Interview with Tad Williams

INTRO: Tad Williams has just released the third book in the Otherland series, “Mountain of BlackGlass”. He is also the author of the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” fantasy trilogy.

After being quite successful with your Fantasy novels, why did you choose to write a Science Fiction series?

First, because -I- have to be interested to write well. I just wasn’t interested by the idea of writing another epic fantasy of the pseudo-medieval sort. Also, most of my favorite writers (Bradbury,Sturgeon, Le Guin, Zelazny, Leiber, Moorcock) have wandered freely back and forth across the SF/Fantasy boundary without worrying about it. I’ve never considered myself exclusively a fantasy writer.

The Otherland series has by some also been classified as a Fantasy series, what’s your opinion on this?

I frankly don’t care how anyone classifies it. It’s science fiction in the sense that everything will make at least science-fictional sense, and that it takes place in the near future, but it has a lot of fantasy elements init as well, like DUNE. But I just want people to read it and decide whether they like it or not. Classification, these days, is mostly a marketing tool, and limiting rather than liberating.

How far in the future does the Otherland series take place?

I’m deliberately keeping it vague, but I’d say sometime well past the beginning of the coming century.

The use of Virtual Reality in your Otherland series seems very believable, did you do a lot of research to achieve this?

I didn’t have to do much, because I worked with things like this when I was at Apple back in the early 1980’s, and I even had a company for a while that produced an interactive television show.

Do you find it hard to come up with new ideas for your books?

Most writers that I know have more ideas than they have time to write, and I’m very much the same way. If I just used the ideas I already have, and didn’t have any new ones, it would be at least five or six years, if not more, before I’d used them properly.

What are your plans for the future, will you someday return to the fantasy world you created in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series?

I am planning to do a collection of short stories set in Osten Ard, yes. I think it will be different than any other collection of stories by an epic fantasy author. I’ll leave it until the book appears for people to see why I say that.

What has the Internet meant for you as an author?

It’s allowed me to have very quick and informal contact with lots of readers, which has generally been really entertaining and gratifying. I feel quite connected to my readership, more than most writers, I suspect.

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