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Glen Cook aux Utopiales 2011 : l’interview

Par Merwin Tonnel, le samedi 14 juillet 2012 à 16:00:28

An interview with Glen Cook, english version

Fantasy.fr: What was your first contact with science fiction and fantasy? What was the first book or the first movie of the genre you remember?
The first science fiction book I read was The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov. It was my father’s book. He caught me reading it, he took it away from me, slapped me upside the head, told me that I didn’t want to read that garbage because it will rot my brain. And then, twenty years later he was going in a bookstore and moving my stock upon the topper shelves and telling people: “That’s my kid! Buy his book!”
Elbakin.net: It’s been a long time since you wrote a standalone novel, like The Tower of Fear of The Swordbearer. Is it because publishers are more interested in series or because you’re more comfortable with multiple-book stories?
Usually, it’s because publishers are much more inclined to take another book in a series than a standalone book. The standalone books, at least in America now, they tend to take them only because they want to keep you interested in working for their company.
I eventually will have another Black Company book come out probably in about two years, the way my schedule looks now. I know that I will get a great deal of pressure from publisher once they find out that I’m writing it, and whatnot, because they’re going to make a lot of money on that, whereas if I was to do a standalone book, they’re taking a much bigger risk. They know that a new Black Company novel will sell crazily in United States, it will sell extremely well here in France and it will be translated into probably 15 or 20 other languages. So, yeah, they want more of the what you’ve already done and been commercially successful with rather than to take a risk on something else.
Wikipedia: Before publishing it, the editor of the Black Company said “It’s a good story but I can’t publish it. I don’t like a single character from this book”. Is it true?
When I submitted the book originally it was given for whatever reason to the horror editor rather than the fantasy editor at the publisher. And she, even though she was the horror editor, thought it was too dark and the people were too unpleasant and she rejected the book, send it back. But then four or six weeks later she called me and said “I can’t get this out of my head. There’s something here that works and I want to do the book”. And so we’ve met later on at a fantasy convention in Chicago and work out details about how I would modify that book to suit her prejudices and yet be able to write the book that I wanted to write which entail basically agreeing to write a trilogy when I started out just planning to write one book. Of course by the time I finished the three books I knew what the next ones were going to be and so on. Which I generally do with everything I write. Even the books that are standalone, I know what comes afterwards even if I never write it, because everything is a slice out of a broader story.
L’Autre Monde: At the beginning of the Black Company, there’s a lot of action, whereas, later in the series, there are more political aspects. Is it done on purpose?
The type of writing that I would prefer to do is a much more complex sort of thing. But I was taught very early in my career by an American writer, named Fritz Leiber, that the first thing you have to do is to please your editors. So you write what they want you to write and once you got them over the barrels, so to speak, then you write what you want to write.
Also, you’ll probably find that the actual biggest change over that period was that the first six books were written by hand and using a typewriter and the last four were written mostly on computer. And on a computer you can just waste a lot of time and get a lot fatter and a lot more space because you don’t have to retype your manuscript. When you have to retype 300 pages of something because you’re making changes, it’s just a lot of physical work, so you try to keep it short and get it done right the first time, whereas with a computer you can push a button and make changes all the way through. So, I think computers are the biggest reason that my books have gone longer over the years.
Elbakin.net: Have you already thought about an ending for Garrett, P.I. or is it for you an ever ongoing series?
It will probably go on until they put me under the ground, because the editor that I have currently on that series loves the books and they manage to make her a profit and keep her employed so as long as I’m willing to write another one, she’s willing to publish it. And they’re kind of my fun thing to do, the thing that when I get tired of the other stuff that I’m doing I go play with the Garrett stuff and have a good time with those. (He shows a manuscript behind him) I think what I’ve got right here is the fourteenth. It’s almost done. And I know what the next one will be, so… Assuming I live long enough to write it.
