Posts Tagged With: New York Times bestseller

Depeche Mode, Pizza and the Nebula Awards

Believe me, this has absolutely everything to do with science fiction, bestselling authors and the Nebula Awards, since all of these things undoubtedly have one thing that links them: pizza.

Come on, you can’t tell me you’ve never eaten a pizza while watching Star Trek or between events at your last convention.  Right?  And I guarantee you that Connie Willis, Joe Haldeman, Orson Scott Card or SOMEBODY with a Nebula on their mantelpiece has eaten pizza, possibly within the last week.

And what about Pizza the Hutt?  I rest my case.  Science fiction is inextricably linked to pizza.

So, without further ado, here’s my own contribution to all things pizza, in the form of lyrics.  (Go ahead, sing it.  I dare you.)

PERSONAL PIZZA
(sung to Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode)

Your own personal pizza
Get some toppings that please
No anchovies

Your own personal pizza
Something to heed your pleas
For extra cheese

Eating alone
Dinner unknown
Danger zone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
You know I will deliver

Extra toppings
Or get some hot wings
A delivery fee
And gratuity
Lift up the receiver
You know I will deliver

Reach out for breadsticks
Reach out for breadsticks

Your own (your own)
Personal (personal)
Pizza

Reach out for breadsticks…

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free science fiction novel winner!

Congratulations to Charity Bradford, winner of the first-ever SciFiBookshelf.com contest!

Charity, email your mailing address to me at LaurenceMacNaughton(at)yahoo(dot)com, and I’ll pop that book in the mail to you.

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wednesdays with David Weber, Part 4

David Weber is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington novels, as well as a mind-boggling array of other books.  On top of that, he’s a really nice guy who took the time to share a glimpse into his universe.

After a severe injury broke his wrist into 57 pieces several years ago, he started dictating his books using voice-activated software.  Despite this hurdle, David says that he averages better than 200 words per minute.

SciFiBookshelf.com:  Astounding!  David, I salute you.  Do you have any advice for aspiring science fiction writers?

David Weber:  First, write what you enjoy reading. You’ll do a much better job working on something that interests and excites you than you will trying to produce something simply because you think it might sell, even though it isn’t what you’d enjoy reading yourself. In addition, there’s no one out there who is genuinely unique in his or her reading tastes. In other words, if you enjoy reading it, so will someone else, which means there ought to be a market for it somewhere. Second, accept that if you’re going to try to do this professionally you either need to become a production writer — which means those 16-hour days — or you need to have a day job. Third, complete something before you start trying to submit your work. An editor is a lot more likely to buy a story or a novel, even if it needs a substantial amount of work, if that story or novel exists as a completed whole. The last thing any publisher needs is to commit to buy a book from someone who, it turns out, won’t be able to finish it, and it will help a sale immensely if the person thinking about buying the story knows not only that it ends but that the writer is able to provide a satisfactory end. Fourth, choose who you’re going to submit to carefully. Pick a publisher who publishes material similar to whatever it is you’ve written. Don’t try to sell a story about elves and dwarves to somebody who publishes primarily tech-heavy military fiction. Fifth, when you submit, do it in a professional manner. Don’t use the cover letter to tell the editor what your story is about, and — above all! — don’t use it to tell the editor how great the story is. You can include chapter synopses, outlines, and the entire manuscript to do that, and any professional editor is going to resent having someone submitting an unsolicited manuscript explain that manuscript to her. She’ll make her own judgments on its quality, thank you, and you’re more likely to put someone’s nose out of joint by “blowing your own horn” then you are to influence someone into buying your work. Sixth, after you’ve submitted, stay in touch. In your initial submission letter, tell them that if you haven’t heard back from them in a month, you’ll check back with them. Then, when that month has passed, do check back with them, and each time you check with them, tell them when you’ll check with them again. You need to have some idea in your mind about when you’re going to assume that lack of response means there isn’t going to be any response (and that’s likely to happen, maybe several times, when you’re just starting out), and when that time arrives, you need to send a very respectful note to the publisher saying that you’re withdrawing the book for submission elsewhere.

The truth is that only a minority of writers, in any genre, are able to support themselves full-time as writers, and that’s even more the case for science-fiction, I think, than some others, because science-fiction tends to a smaller readership than a lot of other genres. The good news is that if science-fiction’s readership tends to be smallish, it’s also very loyal . If you produce the stories that people want to read, they will repay you many times over by the fashion in which they will buy your books. Even so, it’s difficult to make a living doing this unless you are able to develop a highly successful series/character and are able to sustain a production rate which is rather higher than in some other genres. That’s just the way it is.

