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By Patrick (2007-08-09)
Q: Misspent Youth is a prequel to the Commonwealth and Void books. Did you come up with the Commonwealth universe first and decide a prequel was necessary first to lay the groundwork, or was the Commonwealth universe a natural outgrowth of the ideas explored in Misspent Youth?
The Commonwealth was a progression from Misspent Youth. Iíd define it as a very loose prequel. Again, itís a stand alone.
Q: The Nightís Dawn Trilogy and its associated books certainly made you a recognised name on the world science fiction stage. Do you plan to revisit that universe in the future?
Let me put it this way: I havenít said I wonít. If I have a story or theme that fits then of course Iíll write it. As of this moment I donít have anything I can use. If I did go back, it would be after the events of Nightís Dawn.
Q: What advice would you give a younger Peter F. Hamilton concerning his writing career? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
I donít think so. So far Iíve enjoyed everything Iíve done, even the less successful stuff.
Q: M. John Harrison recently wrote this post on his blog:
"Every moment of a science fiction story must represent the triumph of writing over worldbuilding.Worldbuilding is dull. Worldbuilding literalises the urge to invent. Worldbuilding gives an unneccessary permission for acts of writing (indeed, for acts of reading). Worldbuilding numbs the readerís ability to fulfil their part of the bargain, because it believes that it has to do everything around here if anything is going to get done.
Above all, worldbuilding is not technically neccessary. It is the great clomping foot of nerdism. It is the attempt to exhaustively survey a place that isnít there. A good writer would never try to do that, even with a place that is there. It isnít possible, & if it was the results wouldnít be readable: they would constitute not a book but the biggest library ever built, a hallowed place of dedication & lifelong study. This gives us a clue to the psychological type of the worldbuilder & the worldbuilderís victim, & makes us very afraid."
Needless to say, a multitude of people disagree with Harrison's postulation. What's your take on Harrison's post and the concept of worldbuilding in general?
As every story is its own length, so every story and novel has its own style and its own internal structure. The ones I write tend to have a degree of worldbuilding, which I as the author believe they require in order to function as a coherent unit. Every book is different as is every author. There are no rules as to what should be written, or how to write, which is what makes reading such a joy. Diversity is life.
Q: Cover art has become a very hot topic of late. What are your thoughts pertaining to that facet of a novel, and what do you think of the various covers that have graced your books? Do you have a personal favourite?
Iíve been lucky to get some very good cover art on a lot of my books. But my personal favourite is the UK version of Naked God. I actually visited Jim Burns when he was painting it, and even half finished it blew me away. I now have a very good copy hanging up on the wall at home.
Q: How would you like to be remembered as an author? What is the legacy you'll leave behind?
It would be nice just to know that a) people enjoyed the books, and b) what they read occasionally made them think about things they might otherwise have ignored.
Q: Honestly, do you believe that the speculative fiction genre will ever come to be recognized as veritable literature? Truth be told, in my opinion there has never been this many good books/series as we have right now, and yet there is still very little respect (not to say none) associated with the genre.
Frankly, who cares what the Ďliteraryí circle thinks. They canít stop SF from being written, published, and read. I prefer to be judged by readers, ultimately theyíre the only ones who count.
Q: Speaking from your own experience, do you feel that there is a difference between European and North American fans?
Never noticed one. They both throw great room parties at conventions.
Q: Anything you wish to add?
I think weíve covered it, thanks.
Many thanks again for accepting to chat with us. We wish you continued success with your writing career and best of luck with the upcoming release of The Dreaming Void.
Interview by Patrick
Copyright - Patrick fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com