Fantasy.fr: I’ve noticed something in your Black Company books : in She is the Darkness, the sentence “Water sleeps” appears many times and it happens to be the title of the next Black Company book. In Water Sleeps, the characters often says “Soldiers live”, which is the title of the next volume. And in Soldiers Live, we can read “A pitiless rain”, one of the two forthcoming books. Is it something you did consciously?
That’s intentional, yes. It happens in a lot of my books. I’ve been signing the new Instrumentalities of the Night that they brought out specifically early to have here this weekend with the title of the next of the series in that as part of my inscription. People won’t know that until I get around to writing and finishing the book. And I do that intentionally. Also “Water sleeps” comes from a Turkish proverb and “Soldiers live” comes from a poem written by a Vietnam veteran soldier about feeling guilty about how he survived but his friends didn’t. “She is the darkness” comes from a song called Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac.
Wikipedia: You wrote in Garrett, PI something like “Sane people never wake up early in the morning”. Is it your own philosophy?
People never wake up finding on to being evil. They don’t. For France or America, the great evil man of the twentieth century was probably Adolf Hitler. Hitler was not evil in his own mind. He was an idealist trying to cure the world of its ills. However the rest of us didn’t agree with him about what the evil were, and whatnot. That is basically my philosophy of life. The nearest thing to an evil person that I can think of – well there’s a couple of them actually, starting to think about it… Joseph Stalin was I consider personally a lot more evil than Adolf Hitler was because he was not an idealist, he was just a power mad idiot who would kill anybody that he was scared of. Some people say that he was a complete coward and that’s why he could not stop killing people that got close enough to him to make him nervous. Pol Pot in Cambodia, I would consider much more evil than Adolf Hitler because I don’t think he was an idealist. The fellow in Uganda who used to eat his enemies I would consider him rather more evil than Adolf Hitler. But Adolf Hitler had more of an immediate connection with our ancestors so we can relate to that pressure, I guess, with that impact upon our cultures more than we can with these other persons.
Hope that I answered some kind of question.
Elbakin.net: The hardboiled crime fiction is usually used to criticize human society and humankind’s vileness. How do you manage to keep the same social speech in Garrett, P.I., which is set in a fantasy universe?
I don’t know that I have an answer. If anybody is inclined to accuse me of committing literature, you’re wrong. If you look for any depth in my stuff, if it’s there at all, it’s there accidently. I’m not a deliberately deep person. I’m just telling stories that I enjoy telling. So, if you see something else there, if you think I’m doing something intentionally to explicate the world or comment on the human condition… If I am, I’m not doing this on purpose; I’m doing it by accident. I’m just trying to tell a fun story or a story that I enjoy telling. When I get asked questions like that, I’m often puzzled because I don’t have an answer. Because I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special.
I may be. I mean, people buy my books, so…
Fantasy.fr: I’ve read in a interview that you might have something like 30 000 books and magazines of science fiction. Why do you collect so many books?
I guess… We call it OCD in English; that’s a compulsive disorder. I collect books. I have almost every paperback book published in English in science fiction, fantasy and horror before about 1980. I have virtually every one in my collection, even from places like Hong Kong, South Africa, Zimbabwe and whatnot. So, very unusual stuff in my collection as well as almost complete brands of all of magazines that were published in English. And I don’t know why. I couldn’t explain why I have them cause I have not read probably 10 % of the material. That’s just I had to have it, once I decided to start collecting it.
I also collect posted stamps which a great many of the countries of Europe I have by having collected them since I was four years old. I have almost complete collection of most of the countries of Europe, including some very rare items.
It’s a compulsive thing; it’s a thing I have to do. Just as the writing is also. Once I’ve discovered it and started doing it, I could no more stop that I could stop breathing, as far as writing goes. I’ve been lucky and almost everything I have written has gotten published somewhere along the line, eventually. The stuff that hasn’t is deservedly unpublished.
I’m not really badly compulsive but I have this mild socially acceptable compulsion. I just found this guy in Russia somewhere who digs up dead women and tries to make a perfect woman out of the bodies of dead women. I don’t have that kind of compulsion.