Having said that, the aspiring science-fiction writer needs to remember that publishers are in the business of publishing. They need writers to do that, and that means that if you can write, and if you persist long enough in submitting your work, more often than not, you’ll finally get your shot. What happens after that depends in no small part on how well the first few books go.

And before I leave this topic, let me say that the number one, critical, essential, indispensable element in becoming a successful science-fiction author is the ability to tell stories about characters readers care about. Even the hardest of hard-science science-fiction still has to have characters people care about. The most fascinating plot line ever devised will fall flat on its face if the characters are not believable, or if the writing is unable to convince the reader to accept the story. Editors can do a lot to help a neophyte writer improve technical aspects of his or her writing; I don’t believe any editor ever born can teach you how to tell a story. Especially, they can’t teach you how to tell a story in your own voice. Many people I know have failed as writers primarily because instead of telling the story the way they should tell it, they tried to figure out how someone else — some writer they admire, or whose work they like — would tell it. That’s the kiss of death. People don’t want to buy a low-budget pastiche of someone else’s work. A weak story, strongly told, will be far more satisfying to the reader than a strong story weakly told, and a huge part of telling a story strongly is to tell it in your own, recognizable, unique voice, manner, and style. “Your” voice is going to owe a great deal to the voices of other writers you have read, enjoyed, admired. It works that way. We are all products of our experiences, and if some other writer has a strong impact on you, that writer’s work is going to influence your own. You may find yourself integrating stylistic elements from another writer. You may find yourself avoiding something in your writing because you realized that it didn’t work in someone else’s. And no matter how successful you may become as a writer in your own right, I imagine you’ll still find yourself — as I do — reading someone else’s work and going “Gosh! That was really neat, the way he handled that. I’ll have to remember that.” Don’t be afraid to be influenced by others, but never, ever try to become another writer. Learn from their strengths, avoid their weaknesses, but always do it in your own fashion and your own style.

David Weber’s web site:

http://www.davidweber.net/

And that concludes our weekly series of Wednesdays with David Weber!  Many thanks to David and his crew.  If you missed any of our previous interviews segments, you can find them all below, including summer book tour dates!

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wednesdays with David Weber, Part 3

David Weber is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington novels, as well as a mind-boggling array of other books.  On top of that, he’s a really nice guy who took the time to share a glimpse into his universe.

SciFiBookshelf.com:  Can you give us any hints about the fifteenth Honor Harrington book, Mission of Honor, coming out this summer?

David Weber:  All I’ll say about Mission at this point is that it wraps up several fairly long-running plot strands but kicks in quite a few brand-new ones. And I’ll also say that the situation is going to get substantially worse for the Manties (in many respects) even as some of their older problems get put to bed. Well, and also that I may have to move to Montana and raise rabbits under an assumed name when some of the readers who have been with me from the very beginning find out some of the things I did in this book. Mind you, I think they’ll all forgive me eventually, but there are going to be some people who are upset.

SFB:  At last count, you’ve written something like 50 books, an impressive number of which have hit the best-seller lists. How do you keep up such a mind-boggling pace?

DW:  I don’t really know, and, for that matter, I don’t know that I can continue to keep it up a lot longer. I’m not getting any younger, you know! Then there are the three children age eight or younger who require a certain degree of Daddy time for maintenance. Mostly, I guess, I manage it because I focus entirely on whatever the job in hand use. My beloved wife Sharon has been known to refer to that as “OCD;” I prefer to think of it as . . . as . . . hmmmmm, I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I do know that I tend to work 16-hour days when I’m into the stretch on a book.

SFB: 
You do a lot of convention appearances. Where will fans be able to find you in 2010? Is there any truth to the rumor that you’ll be doing a book tour this summer?

DW:  June 22 – 27 – Origins Gaming Fair / GAMA – Columbus, Ohio

June 28 – July 4 – Baen Signing Tour for “Mission of Honor” – Stops to be announced on the website

July 21 – July 25 – Wandering around ComicCon (not as a guest)

David Weber’s web site:

http://www.davidweber.net/

Stay tuned for more insights from the magnificent David Weber!

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesdays with David Weber, Part 2

David Weber is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington novels, as well as a mind-boggling array of other books.  On top of that, he’s a really nice guy who took the time to share a glimpse into his universe.

