Monday, February 16, 2009

Raven on Sterling

At Futurismic, a very nice Bruce Sterling interview by the always-excellent Paul Raven, with some interesting little riffs about the future of the genre:

What’s next for Bruce Sterling – what will you be focusing on, and what should we all be watching out for on the global stage?

Well, I never said much about this, because there are certain dark remarks that can become self-fulfilling prophecies. But I always held a secret, silent dread that I would end up as a publisher. It’s the standard punishment for getting too close to the Muses: they make you put on an apron and an eyeshade and do all the scutwork.

But if there’s no commercial science fiction, no bestsellers, no chainstores, no media tie-ins — no more place to throw my glowing pearls before those capitalist swine — well then, clearly the model for action is something like Arkham House. Yes, Arkham House, or maybe some Czech hippie ‘89er samizdat underground scene. Counterculture goes to the trenches. Cold canned spaghetti with the Lovecraft cult. It’s what one does.

I sure don’t relish that prospect, because I’m old and lazy, but what the heck, I’ve seen it. Maybe, if I absolutely had to do it, I could do it in some way that better fits contemporary circumstances. Like: buy the 6,000 word scifi story, get the free fabricated chair-plans. An Arduino chip with every novelette. Buy the fantasy trilogy and you get a gratis Italian street uprising and a homemade steampunk watch. You get my drift here.

When the world turns upside down, the people don’t stop breathing. Tomorrow just composts today.

Out next week: The Caryatids.

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