Wikipedia: I’ve read that you like series like Inu-Yasha and Power Rangers but you’re a little bit ashamed about that. Is it true?
I’m not ashamed of that. After 40-some years of writing I finally have enough the income and I can afford to indulge some of my obsessions and so I have tons of anime that I’ve been watching for the last couple years one I’ve got hooked on. I’ve probably got ten meters worth of it on the shelves. And for a long time I was hooked on Power Rangers. I don’t know if that was available anywhere in the world but in the United States and Japan, the Power Rangers were pretty much like anime only live action. Every couple years they would change the characters and the title of the show, but it was the same thing and the same formula. The show would start out and then the Power Ranger will get beat up for twenty minutes and then they will suddenly decide to put on their Power Rangers suits and do the Power Rangers thing, and then the bad guys would get gigantic and then they would get gigantic and then that would be over. The Power Rangers win. Every show was the same for 698 episodes or something like that. But I was hooked on that for a long time. My son and his wife would come over, 9 or 10 o’clock at night, and I would be sitting watching Power Rangers on whatever channel carried it. My son would just be all embarrassed.
But that was harmless. I was not out stalking people in the streets or anything.
L’Autre Monde: Does the work of Didier Graffet on the Black Company influence your way to write now?
No. Everything that he has illustrated was already written before he ever saw any of it. So it has had no influence upon what I do. I have tried to convince my American publisher to use the artwork but they don’t think that it’s commercial as far as the American market goes. I think he’s a genius, I love the work that he does but everything I’ve got in America right now has got a fellow named Swanland on the cover. It doesn’t seem to matter what publisher it is, they put the same generic smerge on the cover that have nothing to do with what’s inside the book but they do sell the book. So even though I don’t like them, I accept them. As a writer you have no choice what goes on the covers of your books anyway so you just have to live with whatever they give you. But it’s easier to live with it if it sells the book, you know, if it brings it to attention to get somebody to pick it up and turn it over and look and see what it’s about.
Fantasy.fr: Some new writers say that you’re an influence for them. Is it something that put pressure on you when you write new books?
No, I don’t even think about it. I know I’ve influenced several writers of the current generation, probably most strongly Steven Erikson and several other American writers that I don’t know anyone outside the United States has heard of like Joe Abercrombie or Ian C. Esslemont who was Steven Erikson’s roommate in college and writes in the same universe as he. Couple of other people I’ve had influence upon but I don’t think about that at all other than to make me feel good once in a while because I started out trying to write like the people whose work that I really liked and then now I see people doing the same thing with some of mine. It makes me feel good but it also has a kind of negative thing because now when I look in the mirror I say: “Now I’m one of the old farts”, instead of one of the young people that are just trying to break in. And now I look here and it seems it’s just as last year or so when I was starting to get a lot of attention like I am here. It has grown on me that I’ve been doing this now for 40-some years and I really never thought about that before. I’m one of the old guys now. The Old Guard, I guess.
Elbakin.net: Your universes are never introduced with a map. But, are universes like the ones from the Black Company or the Dread Empire precisely mapped in your head or do you just have a global idea of the places’ geography?
With the Dread Empire books in the original editions in the United States there were maps in the books. In the current editions of them, they dropped those. With the Black Company I took advice from Fritz Leiber who was my mentor and who said “Don’t draw a map because if you draw a map, as soon as you start drawing the map, you start narrowing your possibilities”. As long as you don’t have a map you don’t have to conform to certain things. I have a vague map inside my head and I’ve seen many maps on the internet of what people thought the Black Company world might be like. They’re not too far off, but they’re not close either. It’s north and south with a pond in the middle.
Wikipedia: Some of your fans write fan fiction inspired by your work. Did you read some of them and what do you think about it?
I did not know that, so I guess I can’t express an opinion. But inspiring younger writers is good. If they’re younger than 40 years old and they’re actually reading books and trying to write instead of playing video games, that’s great by me.
