Eating Authors: Steven Barnes

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Steven Barnes

Back in 2013, Larry Niven visited EATING AUTHORS to share his most memorable meal, and in my introduction I noted that he’d collaborated with many other authors — most notably Jerry Pournelle, but also Brenda Cooper, Edward M. Lerner, Gregory Benford, as well as this week’s guest, Steven Barnes.

It’s through his collaborations with Larry and Jerry — like the Heorot and Dream Park series — that I first encountered Steven. Of course he’s no slouch on his own as more than a dozen solo novels attests (as well as his own collaborations with his wife, Tananarive Due, and actor Blair Underwood). He’s also written episodic television as well as media tie-in, kicks ass in several martial arts (including kickboxing), and like myself is a certified hypnotherapist.

Seriously, why have I waited so long to invite him here? Wait, that’s rhetorical. Instead, let me distract you by saying his new novel, Twelve Days, comes out tomorrow.

LMS: Welcome, Steven. What stands out as your best or most memorable meal?

SB: “Best” is not “most memorable.”

“Most memorable” was at a Sushi bar in Encino California. I was there with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, maybe thirty years ago. The chef started making an interesting looking hand role, lots of sauces and fixin’s. I asked him what it was, and he said “fifteen spice tuna role.”

Twelve Days

Fifteen different spices! My mouth watered, and I asked him to make me one. He smiled. Started constructing it. The people sitting next to me, for whom he had made the roll, began to chuckle. As did some of the others in the room. I had an increasing sense of unease.

“Ummm….” I finally thought to ask, “what exactly is a Fifteen Spice tuna roll?”

He smiled at me and said: “One spice tuna roll, very hot tuna roll. Two spice tuna roll…twice as hot.”

Everyone erupted into laughter. Horrified, I watched as he handed me the cone-shaped concoction. Larry and Jerry were watching, expecting me to back down (I imagined) and I refused to do it. Ate the whole damned thing, tears of pain rolling down my cheeks.

My most memorable meal, by a long shot.

Thanks, Steven. Esophageal trauma aside, I find myself wondering if you ever went back or inducted other authors to the experience? There’s a story there, surely.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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