No, we haven’t lost our minds. Actually, we’ve expanded them! We recently had the privilege and honor of interviewing Ambassador Ticklydung, diplomat to the galaxies, founder and director of the Ambassador Ticklydung Space Creature Santuary (ATSCS), and the author of A First Guide to Space Aliens.
You may know the Ambassador’s ghost writer, Faiz Kermani. Several years ago, Dr. Kermani wrote My Alien Penfriend, a book about friendship, with the added goals of engaging young readers to think about cross-cultural understanding, tolerance, terrorism, and environmental damage.
In our wide-ranging interview, we chat with the ambassador about his new book, his life as a diplomat, and his goals for the ATSCS. Please welcome Ambassador Ticklydung to the Family Bookshelf.
RT: Welcome, Ambassador. I am so glad that you were able to join us for this interview. Can you tell us, how did you decide on Faiz Kermani to help you produce this book?
Ambassador: I actually bumped into him outside the Empire State Building in New York while vacationing on Earth. Somehow we got talking about our mutual interest in space creature wildlife and the environment. By the time we had bought our tickets we had agreed to work together on the book! I do hope we’ll work together again.
RT: Clearly this has already proven itself to be a wonderful collaboration. Congrats on your “Reviewers Choice Award.”
You obviously put a lot of trust in him creating not only the narrative, but the illustrations and the book trailer, too. How would you rate him as an artist? Did it take him very long to create the sketches of the Alien space pets and wildlife that accompany the descriptions?
Ambassador: Thank you for your kind words. I must say it is a little embarrassing to see myself on the big screen … I look as big as a grombulnooj! To win an award on behalf of the Space Creature Sanctuary in book for young readers (8 to 12) is such an honor. As for Mr. Kermani, I mean Faiz, his wacky, crazy style reminds me a lot of the artists on my home planet of Krobol, but he’s only been drawing for a few years. I actually persuaded him to collaborate with the renowned space artist Marco Giollo (www.giollo.com) who took things one step further and transformed the drawings into paintings. We plan to exhibit these masterpieces in the Planetary Art Museum in Krobol City.
RT: Of the creatures listed in the guide, which one …(a) fascinates you the most? (b) is your personal favorite? (c) was the most difficult to capture/obtain? and (d) is the rarest?
Ambassador: Fascinates? Oh, it is probably the grombulnooj as no one can decide whether it is a space beast, a space plant – or perhaps both. It is very odd and you must not get too close otherwise it will slap you!
The hardest to procure for the Sanctuary was a cross-eyed pilzoobeast. We had a huge problem finding one, as it is a very dangerous shape shifter and can change into any creature it sees. The clue to recognizing it is its eyes as it is not very good at copying those. Luckily one of our observant park rangers spotted a space creature with uneven eyes on the planet Fingbool and guessed what it was. Now it is a star attraction, but for safety reasons we have to surround its enclosure with a force field.
The zoblong, which has very beautiful, multicolored eyes is the rarest. Sadly, inter-galactic poachers have been killing these creatures to extract chemicals to produce paints.
And my personal favorite … well, I can’t pick just one. I love the The qobit and the floob equally … and it is why why we chose them for the book cover. The large qobit protects its small friend from predators, and in return the floob acts as a lookout for food. It is a good example of what you can do when you work as a team.
RT: Is there one particular species that you can pinpoint as the inspiration for wanting to create the Centre?
Ambassador: When I was growing up, everyone used to complain about hairy fluckboos, as they used to raid the neighborhood garbage for food. It was only when I was a little older that I realized why we had destroyed the forest where they lived when our city had expanded. I decided there and then to try and create a home where no one could bother them. Now they happily run around our space creature sanctuary, throwing rotten fruit at the tourists.
RT: Could you tell us how your skills as ambassador came to play in creating the ATSCS? What types of negotiation were required?
Ambassador: Being an inter-galactic ambassador allowed me to make friends with many important aliens, from numerous planets and asteroids. Without their kind help I could never have managed to successfully negotiate with so many extraterrestrial governments in order to obtain the different space creatures. I think it also helps that I speak 109 alien languages, as this helped me to speak directly to the alien media and get the support of the inter-galactic public.
Read more about the Ambassador’s thoughts on the planet with the most diverse space wildlife, the planet with the most progressive conservationists, and the Ambassador’s personal pets, read our full interview at the Reading Tub website.