I was unaware that there was any fan fiction based upon any of my work.
Wikipedia: You don’t fear to be copied?
As long as they’re not trying to make money out of it, that’s not a problem with me. I basically started out writing what was fan fiction of Jack Vance and Fritz Leiber and whatnot, trying to write what they wrote, and I think most beginning writers do that. They get inspired by people whose work moves them and they try to write the same thing. After a few efforts they start finding their own voice. Yeah, that’s fine. If they want to write Black Company stories, let them but hopefully they’ll out rule it and after a few tries they’ll get a meter, a rhythm and just find their own inner voice.
Fantasy.fr: You’ve recently finished A Path to the Coldness of Heart, the last book in the Dread Empire series, whose manuscript was stolen more than twenty years ago. Was it difficult to dive back in your first fantasy saga, considering that you’ve written three more since then?
It was extremely difficult. I have to go back to the 1980s in order to explain this fully. As a beginning writer, I attended a number of conventions and whatnot to try to promote myself and in the early 1980s I met a number of people whose company I enjoyed. So my wife and I started having an annual party at our house for people involved in science fiction fandom in this central part of the country. And those parties after a couple of years got to the point where we had have 150 people spending the week-end at our house. At the last one we had, someone got into my book collection, stole some of my rarest books,… Someone got into my files because they wanted to know what happened next in the Dread Empire. They stole all of the development material for all the books that were coming after what had been published at that time. I had one page of a carbon of page 143 of the next book. That was the only thing that survived.
I stopped writing those books because they were not selling very well and the Black Company was selling very well and I was under a lot of pressure from Tor to write more Black Company books instead of more Dread Empire books because they sold ten times as many books. So I set that aside then later on, when Night Shade Books bought my entire backlist of all the stuff that were out of print, they wanted me to continue the series. We argued back and forth, I didn’t really want to do it because it’s been 25 years and I had nothing but vague memories of where I had been intending to go. And Jason, senior editor, threatened. He said: “Well, I tell you what I’m gonna do then. I’m gonna have Steven Erikson write it. He’s willing to write it.” And I said: “No, even though I love Steven Erikson and love his work, nobody’s gonna write my stuff but me.” And so I finally agreed to write the book.
And then there was the challenge of trying to remember what I intended to do and studying all of the stuff that I had written before because I didn’t remember any of it. I was completely surprised the first time I read. Some of it I thought was written by somebody who was a much better writer that I thought I was. Gradually some of it came back and what I did with the volume that will be coming out was combine most of the highlights, basically, of what would have happened in about three and a half books because I had intended to write seven more books in the series overall, to wrap it up.
And it’s supposed to be a wrap up of the series but really as you read the book you will see that there is a lot of stuff that even though it’s not resolved in that book it points out what would be going on later on, involving some children and whatnot.
All of the Dread Empire books, as of earlier this month, are back in print now, plus a collection of short fiction set in that same universe. But they’re not available in French.
Elbakin.net: If I’m not mistaken, you’re currently working on Working the Gods’ Mischief, the fourth book in the Instrumentalities of the Night series. Will this be the last book of the series?
I think so. The story will not end but I think it will be the last one that I actually write. I started out intending to write three books but each one was 50 000 words longer that it was supposed to be to begin with. And by the time I got to the end of the third book, I was still a long way from completing the story that I set out to tell.
Right now, I’m about 80 % done with it but I haven’t work on it this year because my American publisher is not to thrilled about continue on with it. It sold well in hardcover, but it hasn’t sold nearly as well as I wanted in the mass market paperback. So they’re kind of reluctant. My agent and foreign agent are right now talking about trying to get it published here in France first before we publish it there because they have done well here and seem to be fairly popular here although they’re so long that they have to split one book into two with the most recent one.
I will probably, because I have to or because of a compulsion of me, finish the book even if nobody publishes it. But when you will see it, if you will see it, I can’t forecast. It’ll be the project I go back to after I finish this Garrett book that I’m working on right now, which I hope to have done before Christmas.
