What a writer did before he was a writer
One of my favourite (and consistently most inventive) contemporary science fiction writers Charlie Stross has finished posting up a 25, 000 word piece of autobiography about how he came to be the science fiction scribe he is today, How I Got There in the End:
“I was writing fiction (and articles for Computer Shopper) as a therapeutic distraction. Around the middle of 1998, I figured that the novel I’d written in 1995-96 Singularity Sky was about ready, and mailed it off in the direction of Tor in New York, where it sat on a certain editorial director’s desk for the next eighteen months. I wrote and sold a couple of short stories, and began work on a project which I was workshopping with some other local writers; a strange humorous horror novel/spy thriller about a hapless geek who’s fallen into a government department for dealing with … look, you probably know where this is going, right?. This was strictly a weekend activity, to distract me from the weekday stress cycle: compartmentalising my life helped me deal with Datacash. But it probably didn’t help enough.”
I’ve bee pointing folks in the direction of Charlie’s books for years; I’ve been a big fan since first reading an earlier version of what would be Singularity Sky (some nice, dark humour and a deft mix of the big Space Opera motifs with more contemporary post-Singularity SF, plus a sarcastic jibe at the Edinburgh Festival). In fact right now I’m deriving much pleasure from reading through a collected of Charlie’s short stories and novellas in Wireless, which has just come out from the good folks at Orbit and which makes a fine introduction to Charlie’s now very influential brand of smart concept science fiction (I was particularly fascinated with ‘Missile Gap’, Big Concept SF meets alternate history, mysterious alien intelligences, Cold War politics and throwing in the great Carl Sagan and my boyhood hero Yuri Gagarin as two of the characters).
Charlie’s a mine of intersting ideas – you can’t even sit in the pub with him for a drink for an hour without hearing more ideas tumbling out and Wireless makes an effective showcase for this wonderful faculty of his. I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again, Charlie’s one of the SF authors anyone interested in the genre should be reading. (via Boing Boing)