Monday, January 29, 2018

Three Questions

(My answers to three questions asked by SFX Magazine for their book issue.)

What are you working on at the moment?
 I’m thinking about the novel I’ll be trying to write in 2018. A kind of samurai western set on an artificial world after the sun has evolved into a white dwarf and the Andromeda Galaxy has collided with the Milky Way. Kind of thing.


What would be your "desert island book(s)"? (ie the one(s) you can keep going back to again and again)?
T.H. White’s The Once and Future King has long been my desert island book. It’s a retelling of the Arthurian myth in which an orphan named Wart, mentored by Merlyn (who lives backwards in time) becomes king, attempts to create a chivalric age in which his rule isn’t enforced by violent men in metal suits, and how he fails, yet never quite gives up hope. It’s the kind of novel into which the writer pours his entire life, a wonderful baggy monster that comfortably contains low comedy, high romance and deep tragedy, not to mention hugely entertaining infodumps on everything from falconry to the politics of ants. I’ve read it a dozen times, two passages still spring tears, and I like to believe that reading it has made me a better writer.       


What are you most excited about in SF/fantasy publishing?
 The increasing number of novels that aren’t published as science fiction yet use the SF toolkit or contain some weird element, and the increasing recognition that the world is no longer what it once was and never will be again, and we must find new ways of telling stories about it.

3 Comments:

OpenID philrm said...

A kind of samurai western set on an artificial world after the sun has evolved into a white dwarf and the Andromeda Galaxy has collided with the Milky Way.

So, same-old, same-old? ;) I take it this is War of the Maps?

January 31, 2018 10:10 pm  
Blogger Mark Pontin said...

Sounds way outside of anybody's -- be they named McAuley or anything else -- usual rut.
That's a Good Thing (well, unless it turns into an unholy mess).

And actually, since you're as much a master of any now-existing SF subgenre as anybody currently above ground, it seems to me if you're going to have to write a new SF novel a year you might as well break new ground with every one. As you did with AUSTRAL.

February 03, 2018 12:02 am  
Blogger Theophylact said...

You mean the original Sword in the Stone, I hope, not the one rewritten for The Once and Future King. Getting rid of the deliberate anachronisms was a serious mistake on White's part, although I can see why he no longer thought Fascism was a worthwhile subject for ridicule.

February 03, 2018 3:40 pm  

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