Wikipedia: Garrett loves cynicism. Do you have fun working with this kind of humor?
Yeah, I enjoy it. It’s my relaxation writing. I wish I could be as funny as Terry Pratchett but it’s impossible. The man is that funny just sitting there talking to him. It just rolls out of him, he can’t help himself. You just sit on a panel with him or you’re just having a conversation over dinner and he’s just as funny. Every sentence that comes out of his mouth is as he is in the Discworld books.
I don’t really work at it that hard but there’s not as much of it and it’s not nearly as clever or anything but when I get my mind into the Garrett world gear and get that sarcasm going, it’s kind of automatic, it just comes out.
Did that answer your question at all? Or did I just wander off? I tend to be … you know, when I’m writing, I have to go back and throw out hundreds of pages sometimes.
Fantasy.fr: You told us earlier about the advice that Fritz Leiber gave you and how your first works were written in the style of Jack Vance. Which other writers have influenced you?
Probably hundreds! Major influences though, at various points of my life, have been Robert Parker, who’s an American detective writer who writes incredibly spare. His books are probably 80 % dialog and yet you’re able to know the characters and everything that’s going on.
Also an English writer named E.R.R Eddison. He wrote in 10s and 20s, I think, he was very much an English-public-school-very-upper-class-type person who assumed that when you came to his books you had the same education. So it was no problem for him to lapse into classical Greek or into Latin and just do a couple of pages and he expected you to be able to read it because you would have the same level of education that he had. But his style in English was very florid and for a while I tried to imitate that style. And I basically discovered that it doesn’t work in North America. People want you to get on with it; they don’t want to see you use this beautiful language.
In fact I have found that when I first started writing the Black Company books, I got lot of criticism because I just jumped into the story and didn’t explain anything and just got on with it. Recently an anthology that came out in America (note: Swords and Dark Magic, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders) had the first chapter of what would be a future Black Company book done in the exact same style that I used early on, where you jump into the story and you just get on with it, and the reviewers of the book complain that us old farts, me and Michael Moorcock, waste way too much time on building background and stuff and that we should just get on into the story like the younger writers in the book. So, there’s just a generational change there that what I was accused of 30 years ago is now on the other end of the spectrum as far as what people expect from writers.
Elbakin.net: I have to ask the question: during an interview, you said that somebody stoled a copy of your porn novel. I’m curious: was it a book written on command or was it your own true desire?
At the time, everybody in science fiction was writing them. You can name almost any name who was kept being published in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and they were doing it both for the money and just for the hell of secretly whispering “I did this”. I sat in a party at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1969 where about 12-15 very well known writers were sitting around talking about things and plotting out what they were gonna do and included people like Anne McCaffrey, Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm and whatnot. Many of them have already written one, under some pseudonym, and if you find a Marion Zimmer Bradley, they sell for hundreds of dollars. In fact mine sells for… the last one that turned up on eBay, I didn’t know anything about it and a friend of mine said that he bid on it but within an half hour it was over $400 so he had to quit. He thought it went for $900 and something eventually.
Everybody was doing them and some people who were very clever about it like Mike Resnick and his wife and his daughter, they build them on a team basis. They wrote 12 basic scenes and then they just mixed the scenes and changed the names and sold them to different publishers. And they sold 700 of them in one year got $250 to $500 a piece. What they did was put themselves in business on a kennel in Cincinnati and made their living of this huge breeding facility and kennel that they have ever since. Michael writes, when he feels like writing, pretty good stories but he does not write for many.
Many other people… Robert Silverberg, well known writer, brought almost two hundred of them. In the days when you had to type like that, he was writing 200 porno novels and probably close to 50-60 juvenile non fiction books for libraries, as well as science fictionnary romps under about a dozen different names, and old issues in magazines in which he wrote all the stories under different names.
