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An Interview With Sean McMullen
An interview with Nick Gevers
September 2002

© Sean McMullen
Sean McMullen
Sean McMullen
Sean McMullen is a graduate of Melbourne University with Bachelors and Masters degrees and has a Diploma of Computer Science from Latrobe University. He has received the Ditmar Award for his work including Call to the Edge (1992), Voices in the Light (1994), Mirrorsun Rising (1995).

Sean McMullen Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Souls in the Great Machine
SF Site Review: The Centurion's Empire

Souls in the Great Machine
The Miocene Arrow
Eyes of the Calculor
The Centurion's Empire
Voices in the Light

Sean McMullen is fast coming to rival Greg Egan as Australia's foremost SF writer. But unlike the intense, cerebral, argumentative Egan, McMullen is an author of flamboyant exotic adventure novels; his resolutely larger-than-life characters live riotously, hatching intricate plots, constructing perilous arcane contraptions, fighting savage duels, wooing each other with passionate abandon and daggers always close to hand. Ideas are plentiful, as in the works of Egan; but McMullen's is an expansive, fascinatingly wayward intellectualism, a source of brilliantly skewed alternatives to the present rather than acute extrapolations from it. His settings are reminiscent of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and his books have those periods' air of never-ending Carnival...

McMullen's first books, published in Australia by Aphelion Press, were a collection, Call to the Edge (1992), and a sequence of two far-future novels, Voices in the Light (1994) and Mirrorsun Rising (1995); this diptych was later rewritten as Souls in the Great Machine (1999), the opening volume of the acclaimed Greatwinter Trilogy, published in the USA by Tor and rounded off with The Miocene Arrow (2000) and Eyes of the Calculor (2001). Greatwinter is a sprawling post-holocaust narrative of the rebirth of human civilization in Australia and North America two millennia hence, a determined growth in the face of near-insuperable limitations imposed by ancient orbital military platforms, hostile cetaceans, scheming supermen, and people's inherent bloody-mindedness; computers with human components, pedal-operated trains, and other ingenious retro-technologies assist the hyperkinetic derring-do of the protagonists. American readers had had a foretaste of McMullen's martial pyrotechnics in stories published in Analog and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; The Centurion's Empire (Tor 1998), a novel of time-travel, had acted as a more substantial prelude; but Greatwinter sealed his popular and critical reputation in the US. A new fantasy series, commencing superbly with the just-published Voyage of the Shadowmoon, promises further, magical wonders; already featured are chivalrous vampires and talismans equal to the destruction of continents...

I interviewed Sean McMullen by e-mail in September 2002.

Your writing is extraordinarily vigorous, full of extravagant invention, flamboyant colour, frenetic action, and very heady wit. Before we get to the specifics of your influences, techniques, and themes: how would you summarize the Sean McMullen creative aesthetic?
Goodness. Who is this author? I really must read some of his work.

My creative aesthetic probably just comes from background, taste, and experience. I write what I would like to read, in terms of both style and content, but that is influenced by having been an entertainer in rock and folk bands, student reviews, and other musical shows. You have to have a pretty quick wit to be a lead singer or a dance caller, and you certainly need it to entertain a hall full of drunken university students. As for the pace, well, my life is really busy, so for me it is all rather normal. Colour... I work very hard on that. When I was writing The Miocene Arrow I had a few flying lessons in a biplane to get a feel for flight in small, open aircraft. I got the idea for the glass landscape in Voyage of the Shadowmoon from a visit to an active volcano, some underwater scenes are based on my diving experience, and of course some of the colour of twenty years in martial arts has rubbed off as well. As a rule, I pay close attention to anything I am doing for the first time, because those sorts of vivid, colourful, harrowing impressions will have the strongest impact on readers.