SciFiBookshelf.com:  Honor Harrington is arguably one of the most recognizable characters in science fiction today. She’s smart, driven, an exceptional naval officer and just gosh-darn likable. But like any good hero, she’s not without her flaws. Was there any particular inspiration that led you to create her the way she is?

David Weber:  I don’t know about any particular inspiration in my creating Honor the way she came out. By that I mean that there were so many factors involved in creating this character that I can’t isolate one particular one as having been more important than the others. Her personality represents personal values on my part — the fact that she’s a responsibility taker, the fact that she has a fierce protective streak, the fact that she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and the fact that she is fiercely loyal both to her principles and to her friends — very much encapsulate traits I find admirable in a human being. Historically, although many people persist in thinking of Horatio Hornblower as her primary template, I really don’t. I think there’s probably more of Thomas Cochrane in her, so she’s probably more of a cousin of Hornblower’s than a descendent, since it’s pretty obvious from reading C. S. Forester that Cochrane was Hornblower’s literary “father.” Neither Hornblower nor Cochrane, however, ever rose to the heights within their own Navy that Honor has within hours, although you could probably make a case (now that I think about it) for her Grayson experience equating, in some wise, to Cochrane’s experiences in the revolutionary Chilean, Peruvian, and Greek navies. That particular resonance wasn’t planned on my part, however. A much better historical equivalent for her would, of course, be Horatio Nelson, and I’ve taken some pains to emphasize that relationship, as people familiar with Nelson’s life will probably realize. At the same time, she most definitely is not Horatio Nelson, second iteration. I think this can be most clearly seen in her approach to her relationship with Hamish Alexander, contrasted to Nelson’s relationship with Emma Hamilton, but she would also have been extremely unlikely to duplicate Nelson’s actions following the Battle of the Nile when he was so focused on the Kingdom of Sicily.

I definitely did not set out to create a female character for the purposes of having a female character. That just worked out that way, just as I’ve produced quite a few strong female protagonists in other books. I will admit that I take a certain pleasure in setting female characters in traditionally male roles, which is probably part of why I did it, but that wasn’t a conscious decision on my part. One thing that I did determine early on was that Honor would rise in rank rather than being caught in the “Jim Kirk” syndrome — in that respect, she was definitely following more in the Nelson mode than in the Cochrane mode. The exact way in which the character evolved into who she is today, however, really wasn’t planned out by me. I very seldom build a character by saying “I need this character to be such-and-so, so I’m going to give him/her this or that characteristic.” I usually start with a very general feel for who and what this person is going to be, and then the character builds naturally in my mind as I began confronting that character with problems that need to be solved. The one thing that I had decided was going to be a part of Honor’s character from the very beginning was the contrast between her total confidence in her professional capabilities and total lack of confidence in certain aspects of her personal life. And I decided from the very beginning to give her Nimitz, although the treecats themselves sort of surprised me by the way they ended up evolving. I had their social structure largely nailed down before I began writing, but their personalities and . . . psychology evolved as I watched Nimitz and Honor interacting.

One thing about Honor and her flaws is that she is a smart, capable person, which means that she makes smart, capable mistakes. Another aspect of her and her flaws is the most of her flaws are the vices of her virtues. I don’t think anyone could ever accuse Honor Harrington of having a mean bone in her body, but her temper’s gotten her into trouble more than once, and several of the decisions she’s made have been questionable at best, even though readers for some reason almost invariably give her the benefit of the doubt. For example, in Honor of the Queen, she sets out to shoot a prisoner without trial. In fact, she does shoot him; she simply misses, because someone shoves her hand aside at the last moment. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t think that was a “mistake” on her part! I think that’s because readers hated her intended victim so much and because they so thoroughly understood (and sympathized with) Honor’s motivation. There are other examples, though, including the one that I actually have Michelle Henke point out about Honor’s almost insanely risky strategy at the end of Echoes of Honor. I had Mike make that point because so many readers seem totally oblivious to it!

David Weber’s web site:

http://www.davidweber.net/

Stay tuned for more insights from the astonishing David Weber!

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesdays with David Weber, Part 1

David Weber is author of the New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington novels, as well as a mind-boggling array of other books.  On top of that, he’s a really nice guy who took the time to share a glimpse into his universe.

SciFiBookshelf.com:  Torch of Freedom is the fourteenth book in the Honor Harrington series. For someone who hasn’t picked up one of your books yet (hard to imagine, I know) would this be a good place to jump on board? Or should a curious reader start with an earlier book?

