Monday, December 5, 2011
BBC interviews of 10 SF Authors now on CD
Science Fiction Writers
British Library Board 2011
Interviews date from 1977 through 2001.
Distributed by the University of Chicago Press
Reviewed by Ann Wilkes
I completely enjoyed listening to the interviews on this CD. The majority of the interviews were conducted in such a way as to bring out interesting anecdotes and facts of which I was formerly unaware. The authors interviewed are as follows:
J G Ballard
Arthur C Clarke
Ursula K Le Guin
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Also included is what seems to be a joint panel discussion or lecture led by Brian Aldiss and Doris Lessing as there is not interviewer on that recording. These are ALL previously unreleased recordings.
The gems you'll hear on this crisply mastered CD include an interview with Isaac Asimov on his 70th birthday in which he states that the kinetic theory of gases is what sparked his idea of psycho-history that is the "science" running through his Foundation series. Brian Aldiss tips his hat to Mary Shelley for writing what he thinks is the first truly science fiction novel.
Doris Lessing said she was struck by the defensiveness of pulp sci-fi authors in the States. She also said that though she thoroughly enjoyed Asimov's Foundation series, it's not really sci-fi, because there's no science. She goes on to say the Foundation series contains "brilliant sociology." Since when are robots, space travel and sociology not science?
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. explains why he chops up his books in short bursts. He also addresses his use of social commentary and satire, pointing out the reason why the defenders of the Alamo were really fighting in his novel, Hocus Pocus: for their right to own slaves.
Did you know that Ray Bradbury had a hand in the archetectural designs of Epcott Center, Disneyworld and World Fairs? A builder in Glendale (CA) even made a mall based on an article of his about a city of the future. He talks of his dream of globalism and a united space exploration instead of men of the same planet fighting one another. "Men want to be destroyed. But they should be destroyed for a good cause and the good cause is space."
The woman who interviewed Ursula K. LeGuin basically asks her if she would fancy being a father and a mother like the characters in The Left Hand of Darkness. And asked her if she thought of herself as an anarchist because she wrote about anarchists. Why is it that the one woman actually interviewed was interviewed by someone who obviously doesn't understand science fiction? LeGuin, however, handles the situation with aplomb and grace with wonderful tidbits like, "You can have books and babies. They are not mutually hostile occupations."
I highly recommend this CD for any sci-fi fan or writer. For more information or to buy your copy for $15, visit the University of Chicago Press.