Genre Chick Interview: Hillary Robson

If you were a superhero, who would YOU be? I found the answer from Tennessee local Hillary Robson, co-editor of Saving the World: A Guide to Heroes, an in-depth essay book about the hit TV show Heroes.


Alethea Kontis: Tell us a little bit about Saving the World. How did it come about? How did you get involved in the project? What was your role in co-editing?

Hillary Robson: Saving the World was born at last year’s meeting of the Popular & American Culture in the South’s annual convention, as Lynnette [Porter] and I had breakfast. We were both already huge fans of Heroes (even three episodes in) and knew it was a keeper–we’d both started taking notes while viewing and thought it would be a great book subject. We started looking at different people to contribute based on their talks at PACS. I’d worked with David [Lavery] & Lynnette on Unlocking the Meaning of Lost: An Unauthorized Guide. The three of us work extremely well together, so it seemed a natural thing to embark on another book, and so we did.

We all had some ideas on what we’d like to see in the book. I knew I wanted a chapter on fandom, as it’s my favorite area of scholarship, and we knew we’d like to compare it to Lost and other series, and of course the comic genre–so we just took areas and developed from there. As far as the co-editing, the first part was allocation: looking at different subjects and inviting scholars to contribute, and the rest was reading through and seeing the delightful fruits of our labor. All of our contributors are amazing writers and scholars, and we were quite lucky to work with such a talented bunch.

AK: Who is your favorite Heroes cast member? Have you ever met any of the cast in person?

HR: My favorite cast member right now is Elle–she’s complex and multi-layered, and I have a bit of a girl-crush on Kristen Bell–she’s amazing. I’m also a huge fan of Adam; I want to know more about him so that I can ascertain if he’s diabolically evil. I have to admit, I have always liked the evil characters better–perhaps because they are all capable of redemption, but mostly because they’re so *bad* that it’s fun to watch.

I haven’t ever met a cast member, but my co-editor Lynnette has–she’s met and interviewed quite a few, and I’m jealous!

AK: Were you ever a cheerleader?

HR: No. <frowns> I lack coordination, and I’m a total klutz. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’d break something if I attempted to do a split. I’d be a hazard to the team if I were a cheerleader. It’s better for the world that I never, ever, attempted.

AK: Are you a comic book fan? (If so, any faves?)

HR: I like comic books. I especially like seeing them brought to life on the screen, but I don’t have any die-hard favorites. I usually read them after seeing them (most recently, 300) because I’m fascinated with adaptations. I never really read comics until the X-Men movies, and that was because I’d heard so many fans grumble about the way the canon was changed.

AK: What do you think the Average Joe could do today to save the world?

HR: They could start by sending in some pencils to help end the Writer’s Strike! It’s gonna ruin my world if it goes on much longer (sigh!).

AK: What New Year’s Resolutions did/will you make for 2008?

HR: New Years resolutions. Well, I’m trying to reduce the amount of coffee I drink, while at the same time I made a resolution to be more productive because I have a lot of unfinished projects I need to do. As I type this, I realize that I might not be able to accomplish productivity without coffee, so I think I’m going to just say I resolve to be more productive and spend less money at Starbucks.

AK: What was your favorite TV show as a kid? Any favorite old characters?

HR: Well, my favorite TV show from 9th grade on was The X-Files–still a huge favorite. It brings back more nostalgia for me than any other show. I loved Scully and Mulder, and of course, the Cigarette Smoking Man (Evil characters rule!). Going back further, I was a huge Quantum Leap fan when I was a kid– that was an amazing show and so much fun to watch.

AK: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? (I ask everyone this, but it seems exceptionally appropriate here…)

HR: I was asked this in an interview once, and I said I wanted Skylar’s power. I’m pretty sure I freaked the interviewer out because he instantly thought of eating brains. I love the idea of adopting anyone’s powers, but personally, I don’t want to use it for evil. So I’ll go with Peter’s powers of acquisition since he doesn’t have to kill anyone. I might like the evil ones, but I’m not evil… I promise!