We sat around on a hotel balcony with a bottle of wine and tried to figure out how you would go about blowing up a planet. That's the kind of conversations science fiction writers have when they get together. We don't talk about football or anything like that.
I think that somebody with the resources and innovation and the idea is going to come out of nowhere and come up with a successful space travel program.
One of the things that was kind of shocking for humans... was to come to terms with was the fact that, hey, we may not be the center of the universe.
Over the years, I've trained myself to speak using the same language I would use if I were typing: meaning using full sentences in the way that paragraphs and scenes are arranged.
I always had this non-stop drive. I had to keep sending stories out and every once in awhile I'd get something accepted or get the little trickle of positive feedback.
I mean, I wasn't stupid. I knew we'd make money and sell a lot of Dune books.
If you had an alien race that looked like insects, then they would build robots to look like themselves, not to look like people.
I did several interesting jobs, working in restaurants, I worked at a lab rat farm, feeding and watering all these rats. Then I got a full-time job as a technical writer for a large scientific research laboratory.
I wanted the feel in these books to be like an epic fantasy, with kings, queens, dukes and court politics, but of course like what I was explaining before, about making the science make sense, you have to make the politics make sense, too.
I'm talking to you and it's basically a direct communication, whereas if I'm writing a letter to you and you read the letter, there are like 12 extra deconstruction and reconstruction steps in the communication.
My dad is a bank president and my mom was an accountant and they didn't think that seeking the life of a freelance writer was very practical, you see. Of course, I was just as determined to do it.
Do you want Columbus to go across the ocean, or do you want to put a message in a bottle and hope that it lands somewhere? I'd rather have actual people be there. Whether they look like Americans or like the inhabitants of some other country, depends on who has the most drive.
I got to spend all of my time every day at work reading and editing papers about cutting-edge technical research and getting paid for it. Then I'd go home at night and turn what I learned into science fiction stories.
Each book will have a lot of cliffhangers, because I like that.
Every spare second I would write, somehow. On my lunch hour, too.
I always turn in my books on time, so you can always count on a book coming out when it's supposed to.
I don't think the author should make the reader do that much work to remember who somebody is.
I had a minor in Russian history, and this was at the time when the big Cold War was going on.
I sold my very first novel when I was 24 or 25 years old.
I think now I'm up to something like 85 different titles that I've published.