23Feb15 Catching up with kja / Brad R. Torgersen

Moderators: D Pope, SandRider

23Feb15 Catching up with kja / Brad R. Torgersen

Postby D Pope » Thu May 21, 2015 7:59 pm

Catching up with . . . Kevin J. Anderson
Posted on February 23, 2015 by Brad R. Torgersen

https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/20 ... -anderson/

I’m reviving this column, beginning with my friend and mentor Kevin J. Anderson.
Kevin has had numerous New York Times bestsellers, is well-known for collaborating
with Brian Herbert on the continuation of the Dune universe, and instructs at
numerous writers’ workshops and seminars throughout the year. Kevin is arguably
the hardest-working author in the SF/F field, and he’s got a terrific original SF
novel out; the first of three in a trilogy, following up on his Saga of the Seven
Suns series.

Brad: This is the first book in your second series set in the SAGA OF THE
SEVEN SUNS universe. Having already covered a lot of territory in the first
novels, what are you looking to explore now, with this second bunch?

Kevin: In the Saga of Seven Suns, I created a whole universe — countless
planets, cultures, political structures, races. It was truly my love letter to
science fiction. When I wrote the seven volumes, a million and a quarter
words, I had a huge story to build and bring through its whole story arc —
but I always had another grand story in mind. I set it up in the original Saga,
planting many seeds, but I held it in reserve for when I was recharged and
ready to return to that universe. I had to clear my head (by writing a dozen
novels or so!) and when I came back, I was ready for an Even BIGGER threat
to the universe.


Brad: This is a book (and a universe) that heavily blends aspects of science
fiction, with quasi mythology; in the form of near-eternal and ancient forces
rising from the past to the threaten the (future, in the book) present. What
present-day influences or mythologies (if any) did you draw on to create your
(imagined) future conflict?

Kevin: The key word is “saga” and I wanted a story truly BIG enough to fill
a whole fictional universe. Not just a trivial story about one person in one
city on one planet. I wanted to show the whole tapestry, and I have studied
a lot of history, a lot of mythology, a lot of legends, and also my lifelong
love for science fiction. That’s what I brought to the table, mixed up in my
imagination-processor to tell a story that ranges from the small concerns of
two star-crossed lovers to political decisions that might bring about the fall
of empires.


Brad: Do you see machine intelligences being an inevitable threat to real
civilization, assuming humans develop far enough to make them; or encounter
alien machine intelligences built by other species?

Kevin:I rely on machine intelligences for almost every aspect of my daily
life, whether it’s a google search or Siri navigating me to a friend’s house,
or watching computer models on the Weather Channel. I am not afraid of
fire, or tools, or the wheel. I find them useful.


Brad: Would you call yourself a futurist? Should science fiction even try to predict anything?

Kevin: I don’t think “predicting” is the point — “experimenting” is. Science
Fiction, and fiction in general, allows us to imagine scenarios to their
extremes and to learn from them. I love taking an idea and running it to
possible conclusions. Not to predict what’s going to happen, but to
experiment with how things might happen. And doing it infiction is usually
more palateable than doing it in polemics.

Brad: Since the scope of your story is so big, with literally galactic stakes,
what do you consciously do as a writer to bring the story back down to
human scale? So that you can tell it from a personal point of view that
readers may identify with?

Kevin: By telling the story from a human (or relateable alien) perspective. I
see the gigantic story as the Main Character, the driving force, but it is told
from dozens of points of view, from the highest noble to the lowest street
urchin, so you can see the story, the saga, the galactic war, from ALL
perspectives. Readers may not identify with every character, and they may
loathe some of them, but they will also feel very close to some of them.


Brad: Why three books this time, instead of another seven? As with the first series?

Kevin: Because seven books — ALL of them over 170,000 words long, ALL
of them delivered exactly on time each year, every year, for seven years —
was an exhausting high-wire act I’m not sure I want to attempt again! And
the seven books was a complete story, not just a book and a bunch of sequels.
I plotted the whole seven-book arc and held it in my head as I spent seven
years writing it. This time, my brain capacity only allowed three books (but,
in my defense, they are BIG books!)


Brad: Do you find yourself unconsciously channeling themes and ideas you’ve
worked on before? With so many different novels under your belt, do you have
to sometimes remind yourself specifically which universe you’re working in?

Kevin: When I’m working on a book or series, I am totally immersed in it and I
live with all those worlds, those plots, those characters as my imaginary friends.
I am very close to all of them and I hold them in my mind. A few years after
they are published, though, I can mentally file them away and focus on the
current project, which is what consumes me right now. (I just finished dictating
my chapters in the first draft of NAVIGATORS OF DUNE, but I put that on a back
burner while I do my final edit on CLOCKWORK LIVES, which is where my entire
focus is right now . . . and when I’m done with that, I edit NAVIGATORS and then
begin the prep work to write ETERNITY’S MIND, the third and final novel in the
Saga of Shadows trilogy. After that . . . well, I’m not thinking so far ahead!

When a brand knew urinal puck showed up in the bathroom of my studio, I knew what I had to do.
D Pope
Posts: 476
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:16 pm

Re: 23Feb15 Catching up with kja / Brad R. Torgersen

Postby Omphalos » Tue May 26, 2015 11:17 am

Is it possible that KJA is even more of a blowhard now than he was back in the days of the true jihad? I think it is. Thanks for posting this.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)

The Omphalos Umbrella Page
User avatar
Alien Overlord
Posts: 5678
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: The Mighty Central Valley of California

Re: 23Feb15 Catching up with kja / Brad R. Torgersen

Postby lotek » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:17 am

I rely on machine intelligences for almost every aspect of my daily
life, whether it’s a google search or Siri navigating me to a friend’s house,
or watching computer models on the Weather Channel. I am not afraid of
fire, or tools, or the wheel. I find them useful.

He doesn't really grasp how they work though.
In short, the Jihad is over. It ended just as SandRider predicted it would, not with a bang or even a whimper, by simple attrition.
- D. Pope
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:05 am

Return to Kevin J. Anderson

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest