My love affair with Fantasy and Science-Fiction books began when I was just 13 years old. It was then that I checked a book out of the local public library called The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov. At the time I had no idea that it was the last book in a series, all I knew was that it completely changed my life and ignited a passion for reading that I couldn’t ever fully satiate. Thirty-odd years later I still have that passion, in fact, it has gotten even stronger. I’ve been a book review contributor for various SFF book review sites over the past two decades but I started my own blog “Out of This World SFF Reviews” exactly a year ago. I currently make my home along the southern coast of New Jersey with my wonderfully amazing wife and our two daughters.
Welcome to the Asylum! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice and tell me something about yourself!
My name is Nick T. Borrelli, I currently live in Southern New Jersey with my wife of almost 10 years, my two daughters age 7 and 5, and my spoiled boxer. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood in West Philadelphia (yes the same area that Will Smith made famous in the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air). I played bass and sang in an alternative rock band through my teens to late twenties. When I realized I wasn’t going to be a rock star, I settled down and got a real job working as a data analyst for a university library. I enjoy cooking and spending time outdoors with my family. Reading has been an absolute passion of mine since I picked up a copy of Isaac Asimov’s Robots of Dawn when I was thirteen. After that I was hooked and my addiction solidified.
What blogging means to you?
Blogging is something that I take very seriously. I started doing reviews for other well-known SFF review sites about 15 years ago. I enjoyed it immensely but after a while I became disenchanted with certain aspects of it. One of the drawbacks to reviewing for other people is that you always feel a responsibility to get a certain number of reviews done on a specific schedule. When I started my family my time became very limited to do other things, especially when my children were babies. So I always felt a bit guilty not turning my reviews in on time. That’s why I started my own blog and it has been a total 180 degree turnaround. I can get my reviews done at my own pace and the blog seems to have been fairly well-received. But in one sentence, blogging means everything to me because it’s an extension of my passion for reading that I get to share with others.
You are locked in an asylum. What did you do to end up there?
I probably had a psychotic break because of something that happened on the road while I was driving. I have so many pet-peeves when it comes to the rules of the road. Every day at some point on my long commute to and from work I experience something that is maddening to me and that I vent about to someone later. That being said, I’m not one of those road rage people so don’t worry. Stuff just annoys me that’s all.
Which fictional character and/or author would you like to live with in an asylum?
Wow, well if I was locked up in an asylum I would want someone who was really interesting, entertaining, and cunning so that they could maybe break us out of that joint. I guess I’d have to go with Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo. Seems like an interesting dude and he has the whole jail break thing down so…..
Which fictional world would you like to live in?
That’s a really tough question. I think the Otherland world by Tad Williams would be an awesome world to live in (minus the whole kidnapped children thing). It would be fun to live in a world where you could jump from one virtual reality themed simulation to another. I mean you had The Wizard of Oz simulation, Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey, Ancient Egypt, among many others. All in that one virtual world, so that would be kind of cool to experience every day.
If you could switch lives with any character in a book, who would you choose? Would you like to have the author along as a fellow character?
If I could switch lives with any character in a book, I would switch lives with Belgarath the Sorcerer from The Belgariad and The Mallorean. I mean, what’s not to like? The guy had amazing wizardly powers, he drank as much mead and wine as he wanted, got to travel to every distant land, and you know you’re never going to be put in a precarious/potentially deadly situation because David Eddings never kills off his main characters. Unlike some authors! (yeah that’s right I’m looking at you George RR Martin). So yes, I think it would be fun to be old Belgarath. David is sadly not with us any longer so he unfortunately wouldn’t be able to be my sidekick.
You are a treasure hunter, about to retrieve a chest of gold from a sunken pirate ship, when a beatiful mermaid/merman approaches you, trying to stop you. How do you react?
Well, first I would probably faint because of the realization that mermaids/mermen actually exist. I mean this has only been hinted at in such amazing films such as The Little Mermaid and Splash! But when I regained consciousness I would offer to split the gold in return for taking a selfie with her/him to use as my Twitter photo. Pretty sure Taylor Swift couldn’t even top that.
Your family allows you to keep one fantastical creature at home. What do you choose?
I’m kind of a sucker for books with dragons and always have been, so I would have to pick a dragon. Luckily we have a huge backyard, so he can have a lot of room to play or practice his fire-breathing stunts. Oh and if the dragon spoke with a Scottish accent, that would be a bonus.
You can have one magic ability for a day. What can you do and how do you spend that day?
Man, these questions are so hard! I think I would like the magical ability to communicate with animals. Because I really want to know what our dog thinks of our family. The looks he gives us sometimes speak volumes but I just want our suspicions confirmed that he does in fact think we are all batcrap crazy. Also it would be cool to walk around and chat with the various majestic creatures that I encounter on a daily basis.
You are a magical creature living near a village. How do you get on with humans?
I would be a very reclusive magical creature. As a human, I tend to get along very well with people who are in my family or circle of friends. But deep down I am kind of a shy person and don’t really enjoy being put in social settings where I have to speak to strangers. I mean, I can do it but it’s very awkward for me and I struggle in that kind of environment. Crowds are not my thing, they just serve to make me anxious. So I would probably find the deepest, darkest cave and keep to myself quite honestly and hope that the villagers don’t decide to hunt me at some point.
While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you one book – what would you choose?
Oh boy, I know I keep saying that these questions are hard but this one is like asking me who my favorite child is. I hold every book so dear, especially the ones that I love. But okay, if I have to pick just one I’ll go with Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I choose that one because it has always been a favorite, it is a stand-alone (very important to have a definitive beginning and end if you can only read one book), and it’s just so damn great. The characters are creepy and borderline disturbing, the setting is dark and fantastical, and the writing is, well it’s freaking Neil Gaiman so you know the writing is superb. I gave that book to my wife to read when she was in the hospital having our first daughter and she read it in two days. So definitely Neverwhere!
Well then, we hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words? *locks door*
Okay, please allow me to be serious Nick for a second. I just want to thank you Timy for being such an amazing blogger and for involving so many other bloggers in what you do. Yours is truly one of my favorite blogs to visit every day and I really enjoy interacting with you on Twitter as well. Everyone should check you and your site out. Thank you so much for doing this, it has been incredibly fun and I really enjoyed myself!
Nick is well known with his Friday Follow posts, giving a shout out to authors and bloggers as well. He is doing a lot for the SFF community and also writes awesome reviews 🙂 You can find him on the following platforms: