Clarkesworld Interview With Me

Over at Clarkesworld magazine, I’m interviewed by Jeremy L.C. Jones about Fuzzy Nation, H. Beam Piper, writing and a number of other topics. Jones also has nice things to say about Fuzzy:

Fuzzy Nation is an example of what happens when an established writer takes creative risks—and has a lot of fun doing it. The novel is saturated with respect for Piper, affection for the source material, and an intellectual playfulness. It is charming without being trite; thought-provoking without being didactic.

It’s a fairly long interview, and it has lots of stuff in it, including things that aren’t necessarily spoilers but will give you a hint at some of the changes between the Fuzzy Nation and Little Fuzzy, so if that’s something you don’t want to know (or alternately, do), be aware.


12 Comments on “Clarkesworld Interview With Me”

  1. i get the impression one can enjoy your book more when one has read pipers, is this true ?

  2. Having read Piper doesn’t hurt, of course. But I think people who haven’t read him will have not any problems enjoying the book.

  3. I’m glad you mention the editors who’re watching your back, and I hope you never get to be like some Big-Name Authors who think they don’t /need/ editors, except THEY ARE SO VERY WRONG.

  4. Well, that’s…huh…umm, I guess Fuzzy Nation is going to be very different from what I imagined. I won’t reveal much here, I’ll just say that I didn’t think you could change $character’s personality that much and still end up with something that could be considered, substantially, the same story as the original.

  5. One of the questions I was hoping for was about your knack with first chapters (and first sentences and first paragraphs). You are a master at hooking the reader – how much extra crafting goes into that part?

  6. I could have written pretty much everything you said about writing process, style, and theory. It’s kind of spooky for me, sometimes, reading your blog, because there are so many resonances in certain things. (Thankfully, there are also times I say to myself, “He’s smoking crack,” to remind me that while we have things in common–not EVERYthing. :-)

  7. From the interview:

    In some ways, and this is true with a lot of the science fiction of the 50s and 60s, the future that Piper wrote has sort of become our “past”.

    I’ve noticed that even with science fiction writers currently alive. I saw an interview on PJTV with Jerry Pournelle (born 1933) the other day, and I realized that he’s lived long enough to see some of his visions of “the future” become the paleofuture. And as I recall, Pournelle made some “by the year 2000” pronouncements in his nonfiction book A Step Farther Out (1979) which didn’t map the observable world in the real year 2000, along with expressions of grievances against Jimmy Carter’s presidency which seem gratuitous and exaggerated from hindsight..

    Getting back to Piper, though, I think he deserves cultural recycling in his original format because he often comes across as a poor man’s Robert Heinlein or Ayn Rand with his portrayals of self-reliant men dealing with a world of incompetents, mystics and socialists, so he should organically appeal to the current fans of their novels, like some of the Tea Party crowd. In Little Fuzzy, Victor Grego sounds like an Ayn Rand hero in this passage:

    After the screen blanked, Grego sat looking at it for a moment, wishing he had a hundred men like Henry Stenson in his own organization. Just men with Stenson’s brains and character; wishing for a hundred instrument makers with Stenson’s skills would have been unreasonable, even for wishing.

  8. Huh. I find the part about being able to remember all the little necessary plot details rather interesting. I know from personal reading experience that some less-organized authors are prone to forgetting their own plot points and foreshadowing – especially in long series – and end up leaving hanging threads lying around all over the place. You must have a pretty thorough memory to keep track of all your own little bits and bobs you’ve yet to use. I always sort of imagined most writers keeping little lists of “stuff I need to put into the plot”, or something.

    On a slightly off-topic note, It’s April 2 and you haven’t come out yet and said “Ha Ha! I fooled you all. My fantasy book is not actually real.” Does this mean it -IS- actually really real?

  9. In the category of uncouth attempts at friendly feedback, I’d say I like all the head-shot Scalzi pics I’ve seen EXCEPT the one shown on Clarksworld.

    Saw it and had visceral knee-jerk urge to take that pompous self-centered ass down a notch; and then realized it was the gregarious John Scalzi we all know and love.

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