Thursday, July 15, 2021

Master Switches - An Interview with Graham Tedesco-Blair

In the latest in our series of interviews with the authors of Master Switches, we talk to Graham Tedesco-Blair about his epic story 'A Most Peculiar Infection.'

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Graham Tedesco-Blair, and I've been a student of economics, philosophy, and literature for many years now. I've published stories with Altrix and Obverse, and I blog very occasionally at

What made you want to write a story for Master Switches?

It was a lovely concept, mashing up the ‘wrong’ Masters with the ‘wrong’ Doctors. There are so many wonderful and awful possibilities that simply could not happen due to the limitations of the real world, but which, on the page, we are free to explore.

How would you describe your story in a nutshell?

It's my favourite kind of horror story, the sort where the end is inevitable due to the nature of the heroes, but they haven't recognised that yet. Stopping the oncoming doom would require them to do precisely what they don't want to, admit what they don't want to admit, and come to terms with the full implications of what they are and what it means.

I realise, of course, that this tells you exactly zero about what's in the story, but I hope it's tempting enough that you'll give it a try anyways.

How did you decide which Master and Doctor combo to go with?

Delgado's Master and Tennant's tenth Doctor are two of the most theatrical and dramatic versions of those characters. Both are prone to very ‘big’ gestures, with all the drama and tears that come alongside those types of things. There's a sort of amused cruelty that Delgado embodied that I think plays very well off of Tennant's confidence and enthusiasm.

How did you find the writing process?

Oh, goodness. So much research! The problem when you're writing a ‘big’ story that happens over so long a time period is that you have to check every little thing. You don't want to be wrong or say something embarrassingly inaccurate. At the same time, the temptation to dig deeper and deeper, to haul out ever greater details and Easter eggs that don't really contribute to the story but might add to the atmosphere… you could theoretically go on forever. There's so much you have to leave out when trying to just get a brief snapshot of an idea this big. It's such a tricky balance alongside making sure that the central plot and idea don't get lost in the mix.

Which aspect(s) of your story are you most proud of?

I quite liked tracing the thread of an historical idea and following it through to its logical conclusion. There's a quote from John Maynard Keynes that I think about a lot. It's the conclusion of The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1935): “[T]he ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. [...] But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.”

Ideas are bizarre things. I recall speaking with a very rational friend about minimum wages. He was convinced that there was no way they could be helpful, and they merely upset the balance of economies. Unfortunately for him, the minimum wage is one of the most studied and analysed subjects in all of economics, and basically all of them conclude that a minimum wage is better for society. And you'd think, given that he's such a rational guy, he would accept the results of study after study after study. But he wouldn't. He kept insisting that they must be bad. And he was exactly the sort of guy to tell you that he only likes science, isn't influenced by any ideology, and bases his ideas on facts, not opinions. It's been eighty-six years since Keynes wrote that, and we're still on it. It'd be nice if more folks would do a genealogy of their ideas, not necessarily to condemn or find fault with them, but simply to understand why they think the way they do.

There's another quote from Keynes that has stuck with me, from A Tract of Monetary Reform: “But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.”

Between those two quotes, you have the genesis of my story.

What’s your favourite line from your story?

“The entity knew Number needed to go up.”

It's probably meaningless without context, but I think it accurately describes a particular situation in the world today that's at the root of most of our problems.


Post a Comment