Reading your work, while struck by its bold originality, I'm reminded at times of Bruce Sterling, Jack Vance, maybe Fritz Leiber; Shakespeare is invoked; and you're clearly working in the general tradition of the thoughtful swashbuckler. What would you identify as your most prominent literary influences?
When I was about fourteen, I decided that I really needed to check out this Shakespeare guy, so I borrowed his complete works from the library and read them. All. In about a week. I think thirty-nine plays were involved, along with various sonnets, etc. It took a few days for me to get back to the Twentieth Century, but I think I can safely say that Shakespeare had influenced me by then. Christopher Marlowe's work also impressed me, although he was a little too serious for my taste. People keep saying that Jack Vance was obviously a strong influence on me, but I have only ever read a couple of Vance's minor novels and they did not have much effect on me one way or another. If there is any resemblance between my work and his, it is parallel evolution, like when some ancient kangaroo evolved into the Tasmania wolf. From a distance, your first reaction is "wolf", but up close it is nothing of the sort. Leiber and Sterling influenced me heavily, along with Walter M. Miller and a swag of other authors such as Mervyn Peake. George MacDonald Fraser's approach to structure and pace had a very heavy effect on my style, because the Flashman novels were fresh in my mind when I was writing my first stories. They were fast moving without being frenetic, and kept description and introspection tight, vivid and economical. Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and Joe Straczynski came a bit too late to have much influence on my style. I love a lot of their work, but I had already developed too much as an author when I discovered their work.

You've commented in the past on the cinematic character of your writing, how some stories have begun as screenplays; and it's very noticeable that your books emphasize externals just as films would: dialogue and visual description abound, deep introspection is uncommon, character is revealed through actions. Your comment?
Oh, I agree. In real life you very rarely get deep introspection from people, apart from -- say -- when some work colleague has a few drinks too many at the pub and dumps his innermost opinions on you whether you want to hear them or not. I think a novel should be like looking at real life, rather than getting a telepathic tour of people's minds. I prefer to give cues and clues about my characters' thoughts, just as you get them in real life. It is completely deliberate. All that said, there are certainly moments of deep introspection in my work, but they do not dominate the text.

You're an experienced and versatile musician: does the spirit of musical performance help explain the operatic eloquence of many of your characters?
Only in the sense that in opera and song you have to get a very large amount of plot into a very few words. At the end of the drinking song in Verdi's La Traviata you are in no doubt about the way Violetta and Alfredo feel about each other, because it is an intense and highly emotional experience. In the same way, in Souls in the Great Machine, you are left in no doubt about why Lemorel's love for Glasken turns to deep and vindictive hatred when she reads the security report detailing his frolics with a serving maid while she was in great danger. Opera does have a lot of problems as an art form, and can be very silly, but it does a good job on emotions in general and love in particular. People can be spectacularly silly when in love, after all.

The ceaseless inventiveness I mentioned earlier: you're noted for your mooting of speculative technologies, like the Calculor -- a huge computer made up of human components. At the same time, there's a nostalgic element to it all: you're devising mechanisms to which lower-tech civilizations than our own might resort. Why this mingling of innovation and retrospection? Are you invoking the now departed spirit of, say, the Industrial Revolution?
It is not retrospection so much as déjà vu. Technologies are very, very hard to kill. Once they become hooked on a technology, people are very reluctant to give it up, and that is the underpinning of Souls. Civilization has regressed a bit, but people still yearn for the power of computers and the convenience of fast long-distance communications. My other agenda is the exploration of "high tech" without an industrial revolution. Had the Renaissance continued in Europe without the Industrial Revolution, what would have resulted? Would it have been a Europe that resembles my Australica of the Fortieth Century?

We are currently in a type of industrial revolution, with information technology. Where will that lead? The "Sprawl" of William Gibson, or the high-tech but relatively bucolic world of much of Bruce Sterling's work? Both are extensions of existing scenarios, and extensions are always tricky. In the 1950s predictions, we 21st Century people were supposed to be reading books on microdot readers, flying to work, and eating nutrition pills instead of meals. All that did not catch on. Why not? The technology is there to do all that. The answer is that it was inconvenient, awkward, and boring to do things that way. People are basically very sociable, they like creature comforts, and they want some fun from time to time. Forget that, and you miss the real future. I always try to make my civilizations places where real people would like to live. Real readers seem to appreciate that.