David Weber:  For the honor Harrington series, I think you almost have to begin with Basilisk Station if you want the full experience of the series. Torch would definitely not be a good place to begin; there are way too many threads already in play by that point. I think someone could probably pick the book up and enjoy it even without that background, but they wouldn’t understand a lot of what was going on. I think that any of the first four or five books in the series — up through, say, Honor Among Enemies — would make a pretty satisfying standalone read, and would offer enough of the back story to keep the reader from missing everything that’s going on. Beyond that point, it starts to get more complicated. If you can get hold of one of the CDs Baen has bound into hardcovers in the series, you’ll have the earlier books available in electronic format, along with a lot of other material, but you’ll still do better starting actually reading the series at the beginning. And it is my intention for there never to be an Honor Harrington novel set earlier than Basilisk Station. That’s a deliberate decision on my part, and I’ve been using shorter fiction in the anthologies to fill in some of those gaps. So it probably wouldn’t hurt to look at some of them — especially “Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington” — to get a feel for how Honor became who she is by the time of Basilisk.

If you’re asking about where someone might begin with my books in general, rather than specifically with the Honorverse, I’d probably recommend In Fury Born. I’m rather partial to the Bahzell books, as well, of course, but I think Fury is still probably the best “David Weber introductory” book I’ve done.

David Weber’s web site:

http://www.davidweber.net/

Stay tuned for more insights from the irrepressible David Weber!

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet: VICTORIOUS on sale today!

If you’ve been waiting for the latest book in what SF Site calls “some of the best military science fiction on the shelves today,” then wait no longer, citizen.  Face forward and get to the nearest book store, full ahead flank! 

Trust me, if you haven’t picked up this New York Times bestselling saga about “Black Jack” Geary and the Lost Fleet, you’re going to want to.  An all-too-human hero, a desperate flight home from deep behind enemy lines, and possibly the smartest-written space battles ever combine to make this series a sure winner.  Check it out today!

The Lost Fleet: Victorious on Barnes and Noble
The Lost Fleet: Victorious on Amazon.com

Or, better yet, buy local!

Author’s web site:
http://www.sff.net/people/john-g-hemry/

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bestselling author Jack Campbell on Sci Fi Bookshelf.com

Even before it rocketed to the New York Times bestseller list, The Lost Fleet series was hailed by critics and readers alike as some of the best new science fiction to hit the shelves.  Jack Campbell has a lot going for him: strong storytelling, real-life Navy experience, and a knack for timeless epics.  Plus, he’s a lot of fun to chat with.  Here’s what he has to say about starship battles, the legend of Black Jack and the inspiration that drives him.

Sci Fi Bookshelf.com: The Lost Fleet series kicks off with one heck of a bang: the near-annihilation of the Alliance fleet, and the heroic efforts of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary to shake off a century-long hibernation and lead the survivors to safety. Did the inspiration for The Lost Fleet start with that moment in time, or was it more about the harrowing journey home?

Jack Campbell:  The initial inspiration for The Lost Fleet actually grew out of a question posed by Susan Shwartz (another SF writer). She was writing Star Trek tie-ins at the time, and asked how a long retreat scenario would work in that universe. My answer then was you couldn’t do it because of the way Star Trek had established its rules for technology and faster-than-light travel. 

But it got me to wondering how a long-retreat scenario could work among the stars. The model for long retreats is Xenophon’s March of the Ten Thousand, so I tried to imagine how that would translate with a fleet of spaceships. That was half the inspiration.

The other half came from another idea I had been thinking about for a while, the widespread myths in which an ancient hero was not dead, but only sleeping, and would someday return when most needed. King Arthur is one of the most widely known, but there are many others such as the Twelfth Imam. I had been imagining what it would be like for a such a person to actually reawaken in the future. Far from being a figure of myth, they would be a real person, and probably stunned by the legends which had grown around them.

After years of mulling over these two concepts, at some point they came together in my head, and I think they fit very well with each other. The fleet which needs a hero to get it home through great peril, and the hero who is shocked to discover what he is now believed to be and that he is now expected to save the day. The fusion of two ancient ideas made a good basis for a story.

SFB:  What do you suppose makes Captain “Black Jack” Geary such a likable, all-too-human hero? Is it his constant struggle to live down his own legend, or something more?

