New Release Interview: THE ULTRA THIN MAN by Patrick Swenson


swenson-ultraThe Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson is published!

It’s remarkable Patrick could complete a novel, to be honest. He teaches AP Literature, Creative Writing, Science Fiction, Honors 10 Lit, and Journalism at a Washington State high school. A busy man wearing a closet full of hats. But like many authors, Patrick knew he was a writer very early on, telling tales at the age of two.

He has come a long way since those days though and The Ultra Thin Man is his debut novel for Tor Books, a near-future thriller featuring planetary conspiracy, aliens, and two unforgettable characters in Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization.

I decided to send Patrick a few questions about The Ultra Thin Man and what readers can expect. And here are those answers!



Shawn Speakman: THE ULTRA THIN MAN is in fine bookstores now! Tell Unbound Worlds readers about your new book?


Patrick Swenson: THE ULTRA THIN MAN is a science fiction thriller. The term I heard only recently that I really like is “space opera noir.” It’s a love letter, of sorts, to the thrilling days of yesteryear, when I ate up so much classic Golden Age SF. My two detectives (now contracting for the National Intelligence Organization), are deep into an investigation surrounding an interstellar terrorist movement, and things go awry pretty quickly, causing them to “leave town,” so to speak. They’re on the run and trying to solve a larger, more insidious conspiracy.

Shawn Speakman: You have managed to weave a thriller detective story amongst the stars. What made you decide to do that?

Patrick Swenson: As I mentioned, I grew up reading all things science fiction, but my second love was mystery. Next, you could throw in some noir fiction and film. It was only a matter of time before I melded these all together. The goal was always to tell a fast-moving story that took place in a large theater and had plenty of intrigue.

Shawn Speakman: Was there an idea that initially put you on the path to writing this novel?

Patrick Swenson: In truth? The title is to blame. My brother PAUL was to blame, since he came up with it shortly after we decided to do some collaborative writing to help us stay in touch. He also wrote the opening scenes. I took over the writing of it, and wrote about 80% of the novel. So the thought process was: “The Ultra Thin Man. What the hell does THAT mean? And these two characters are thrown into this huge mystery and they’re way over their heads. So now what do they do?” Since I’m an organic writer, and don’t outline, I decided to let the detectives run with it, hoping they’d solve it for me. I just tagged along for the ride.

Shawn Speakman: Who are some of your favorite science fiction writers? And did any of them help inspire your new book?

Patrick Swenson: I’d have to list some of the oldies but goodies: Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Patricia McKillip, Robert Silverberg, Joan Vinge, Frank Herbert… just too many to mention. I can point to almost all of them as influences in some way, particularly PK Dick and Herbert. I enjoy many modern writers as well, although their influence may not be as blatant: Robert Charles Wilson, Nancy Kress, Daryl Gregory, Ted Kosmatka, Connie Willis.

Shawn Speakman: Will there be a sequel to THE ULTRA THIN MAN? And if so, when can we expect it?

Patrick Swenson: I hope so! I’m writing one, anyway, and I’m about 4/5 done with it. If book one does well, I’m hoping Tor will consider the second, and maybe a third in the series. It would be well beyond this time next year before any sequel came out, unless, for some reason, it was fast-tracked into publication. I’m keeping the working title to myself for now, but let’s just say that “ultra” is part of it!

If you are looking for a new science fiction novel to read, The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson is in fine bookstores now!

To learn more about Patrick and his work visit

Sci-fi. Go get some!