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By Patrick (2007-10-08)
- What ultimately became Hunter's Run started off as a novella-length project from Subterranean Press titled Shadow Twin. It is said that this novella began its life as a story Gardner had partly written but had difficulty completing when he brought George on board, and then it progressed a bit and then stalled out there as well before Daniel came aboard. If that is indeed the case, what were the difficulties with the story that Gardner and George had that kept them from being able to end it?
DA: Having not been there, I will let the guys answer.
GD: We were old and tired. And busy. And there were always more pressing professional matters that needed attention, especially once I became editor of ASIMOV'S. Somehow the moment slipped away, we lost focus, went stale on the story. It's happened to me at least a number of times (and, I think, to George too)--sometimes a story just stalls; sometimes you get it going again, sometimes you don't.
GRRM: I don't think the difficulty was ever with the story. Shadow Twin was just one of those projects that got put on the back burner, for various complex reasons (you can find all the grisly details in the afterword we did for the Subterranean Press edition, if you're interested), and never quite got off. Sometimes when you step away from a project for too long, it goes cold on you, and then it's very hard to get back into it. Almost every writer has a drawer of abandoned projects and half-written novels tucked away somewhere. (Well, Daniel may not, he's still pretty new at this game, but I know that both Gardner and I have 'broken novels' in our files, his NOTTAMUN TOWN and my own BLACK AND WHITE AND RED ALL OVER). When that happens, sometimes the best thing to do is bring in another writer, for whom the material is new and fresh.
- And then, what did Daniel bring to the table that finally got it moving toward completion?
DA: Um. An ending? I think pretty much an ending.
GD: Youth, energy, ambition, two-fisted virility. Someday HE'LL be a worn-out old fart too, but at the moment, he's not.
GRRM: The story was brand new to Daniel, old news to us. When he got into it, his ideas and enthusiasm reminded Gardner and me of what we'd loved about the project, twenty years ago, and helped to get us fired up again, and pretty soon we were all brainstorming, sparking ideas off one another, and so on.
- At which point did you guys realize that you had enough material for an entire novel and not just a novella? Is the fact that the story was expanded to a novel related to the difficulties in getting it done earlier? Specifically, I'm wondering if the story felt like it needed a lot more room back then.
DA: George always thought there was a novel in it. From the first. My impression was more that there were a lot of possibilities implicit in the novella that we didn't get to play with as much as we'd have liked. We had a whole alien world to explore and invent, and there's a psychological depth that you need a certain amount of length to really draw out. The whole frame story that puts the main action in context was missing from the novella.
GD: As Daniel says, George saw it as a potential novel practically from the beginning, certainly long before the novella was actually finished. Once we'd finished the novella version, I myself began to wish we'd had a little more room (we were bumping up against the commercially feasible limits for a novella in the magazine market), since I found myself wanting to see more of the interchange between Ramon and Maneck--I missed him when he disappeared from the story--and, even more so, wanting to see more interaction between Ramon and RAMON. I think in those two sets of relationships is where much of the real meat of the story lies.
GRRM: Yeah, I believe it was around 1982 or so when I first told Gardner that the story ought to be a novel. He had sent me the opening of it, and I'd been working on it, trying to finish it, but more I realized that we would never be able to fit all that we wanted to do into a novella. Story-wise, the part where I left off felt like the end of the beginning... but if this was indeed to be a novella, it was going to need to be the beginning of the end. I did not see how to wrap up everything satisfactorily in the wordage remaining, so I shipped it back to Gardner and made my pitch for doing it as a novel. I did manage to convince him... but a novel is such a large undertaking that neither of us got back to it for decades.