JC:  I tried to make him human in the sense of being aware of his own limitations and in being often almost overwhelmed by responsibilities that he had never asked for or expected. In much lesser ways, many of us face such situations, so it’s easy to empathize with what Geary is facing. At the same time, he sees the need to be more than he is. Unless he can achieve the sorts of things his heroic image claims he can do, then countless people will suffer. He’s smart enough to know he needs the help and advice of others, that he can’t go it alone even though ultimately the decisions he makes have to be his own. As a result, he respects those around him for what they know and as individuals in their own right.

So I think he is both accessible to readers, who can understand what he’s facing, and a character they can like because he keeps trying despite his fears and does his best to treat others right. He won’t let down those who are counting on him, even though the pressure is almost too much at times. 

SFB:  Can you give us a glimpse of what lies ahead for Black Jack?

JC:  It’s hard to talk about what comes after VICTORIOUS without giving away what happens in VICTORIOUS. (Of course, the name VICTORIOUS does telegraph one of the plot points in that book.) His home is gone, lost in the past, so now the only home he knows is the fleet. He’s figuring out that every victory, every obstacle overcome, just leads to the next problem, and since his existence as Black Jack or his actions to solve past problems create some of the new problems, there’s no honorable way to avoid doing what he can to resolve each new problem. Fortunately, he won’t be alone.

SFB:  What was it like to find out that RELENTLESS had sailed onto the New York Times bestseller list?

JC:  Stunning. The success of the series built over time, so there were a number of “wow” moments. My first two series did okay, but not great, and never got past their first printings. It felt great when my agent called to say that DAUNTLESS had gone into a second printing. Then a third. FEARLESS got a second printing. COURAGEOUS went into its second printing almost as soon as it was released. I think that’s when it really sank in for me and the publisher that the series had serious legs and was continuing to build readership with each new book. VALIANT made some extended best-seller lists, so there were hopes that RELENTLESS would top that. And it did. It feels great to know that my writing, my storytelling, has been welcomed that way by readers.

SFB:  How has your real-life Navy experience impacted your handling of your epic, intellectually dynamic space battles?

JC:  It had a major influence. In the Navy I learned how to drive ships, getting a solid grasp for maneuvering very massive objects with tremendous momentum around each other. We were also tracking the movements of aircraft overhead and submarines beneath. That gave me an understanding of relative motion which I use to map out the movements in the battles. At times I use the old aviator trick of using my hands to visualize movements and aspects as portions of the fleet maneuver.

It was also important in terms of driving home how physical limitations constrain options. You have to plan ahead for where you want to be and when you want to be there. You need to factor in the range of weapons, and coordinate everything so that attacks don’t come in piecemeal or parts of your force are isolated from the rest. And you need to put yourself in the place of the opposition. Where could they go and where are they most likely to go?

I treat each situation, each battle, as if it were real, and I can’t just alter the composition of forces, or the arrangement of forces, or what ships could do. Once I set it up, that is what I have to deal with. That forces me to figure out how to come up with solutions that really would work rather than falling back on sudden amazing events or major on-the-fly technological breakthroughs that miraculously solve the problem. Basically, I treat the Lost Fleet universe as if it is reality, as if I’m driving those ships, and what happens has to fit that reality.

SFB:  Do you have any advice for new science fiction writers today?

JC:   Read and write. Read lots of things, even in areas you don’t normally like, because that’s how you get ideas for stories and how to tell them in different ways, and that’s how you learn what kinds of stories others told.  Write down your own stories, too. Don’t just dream about them, write them down, and when they’re done (and you have to finish most of them so you learn how to finish stories) write some more.

There’s a website that the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America maintains called Writer Beware. It’s a great source of information on what to do if you’re a new writer, and on the many scams and frauds which can await new writers.

Write about what you know (from study or experience), and try to find those places where your own ideas and writing style meet the expectations of readers. You can’t just write for yourself, but you also have to be true to yourself.

And be prepared for rejection. Lots of rejection. Even veteran writers get shot down a lot. When you do get published whatever you wrote is fair game for anyone to comment on, and it’s pretty safe to say that some of those comments won’t be kind.

I always recommend going to SF/Fantasy conventions in your local area. That’s where you can meet and listen to local authors, maybe even meet an editor or two, get to know other aspiring authors in your area, and get some advice on writing and the publishing business. I’ve met a lot of great people at the conventions.

Oh, and speaking of conventions, this year I plan to be at Balticon in Hunt Valley, Maryland (May 28-31), Nasfic/Reconstruction in Raleigh. NC (August 5-8) and Capclave in Washington, DC (22-24 October).

SFB:  Sounds great.  Thank you so much for your time!

JC:  Thanks for reading my work!