Many other people, even Harlan Ellison. I think, but he has never admitted it, that Norman Spinrad did one or two. I think I remember him talking about it at a party at Harlan Ellison’s house one night, when he was pretty drunk. It’s nothing that he has ever confessed or admitted to since.
So yes I did write one. I wrote it on speculation, partly because everybody was doing them, and partly because it was easy money. You did not have to be very good, you did not have to write very long. A typical book was only about 35 000 or 40 000 words. The one that I had published I wrote in eight days and got $500 for it. That was better money than I was making at my job at the time (I still had my job).
The next one I wrote could not sell anywhere, because they kept telling me it had too much story in it. If I could take out all of the stuff about trying to write a fantasy novel it could be published. It was unpublishable because it was a story.
So that was the total extent of my experience with that. It was just something everybody was doing at the time.
L’Autre Monde: In french we have only one science fiction book by you, The Dragon Never Sleeps. Will you write another science fiction novel or short story in the next years or will you stay with fantasy?
As far as The Dragon Never Sleeps goes, for 20 years roughly, I’ve insisted that I would not do anything more, but I do know what the next story is. Someday I may actually write it.
I have a number of other things which were market as science fiction. There’s this thing called The Starfishers Trilogy, which is really fantasy in space. It’s very heavily relying on north mythology.
There’s a thing called Darkwar, which also involves space going, but it’s space going via magic basically, or telekinesis. There’s a book entitled Passage at Arms, which is probably the best science fiction novel that I wrote, and probably the most intense one. It’s basically submarines in space. It takes small crew and space warships and put them through the same kind of stuff that a World War II submarine crew would have had to suffer.
I have been accused to plagiarize every submarine books ever printed by one reviewer. But I had never read any of them or saw the movies. I had seen the movie Run Silent, Run Deep but it has no relation to it at all, despite what that particular person accused me of. I can see no parallels at all.
What else ?
The book A Matter of Time is a time-travel novel, now available at Night Shade Books only in English. It was published in 1985.
It is principally a time travel novel, but it is also a western, a romance novel; I tried to get in every genre that was functional at the time. It is also very much kind of The Day of the Jackal novel, with a sub-plot going on in there where there is a character who is doing sort of the same thing : he’s not shooting Charles De Gaulle, he’s shooting a person from the future in the past...
I forgot who is shooting who, who is the time traveler and who is not, but it involves psychotic security officers,... It’s only an 80 000 words book, but it has something of everything in it. Police procedurals and all of that…
And the house in which the main character lives is my house in St. Louis, and the neighborhood where most of the action takes place is my neighborhood.
Wikipedia: Do you know Wikipedia? What do you think of it? Do you use it when you write?
I never have... Well I take that back. Couple of times I’ve googled something and the first thing on the list that comes up is the Wikipedia entry.
I think the only time I have actually gone as research to Wikipedia was when I wanted to know what the rank Obergefreiter was in the german army during World War II. I wanted to know exactly where it fit. So I looked it up and sure enough there were all the ranks, an amazing number of them, depending of what unit you were in, artillery, tanks or whatever.
That’s the only time I’ve actually used it to find out something for something I was working on.
I go there once in a while, just to see what kind of stories they made up about me. I google myself once in a while, and I’m amazed that there is so much stuff out there.
Fantasy.fr: Since a couple of years, digital books are becoming a major issue in the publishing business, especially in the USA. How do you feel about it? Do you feel it’s changing the way to do books?
It’s changing publishing dramatically in the USA for sure. A lot of print publishers are really crying because it takes away from their print sales.
As far as my stuff goes, almost all the backlist stuff that I have is available electronically, as well as in paper or hard copy form. And I like the royalties. I have to say the royalties are much better on the electronic stuff than they are on hard copy, because the only cost they have is putting it into digital form. And that’s only the older books: the stuff that I’ve done from the last 5-6 years is submitted electronically anyway, so all they have to do is push a button and it’s typeset. Once it’s typeset, it goes on digital availability too.