As you indicated at the beginning, you're personally involved in the martial arts; and this comes through very strongly in your novels, with their balletic action sequences and imaginary codes of martial discipline. What area of the martial arts do you specialize in, and how directly does your writing articulate its ideals?
I have heard cinematic martial arts described as beautiful people doing impossible things for lofty ideals. How different it looks when you actually wear a black belt and people call you sensei! A couple of years back, I was an external judge in the Lion Bushido karate state championships. It went for nine hours instead of the expected five, and every so often the senseis would get together and discuss how things were going. During one of these meetings, I noticed a green belt hanging around within earshot and generally acting suspiciously. Later on in the locker room, as I was dressing to go home, I overheard him talking with one of his friends. What he said was along the lines of "I listened in when the masters were having one of their meetings, hoping to get some insights into karate style, ideals and philosophy, but all I learned was that they had cold feet, they were desperate for a nice cup of filtered coffee, and their wives were going to give them hell for getting home so late."

Martial arts is an extension of daily life. My writing tries to demonstrate this, but some people think that I don't give the "master warrior" thing enough respect. In my defence, I say that I show how real proficiency in fighting can be gained by ordinary people. I go to some trouble to show how characters build up muscle, learn sparring techniques, and practice with each other to hone their skills. A very small number of masters live for their martial art and nothing else, but I have no use for them in my books -- except maybe as cameo characters. At a personal level, I don't take a karate class, then drive off to the mountains and sit stark naked under a waterfall meditating about chi. I go home, have a glass of wine, catch up with my family, and even do some writing occasionally.

I practice Shotokan karate at a university club, and we have a heavy emphasis on ju-jitsu, pressure-point fighting, and Okinawan techniques and applications. My particular interest is women's self-defence, which is quite important for girls on campus these days. This has also taught me about how women can fight, how they prefer to fight, what their limits are, and how they measure up against guys. For an author who makes use of a lot of very dynamic female characters, this is very valuable background material.

In addition to karate and general street-wise self-defence, I also do foil and sabre fencing at the University Fencing Club. Back in the 1980s, I fought in a metal weapons re-enactment group called the New Varangian Guard, then I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism for a couple of years, during which I was founding seneschal for the Melbourne group. I won four sword and shield tournaments out of about a dozen, and my old armour, shield and cane swords are hanging on the wall in my home gym.

Stemming from the previous question: your works feature a lot of violence: feuds, duels, sanguinary warfare. Do you see such patterns as inevitable in the pre-modern societies you're wont to depict? Can such mayhem only be restrained (or channelled constructively) by means of codes of honourable conduct such as the martial arts or mediaeval chivalry?
Duels are not all that far away in our background, historically. In the mid-Nineteenth Century people were still confronting each other with flintlocks at forty paces, there were six-gun duels in the American west, and even today German students still have schlager duels. During my five or so years in mediaeval re-enactment groups, I have seen several people buckle on the armour and take to the field for both friendly and unfriendly adjudicated duels. Why should someone win a dispute because they fight better? Well, tell me why a person should win a legal dispute just because they can afford a very expensive lawyer, and you will have your answer. I write about societies where violence is tolerated but codified. In modern society, the violence and (worse still) suppressed violent inclinations are still there, but people pretend that they will go away with enough counselling. This is dangerous. I do not like the approach of letting someone become a victim first, and then send in the lawyers, support groups and trauma counsellors. Strong, confident people do not attract bullies, and I have devoted much of my life to teaching people to be just that. Unfortunately, many of my students arrive at the club after having become victims.

In modern societies, we still have duels and confrontations. You see them in the traffic every day. I don't condone the behaviour, but I think that it is a part of human existence, and so I write about it. Falling in love is also a feature of our lives. It is also random, often destructive, certainly disruptive, and often reduces intelligent, proud people to gibbering emotional jelly over some partner who seems perfectly ordinary to the rest of us. Should we also have doubts about falling in love, or at least writing about it?

