyed by marauding and discriminating aliens.

He now lives in Tokyo, enabling him to experience the destruction of his home in many new and inventive ways.

Smashwords Interview

What got you reading?
Where I grew up in the English countryside, there were no bookshops or even libraries of any size – just a couple of newsagents in the nearest town, and Woolworth's which sometimes had bargain bins of American paperbacks. For some reason, this Woolworth's had a bin full of remaindered, yellow-painted, notched American paperbacks of James Tiptree Jr.'s short story collection “Ten Thousand Light Years From Home.” It seems to me now suspiciously like a government science experiment. Feed an isolated community with Tiptree, see what results. I'd hate to think the whole town was as damaged by this book as me! Apart from that, I got my earliest books from village jumble sales. These were charity sales where villagers would donate unwanted items to the church, which would then lay them all out on tables in the school hall and sell them back to other villagers. The first book I found, maybe when I was eight or nine, was an old first issue paperback of the Michael Moorcock-edited anthology “The Traps Of Time,” with the reaching hands on the cover. I hadn't even started on juvenile fiction and there I was wrestling with this thing! It's still the most mind-blowing anthology I've ever read. That was when the lightbulb switched on for me.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, but I was persistently told that it was impossible, so I never seriously considered it. I can understand why. The only outlet for a writer in a rural community would be as a journalist for the local newspaper, covering vegetable shows and fox hunting meets and whatever the Rotarians were doing that fortnight. I was determined to get out of the countryside as soon as it was viable, but writing was too chancy a means. Having ruled it out, I had no idea what I wanted to be. I thought of becoming a commercial artist, and indeed I’ve spent a good part of my working life as a graphic designer. I thought I might be an architect. In England at the time, you had to choose three subjects at age 16 to study for your A level exams at age 18. I chose the three most incompatible subjects I could think of: English, Art and Physics. I didn’t want to close any possible door. When I left school I wanted to be a scientist, so I trained to be a priest – go figure. I wrote obsessively from the very start. As soon as I got a typewriter when I was 12, I became a prolific writer of whatever juvenile nonsense I was into blurting out at the time. Until my late teens, that tended to be grim explorations of the fragile human heart – write about what you know, I suppose. In my case, love, hate and hormones. I think I honed most of my writing skills in composing love letters to girls at school. Well, this approach failed – let's try this. And hence to advertising, commercial writing, and the thought-leadership work I now do.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Robert Maas online


This member has not published any books.