An Interview With Greg Bear: 27 July 2006
I believe that Blood Music was originally a short story which was expanded into a novel and, in turn, was your first major break through. Where do you get your ideas from, in terms of the science side, and also the characterisation?
GB: Ideas come from all over–we swim in them. Characters are partly from inner voices, mostly from observing other people with critical affection. The idea for Blood Music was originally sparked by an article on biochips in a 1982 issue of New Scientist. That led to a cascade of thoughts, and the conclusion that DNA must be in some sense computational–a fairly radical idea at the time, old hat today. Blood Music as a short story won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards in 1984, and my novella, Hardfought, one a Nebula that year as well.
Could you tell us a bit about who influences your work and have they changed over time?
GB: That’s a book-length essay in itself! Not at all answerable in the length of this interview. I read widely– nonfiction, journals, and fiction–watch lots of movies, a fair amount of the very best television (plus news on all the news channels) and even play a few games now and then on the computer. Every novel, as I write, I refer to one or more exemplars–novels that I really admire. They give me the energy to keep plowing on, whatever mood I may be in day to day.
The Forge Of God and Anvil Of Stars, The Movies: Do you have any upto date news on these?
GB: Warner Bros. still has them under option. No news at the moment.
How did this movie project come about?
GB: My Los Angeles agent and partner, Vince Gerardis at Created By, worked with screenwriter Ken Nolan, who produced a scriptment–a condensed screenplay in treatment form. That sold the project within a week of its being shown to Warner Brothers. That was almost four years ago, now!
What were/are your feelings on having something you’ve penned potentially translated to the screen?
GB: I’ll let you know when it actually happens!
Do you read any scifi/fantasy magazines/periodical? - I know that authors, sometimes, shy away from reading too much of their own genre for various reasons?
GB: I try to keep up with current sf, and am saddened by the difficulties faced by many of our best magazines. Short fiction is still a terrific way to launch a career. That venue seems increasingly under threat–but thankfully, there are still brave publishers, editors, and writers continuing the tradition.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
GB: A long list.
What is your favourite film and why?
GB: Another long list!
What was the last book you read, what did you think of it?
Where do you write?
GB: I have stacks of books everywhere in various stages of being read. At the moment, I’m moving rapidly through the Fagles and the Chapman translations of the Iliad–also, The Sotweed Factor by John Barth. I usually write in a separate office near our home.
Are you working on a novel/story at the moment? If so, could you share something about them to us?
GB: I’m in the last third of a rough draft of City At The End Of Time, set in both contemporary Seattle and in the last city on Earth, a hundred trillion years in the future. Lots of history to catch up on!
What is your favourite icecream?
Thanks very much Greg for your time in answering these questions.