Interview with Tad Williams

This Interview has been provided by Orbit, and is printed with their permission.

While Tad is hard at work on the fourth and final volume of his spectacular Otherland series, OTHERLAND 4: SEA OF SILVER LIGHT, he did manage to spare some time to answer a few probing questions…

Where and when on Earth would you travel if space and time were immaterial?
Ancient Egypt. Imperial Rome. Christ’s tomb when they went to take him out (I mean, c’mon, what agnostic worth his salt wouldn’t want to know for sure one way or the other…?)

Which historical figure would you most like to meet?
I think it would be very interesting to spend an afternoon with Emily Dickinson.

What is your favourite film?
THE TIN DRUM, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BRAZIL all spring to mind. CASABLANCA would be up near the top, too. Oh, and of course THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Which book has totally transported you to another realm?
Two in particular – LORD OF THE RINGS when I was eleven, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES when I was about ten.

Which imaginary realm would you most like to travel to?
Have to be Middle Earth. Especially as badly in need of a vacation as I am at the moment, I think a few weeks in Rivendell or Lothlorien would be very nice indeed.

What from Earth would you miss the most?
The free availability of books and cheeseburgers.

What would you miss the least?
Telephones.

What would you take with you?
Granted books and cheeseburgers, I think I might opt for penicillin and toilet paper.

Are computers a blessing or a curse?
Definitely a blessing to writers of 1000-page manuscripts.

Do they inspire or numb the imagination?
No matter what Harlan Ellison believes, I don’t think it makes a bloody bit of difference. (I agree with Harlan on a lot of other things, though.) A computer certainly isn’t going to make you creative, but I don’t think it’s going to inhibit creativity, either.

Will they take over the Earth?
Oh, they already have. They’ll just become less obvious.

If you could enter the world portrayed in any computer game, which would it be?
I don’t really like many computer games, so I guess I’d have to opt for MYST, where at least it was quiet.

Are we alone in the universe?
Unlikely, unless one defines the opposite of “alone” very narrowly.

Will man ever live among the stars?
I certainly think so. It seems like a good fit, since as a race we’re kind of like the Mad Hatter’s tea party guests — mess up one spot, move on to the next.

Would you like to travel into space?
If I didn’t have to fly. So wake me up when the matter-transporters are running.

Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?
I’m not the world’s absolute biggest fan of either, although I like them both perfectly well. At the moment in my life, we’re more likely to be doing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, actually.

Which would be more useful, the Force or teleporters?
Well, if you have to study years to use the Force, taught by a croaky little green guy, but all you need to use a teleporter is someone to push the button – you figure it out.

Which would be more fun?
Well, once you graduated from Croaky Green Guy University, I suppose it would be more fun to be able to bend the entire fabric of reality to your will. But it sure seems like a lot of work when you can get almost the same effect with money.

Is virtual reality plausible?
It is, and it will be getting more so all the time. The only thing preventing us from creating near-perfect environments is processing speed and memory, and those are jumping forward every day.

Would a Grail Brotherhood emerge?
Only if someone needed some cool bad guys for a story.

Copyright© 2002 Orbit. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. The interview has been provided by Orbit and is printed with their permission.

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