I’ve mixed feelings. I can see myself laying in the bathtub with a Kindle, drop it in the water and I’m out of hundred bucks.
I like to have a paperback, but the electronic readers are getting much much better than they used to be. The first time around when they tried it, there was so much resistance to it, with very poor screens and stuff. Once they came up with the Kindle and the Nook… Those are very good and getting much better. They now have color availability for illustrations and stuff like that.
I’m pretty positive that the mass market paperback will be completely dead in the USA in another few years. Right now, almost the only thing that is getting published in that format is romance novels. There are only a few in SF and in fantasy that are true SF and fantasy, rather than what is branded as paranormal romance. They don’t publish in mass market paperback anymore. All the publishers are trying to go to trade paperback, because it does not cost them any more to produce, but they can charge twice as much for it.
They can have much smaller runs and make a profit. And also because of the tax court decisions in the United States, the mass market paperback, because it’s called “strippable”, can be sent back to the publisher. You just have to tear the cover, and you get credit for it. Because of that, for some reason, you cannot deduct it at the end of the tax cycle as being in inventory. Whereas with trade paperback, it has to be whole copy returned. You can cary it in your inventory and not being taxable for years and years.
That tax decision goes back to almost 40 years. It’s very much increasingly influencing, as publishing markets get smaller, how decision are made and how things are published.
Elbakin.net: Speaking of new technologies, you’re a very discreet writer, with very little presence online, and you seldom speak of your work and your progress. Is it due to a lack of interest in this new communication mode or is it a true desire to keep your distance with your fans?
I don’t keep my distance from fans, but I rather meet them like me and you. As far as the Internet goes, I just don’t know how it works. I am technologically ignorant, and just the idea of wasting my time doing that kind of stuff, instead of doing something I really want to do like watching an anime....
Younger people seem to live on the Internet. Even my wife, when she comes home from work, spends four or five hours on the Internet, looking at stuff and doing stuff. I can’t tell why she’s wasting time doing it.
It’s not, at least I hope, a disdain for the people that are doing that, it’s just that I’m not interested in spending my time doing stuff on the Internet.
I probably should have a website, I could probably make myself a fairly good income just selling my books over the internet, because people can’t find a lot of them and plus they can get them signed for free.
The whole thing, like Facebook and Twitter, they apparently have something to do with me, but I have nothing to do with them.
Every once in a while, someone comes up to me and says “Hey, I saw your thing on Facebook and yada yada yada”, and I say “What the hell are you talking about?”. I wouldn’t even know how to find it.
I’ve never been inclined to put in the time to learn how to do it, because basically I just don’t care.
L’Autre Monde: A word about this festival, Les Utopiales?
I am pretty much amazed. I’m used to going to science fiction conventions in the USA, and it’s usually very much different. This is so serious, everybody here is so serious about everything. Also, there’s so many people here. I was amazed by the number of people that turned up and also by the number of people around their forties who are here.
The first day, there must have been about 150 000 highschool and younger children in here. I swear to God, teachers must have kept all of the ugly ones home! There were so many pretty little girls and handsome young men, I could not believe it.
I also noticed that persons of the french persuasion favour the color black. It seems like almost everybody wear something black. It’s a cultural thing that I noticed.
Otherwise I have a great time here so far, I have met wonderful people, I have really enjoyed myself. The amount of fuss made over me, it’s almost to the point of being embarrassing. Because I figure myself more as a bricklayer, a ditch digger. What I do, at least these days, is write stories. I don’t think of it as anything special. But a lot of people are acting like I’m doing something special which, as I say, is almost embarrassing when it kind of piles up.
I don’t think I have ever done something like this before, in the 40-some years that I’ve been writing. I’ve never done a press conference, whatever this may be called.
I’ve talked one-on–one to someone once in a while for the local newspaper, and they are doing their piece on me in the week-end papers.
I have never got a great deal of attention, and I have never expected it. So it is a whole new experience for me. It’s good for the ego!
  1. L'interview en français
  2. An interview with Glen Cook, english version