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Interviewing Jim Butcher

Speaking of untapped potential: Is there any chance of you writing about Naraldi previous adventures? That would really be something to behold. Would you like to comment on that? My reasoning is that the two elder species of humanity, Sadiri and Ntshune, use their superior brain power in two quite different areas. The Sadiri excel at law, mathematics, physics and philosophy, which can be solitary and theoretical pursuits.

Even their work as judges and diplomats puts them in social situations where they are expected to stand a little apart from the rest of the crowd. Their social skills are rather basic, and that is why their family networks are so structured and planned, including the simplification of mate selection. The Ntshune, on the other hand, are highly social.

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They understand complex, organic systems. They have complicated family networks and several variants of marriage and adoption. They can remember and recognise more names, faces and histories than any of the other human species. They are known for their expertise in sociology, anthropology and network AI.

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Their modes of mate selection would be quite different from the Sadiri approach. One of the more intriguing issues in the setting of the novel is the relation between the four main races depicted, particularly regarding the standing of Earth Terra among the other races. Some hints are given that the Sadiri have visited Earth in the past and that some Earthlings may have abandoned Earth. However, with respect to the rest of the galaxy, Terra is very much the junior sibling. Do you thing this is the case?

I might be able to make that criticism of some science fiction, but I have also seen works that are very relevant. Part of the problem is lack of agreement on the definition of science fiction. Some might argue that the works I find relevant are literary rather than SF. You would have to be a dual-prophet, predicting not only how the literature will evolve, but also how science will develop. Her heritage does include Spanish ancestry but that was generations ago and names change. I am really happy and I hope that all of you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

I also encourage you to read the introduction to the Spanish edition of the novel written by one of our main fantasists, Javier Negrete. In , Christopher Priest was a young author who had published three novels very well received by audiences and critics, and had just won the BSFA in with The Inverted World and suddenly dares with two of the most important works of the British literature, The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, posing an unauthorized sequel linking both storylines, in a clear tribute to HG Wells.

Viewed from , was it a stroke of genius, a daring or a youthful folly? I think it was more youthful folly than genius. But as I wrote the drafts I gained a real respect for Wells, and his skilful writing, so my book quickly became what I hoped would be recognized as homage to a great writer. Which role plays The Space Machine in your literary career? The three books that had preceded it were all in different ways serious novels, and I wanted to show that I could also write in a more light-hearted vein. For a long time, The Space Machine was my personal favourite amongst my novels, but as time went on and I wrote more books that did change.

But I am still fond of it. Why Wells and not another British author of his generation, or from the Golden Age of American science fiction, or Verne, to give some examples? There is no one else to match Wells, in my opinion.

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But as well as his SF, Wells was a major writer — social novels, political journalism, campaigning journalism, comedies, satires, etc. Anyway, from my point of view when I wrote The Space Machine, no one else had written those two classic novels, so it had to be Wells. And if the answer is yes, do you think The Space Machine is still interesting and can bring something to the modern reader? With his later books you have to be a bit more selective, because he wrote a huge number of novels and some of those are a bit, well, out of date. I hope readers will enjoy the plot, the relationship between the two main characters, the amusing events, and the various small insights into what Wells was writing about.

But this has always seemed to me to miss the unique pleasure of the novel: There was real charm in that … so in one sense The Space Machine was a sort of dramatic adaptation set in the correct period. Besides borrowing from the two storylines, The Space Machine is a conscious exercise to reproduce the literary style of the Victorian era, was it hard to imbibe the Victorian spirit? I tried to write The Space Machine as a modern novel, not as an imitation of a past form, but within that modern ethos I wanted to try to re-create the mood, the environment, the comparative innocence of a past time.

It was largely a question of choosing the characters and how they would behave, and the locations they would move about in, and the technology they would use … the vocabulary and style of the novel followed quite naturally from that. Our edition of The Time Machine has a foreword by Javier Negrete which highlights the eroticism that distils the relationship between the two protagonists. I saw my novel as including a romance between two characters which a modern reader would enjoy, even though the characters would be properly restrained by the customs and social pressures of their time.

If now you had the idea for a similar tribute to HG Wells, would you write the same novel or it would be completely different? However, my new novel, called in English The Adjacent, has a definite Wellsian theme, and explicit references to the great man: But what happens in the book is for the time being a secret! Now a look at the immediate future, what are your next projects? Are you writing right now? Is there any prospect of your works adapted to film or television?

The Adjacent will be published in the UK in June This film disappeared almost as soon as it came out, but it is easily one of the very best SF films made in Britain in the last 20 years. Check it out on DVD if you can! We are hoping it will go into production this summer. I also have a stage play based on The Prestige, which is planned to open in the West End of London just before Christmas this year.

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It is also being staged as a musical in Russia, but that is likely to be two years in the future. Clarke Award, which are your ideas about science fiction and literature in the last years? Clarke Award suffered from incompetent judging last year. There were many other novels that were better or more stimulating or just more adventurous in their subjects, but the judges seemed unaware of them. As I consider the Clarke Award to be one of the best and most reliable literary awards, one which has supported good or ambitious writing many times in the past, I felt the judges had failed horribly and embarrassingly.


I said so in print, and got into trouble for doing so. As for this year: There are a couple of new judges this year, so maybe they will improve things. I have always enjoyed the Dresden Files novels written by Jim Butcher. They are a guilty pleasure of mine, particularly in their audiobook edition when read by James Marsters and I have reviewed several of them in Catalan in the previous incarnation of this blog.

The translated version of the interview was published at Literatura Fantastica several weeks ago and RBA has been kind enough to let me publish the original interview in english, so that all of you can enjoy it. Could you explain what led you to write The Furies of Calderon? The series was born out of a bet I made with a fellow unpublished writer in an online workshop. He bet me that some ideas were so tired and so overused that they simply could not be written into a good story.

I thought that even the worst ideas can be made into enjoyable stories with enough originality and work on behalf of the writer. Did it take a lot of research to create the world depicted in Furies of Calderon? Did you need to carry out any special research in order to invent the Furies-based magic in the novel?