Author’s home page:
www.johnghemry.com

Breaking news:
Book 6, VICTORIOUS, releases on 27 April 2010!  Don’t miss it!  Better yet, reserve a copy today on Powells.com or Amazon.com .

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grand Master Joe Haldeman tells all (or some, anyway) to Sci Fi Bookshelf

Joe Haldeman has just been named to the Grand Master Award, joining the ranks of science fiction giants like Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin.  He has also won three Hugo awards, four Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award and more.  He’s perhaps best known for The Forever War, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.  His latest novel, Starbound, just recently hit store shelves.  Somehow, in between teaching writing at MIT and winning staggering amounts of acclaim, it seems Joe still manages to find the time to write.  He was generous enough to share some views from the top, infused with his own unmistakably dry sense of humor.

Sci Fi Bookshelf.com:  Marsbound was met with some great reviews, and Starbound is in stores now.  Was there any particular idea that inspired this series?  And can you tell us anything about the upcoming book, Earthbound?

Joe Haldeman:  MARSBOUND started off as a stand-alone novel.  I’d written the novella “The Mars Girl” for a Dozois/Dann anthology of Young Adult sf stories, and I wrote it with the idea of expanding it into a YA novel.  I used the novella to pitch the story to a YA editor, and she said no, thanks.  (Later she told me she’d been wrong; her daughter read the novella and loved it.)

Anyhow, that made me think.  I’m not a YA author anyhow.  So why not make the protagonist a bit older and write it as a regular novel, sex and all.  So that became MARSBOUND.
Marsbound

I was literally a few days from the end of the novel when it occurred to me that it needed a sequel, with the two main characters upping the ante and going off to the stars.  I wrote an outline pitching that book, STARBOUND, to sell it to my publisher.  But in writing the outline, I saw it required a third book, EARTHBOUND.

So what started out as a novella became a trilogy.  Trilogies do sell better than stand-alone novels, but that wasn’t my motivation, at least consciously.

The books follow the same characters in an unbroken series of events, but I tried to make each one enjoyable as a stand-alone novel.  It was a challenge to write the second and third books so they would work both for a reader who was following the series and for one who had picked up the book without preparation.  Background information has to be presented in a way that’s not boring to the reader who’s seen it before.

I started EARTHBOUND with a literary problem in mind.  I’d just taught Cormack McCarthy’s THE ROAD, which was well written but mindnumbingly depressing, and I wondered (since EARTHBOUND had a similar opening situation) whether I could make my book work without it being so psychologically painful.  I don’t know whether I’m succeeding; I’m only halfway through the book.

SFB:  Is it true that you write everything longhand?

JH:  I write the first draft of my novels in longhand, with a fountain pen in bound blank books.  Other writing (like this) I do on the computer.

SFB:  The rumors are flying about Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Legend) doing a film based on The Forever War.  Is there any news you can pass along?

The Forever WarJH:  He bought the rights.  The astounding success of AVATAR makes me think the project is more likely, but I haven’t heard anything from Scott about that.  (Except that he also loved the movie and intends to do THE FOREVER WAR in 3-D.)

SFB:  What’s the biggest change you see coming in the science fiction genre?

JH:  We’re in the middle of a long slow change that reflects the reading public’s lack of interest in science, and their concomitant ignorance of it.  Hard SF is a hard sell, and a lot of writers are leaning toward fantasy.  I stick with hard SF, but I’m not selling as many books as the ones about dragons and mighty-thewed heroes. 

SFB: 
Do you have any advice for aspiring science fiction writers who haven’t been fortunate enough to take your class at MIT?

JH:  Writing can be fun (for the writer) and can be a tool for personal growth.  Writing for other people, in the sense of writing for a living, is relatively difficult.  Most writers make very little money and see little or no fame while enduring criticism and the excruciating pain of watching terribly written books outsell their gems.  The best advice is not to do it unless you can’t see yourself living any other way.  Or you could marry someone with money and write what you want.

SFB:  If this isn’t too obtuse to ask, how does it feel to win the Grand Master Award and join the ranks of some of the greatest science fiction writers of all time?

JH:  I don’t feel old enough for the honor.

SFB:  Joe, it’s been a real pleasure.  Thank you so much for your time.

JH:  Thanks.

Joe Haldeman’s web site:
http://home.earthlink.net/~haldeman/
Joe Haldeman on SFF.net: http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=xover&group=sff.people.joe-haldeman&from=-10
Joe Haldeman‘s blog: http://joe-haldeman.livejournal.com/

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.