Now that we've discussed some broad currents and themes, on to the details of your career. How did you first break into print as a professional writer?
I had always read science fiction and fantasy, but during one of my post-graduate years the pressure of study, full-time work and band rehearsals and shows got too much. A guy in my shared student house suggested that I give up music and try writing SF, because I was always complaining that even I could write better than much of the SF that I was reading. I took his advice. I had a few amateur stories published, did pretty well in nearly every competition that I entered, and finally won a World SF Convention writing competition. That was my big break. Within a year, I sold two stories to Australia's flagship SF magazine, Omega, then sold "The Colours of the Masters" to Fantasy and Science Fiction. My first book was still six years in the future, however, because the Australian SF and fantasy scene was pretty tough back in the late 1980s.

At first, your books appeared from an Australian small press, Aphelion; later, the US publisher Tor took over, and your profile has been rising rapidly ever since. How did this transition come about? What practical changes to your life as a writer has it entailed?
In March 1991, Peter McNamara of Aphelion was in Melbourne because of his surveying business, and staying in our spare room. He asked to see what I had been writing lately, so I left him with some recent stories to read in bed. Over breakfast the next morning, he proposed publishing a collection of my short fiction. That came out a year later as Call to the Edge. He was also interested in branching into novels, so I showed him Voices in the Light -- which I had been trying to sell for six years. He bought it, then bought Mirrorsun Rising. All three books were critically successful and made money. The trouble was that US and Australian commercial publishers still showed no interest at all in my work, and I was starting to wonder what I had to achieve to be taken seriously.

It was around now that Jack Dann started reading Australian manuscripts for Tor of New York, and one of the first that he saw was my novel The Centurion's Empire. Just as he accepted this novel, the New York agent Chris Lotts read Voices in the Light, contacted me, and asked if I needed an agent. I said yes. Suddenly I had a New York agent and a New York publisher, and things became a lot easier. The Centurion's Empire came out in 1998, won the Aurealis Award, got great reviews, and sold pretty well. My first big seller was Souls in the Great Machine, the following year, which was a rewritten merging of Voices and Mirrorsun. It got equal 13th in the Hugo nominations, went into multiple printings in hardcover, and got rave reviews. Since then, my circumstances have been changed considerably. The demand for my writing has increased considerably, the lines are a lot longer at my signings, and there are always a lot of fans of my work at conventions and literary events.

The Greatwinter series, your magnum opus, has had a complex evolution: first as short stories, then as two small press novels, then as a fat trilogy issued by Tor. How did you first conceive this "mediaeval cyberpunk" epic, and how radically did it alter in development?
The story is pretty well known, but here it is again. I got a job in the State Library of Victoria while doing some post-graduate studies, and I was also reading Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy at the time. Reading Gormenghast while working in the pre-renovation State Library was... well ,let me just say that although things are pretty peculiar inside my head, even I got weirded out. Every so often I had to go outside and look at the traffic going past, just to reassure myself that I really was still in Melbourne in the Twentieth Century. It had a huge, domed reading room, and this was lined with half a dozen floors of bookshelves. After a few weeks, I started to see the library as a giant, baroque computer. The walls of the reading room were a sort of disk storage unit, with the Acquisitions section as the input device, Cataloguing as the compiler, Reference as the RAM, and the desks of the reading room as the output units. The staff was largely female, and I had already encountered quite a few really strong personalities among all the other female librarians I had met, so Libris and the Dragon Librarian Service were born. The idea of a human-powered computer was not new in SF. I can think of examples in Space Patrol, Doctor Who, and an Arthur C. Clarke story whose title escapes me just now. What really distinguishes my Calculor is that I worked out the logistics and technicalities of making one operate. I even ran a simulation on a real computer.

