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Συνέντευξη με τον Joe Haldeman


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1- First of all, I would like to congratulate you for the Nebula award you recently won. How do you feel about it? You have won several awards, so it would be interesting to tell us your view about them.

--> I wouldn't pretend that the fifth Nebula is as exciting as the first. But at my age, 63, it's a pleasing affirmation that fellow writers believe I'm still a player, still in the game.

 

2- 30 years after your first great success and you are still on top of the list. What about new talented writers? Is there a lack of them or maybe talented writers don’t write SF anymore? How about your students at MIT?

--> Like a lot of science fiction writers, I don't have time to read a lot of science fiction. From what I do read, I see no shortage of talented writers.

Talented writers do write sf; I think the level of general literary skill is much higher than it was when I started reading the stuff.

One of my students at MIT just told me he'd sold two fantasy novels. That's a first, in 23 years' teaching. Some of them have sold short stories, and one became a science fiction critic. But people come to MIT for science and engineering, and they have to be pretty focused. It's not surprising that few have gotten published in sf.

 

3- Studying how to be a good writer and, in particular, a good SF writer is essential? There are several books that promise help for beginner writers. You have written too such a book. How much help are they?

--> Most fiction writers learned how to write by reading fiction, more or less analytically, and imitating the best. Books about writing are sometimes interesting or amusing, but they won't teach you how to write.

I've never written a book about writing.

 

4- You have aliens in some of your books. “Camouflage” is a good example. Which are the best depictions of aliens in SF?

--> "Mission of Gravity," Hal Clement. "War of the Worlds," Wells. _Beowulf_. _Childhood's End_, Clarke. _Double Star_, et al., Heinlein. _The Left Hand of Darkness_, LeGuin. _Odd John_, Stapledon. _More Than Human_, Sturgeon. _The Man Who Fell to Earth_, Tevis. "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," Zelazny. _Hyperion_, Simmons. My own _Mindbridge_ and _Camouflage_.

 

5- In “Old twentieth” you write about virtual reality, a “computer” that gets mad, immortality,…things that are more or less usual subjects. But also you show the conflict between the rich and the poor. Do you think that in the future, this conflict will become more and more intense? Why?

--> I think it will go in cycles. The end of the conflict may only come when science or sociology have made ownership of things -- accumulation of things -- irrelevant to everybody. If a beggar can walk up to an "anything machine" (Damon Knight's name) and ask for a yacht, and get it, its ownership no longer has any symbolic value; it's just a comfortable and inefficient way to get from place to place.

 

6- The hero of “The forever war” shares much in common with you, or so it seems. How much of yourself do you put in your heroes? Is it good for those too to share similarities, or is it just unavoidable?

--> It's hard to write a novel with a protagonist who doesn't share your values, if only because at some level you're always asking yourself "What would I do in this situation?" Writers often give their main characters weaknesses that they don't perceive in themselves, and that's often what the story's about.

 

7 – The war at Vietnam inspired you and many other artists. How about modern situation? War with Iraq, tension with Iran… Are there themes to get inspired or try to ask criticism about them in modern politics and history?

--> So far the war in Iraq has produced mainly non-fiction. I think this may only be because there hasn't been time to reflect about it. Also, since it's an all-volunteer army, you're unlikely to find a lot of imaginative writers in the ranks.

I'm so passionately opposed to the war that I probably don't think too rationally about it.

 

8- Are SF books, and maybe arts in general, able to cause a change in politics? Isn’t militaristic SF usually an antiwar statement after all?

--> Most of what I've read in the subgenre "military sf" has been all in favor of military virtues, usually with a sop thrown to peace.

Some books have changed politics. In America, _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ supposedly precipitated the Civil War. _All Quiet on the Western Front_ affected people's attitudes toward modern warfare -- but didn't prevent WWII.

 

9- You have contributed in the making of the - relatively unknown - movie “Robot jox”. What about the dramatization of your most popular books?

--> Several have been optioned over the years. Only _Mindbridge_ is currently under option.

 

10- You travel a lot. Does this help you in writing someway?

--> Of course it gives you stuff to write about. A science fiction writer, especially, ought to be exposed to different cultures. But too much travel cuts down on writing time; I'm lucky if I write half as much as I would at home.

 

11- When I first communicated with you, you were in Italy and Libya. Have you ever come in Greece? And how about promoting your books in Greece? So far I was unable to find any of your books translated in Greek.

--> Both _The Forever War_ and _All My Sins Remembered_ appeared in Greek translation. The market is relatively small.

 

12- What are you writing these days? Could you give us any clues about your upcoming books?

--> I just turned in my latest novel, _The Accidental Time Machine_, last week.

 

(Η συνεντευξη εγινε τελη Αυγουστου 2006,οι ερωτησεις ειχαν σταλθει καποιους μηνες νωριτερα,ενω ακομη πιο μπροστα ειχε κανονιστει..ειναι μια Forever Interview!)

 

© 2006

Edited by Spark
Μειώθηκε λίγο η απόσταση μεταξύ των ερωτήσεων και των απαντήσεων.
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(Η συνεντευξη εγινε τελη Αυγουστου 2006,οι ερωτησεις ειχαν σταλθει καποιους μηνες νωριτερα,ενω ακομη πιο μπροστα ειχε κανονιστει..ειναι μια Forever Interview!)

 

Χαχαχα! Δεν έχει σημασία, σημασία έχει ότι έγινε :). Ωραίες ερωτήσεις (αν και την πάτησες μ αυτό το βιβλιο περι συγγραφης :p) αλλά σε μερικές θα ήθελα κάπως πιο μακροσκελείς απαντήσεις απο μια γραμμή :(. Oh well, υποθέτω ότι όταν ο άνθρωπος τρέχει έτσι όπως τρέχει δε γινόταν αλλιώς. Πάντως και έτσι ήταν ενδιαφέρουσα :D.

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Ναι,οντως σε εκεινο το σημειο εκανα λαθος, αν και απο οτι ξερω εχει γραψει ενα δοκιμιο που δεν εχω διαβασει και νομιζα ειναι περι συγγραφης.(Βοηθεια κανεις;)

 

Οσο για τις απαντησεις, που να δεις του Νιβεν!Υποθετω οτι ειναι στο ατομο και στη διαθεση του εκεινη τη στιγμη.Η ισως πρεπει να πετυχεις διανα και να ρωτησεις κατι για το οποιο θελουν να μιλησουν.Οπως πχ με τον Σπινραντ!

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  • Spark changed the title to Συνέντευξη με τον Joe Haldeman

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