The plot of the first novel did not change wildly over the years, but the format did. I wrote the original novel in 1986, then re-wrote it with an American setting after some editorial advice, then re-wrote it again to put it back in Australia after yet more editorial advice. After one industry contact told me to "get rid of that immoral Glasken, and that horrible Calculor," I decided to ignore editorial advice unless a contract had been signed. I then re-wrote several sections of Voices as stand-alone stories, and managed to sell them. I was about to start another campaign to sell Voices based on the success of the stories, when Peter McNamara bought Voices on first submission and blew my campaign strategy sky high! My experience has been that most commercial publishers want the success of a breakthrough novel, but they are afraid to buy them. Once you have a proven reputation and track record, they are a lot more tolerant. There have been five literary parties at which local publishers have said "What a pity you did not try your books with us first," to which I replied "I did."

The hero of the Greatwinter trilogy, or anti-hero, is probably John Glasken, the Don Juan of your baroque post-holocaust world. To what extent is he based on historical or literary models, like Don Juan himself, or perhaps Harry Flashman? Is Glasken ultimately the rake made good?
Yes, he is... sort of. Glasken is both a slightly lower-class Don Juan, and a somewhat less cowardly Harry Flashman. Like a lot of men of this ilk, he is trapped by his own lifestyle, inclinations, and reputation. In the planning stages of the Greatwinter trilogy, I pondered long and hard about what to do with him at the end. Should I take the deterministic approach and let him remain the old Glasken, but with a little more maturity, or was there a convincing way to elevate him to the level of the immensely powerful women who dominated his life and generally gave him such a hard time for so long? In the third book, ancient technology restores the dead Glasken's mind in the body of a pretty but rather frail girl of about nineteen. When the incorrigibly heterosexual Glasken finds himself restored to life in a woman's body, he becomes a dangerous and unstable psychopath. What else could he do? He cannot stand the touch of a guy, while lesbianism is simply not Glasken at all. On the other hand, when he eventually gets that chance to inhabit a man's body again, he turns it down. As a woman, he has grown very powerful and independent, and he realises that he commands respect that the old Glasken never dreamed possible. It was a fascinating journey for me as well, although I must emphasise that I am perfectly happy with my own body, and I certainly remain incorrigibly heterosexual.

You've been a librarian, and the libraries of Greatwinter are exciting places, staffed and fought over by quick-tempered duellists armed with old-style flintlock pistols. An allegory of the existence of real-world librarians? You've already mentioned the powerful personalities found in libraries...
Libraries are odd places. They can be either utterly boring or seriously cool and interesting, according to the way you look at them. In many ways, they parallel the mediaeval church in terms of influence and political power. The churches, monasteries, convents, and associated clergy forming a network across mediaeval Europe were not very different from the libraries and the Dragon Librarian Service dominating Fortieth Century Australia. As for librarians... I have just been perusing the Gallery of Belly Dancing Librarians on the Web. There are other such sites, like Leather Librarian, The Barbarian Librarian, The Modified Librarian, The Street Librarian, The Naked Librarian, and The Lipstick Librarian. My karate club's web site looks positively staid by comparison. The truth is that most people just do not notice the very capable, dynamic, and often romantic and generally interesting librarians working amid and beyond the shelves, terminals and reading desks, but I got a fairly heavy dose of that culture just as I decided to set a science fiction novel in a huge, baroque library. I then got out of libraries and went into computer engineering. Perhaps significantly, I only began writing the Greatwinter series after making that move.

The Greatwinter trilogy features some very strong women (not only librarians), like the masterful Zarvora, and the fearsome, vengeful Lemorel; there are some more winsome individuals, like Samondel, but they are pretty dangerous also. Um... again: drawn from life? A mediaevalized feminism?
Well, the type is drawn from life, even if the individuals are not. Recently published research about competitiveness in boys and girls suggests that boys will be competitive for the sake of being competitive, but girls will tend to compete only if there is something in it for them, and in the right environment. I think the Dragon Librarian Service fits the criteria for that sort of female behaviour, and I am not surprised by those results at all. Every so often a female fan will compliment me on my female characters, then say what a pity it is that I am not a woman! Try as I may, I have not been able to think of a suitable reply for that one.

The Australia of two thousand years hence comes off very well in Greatwinter: renascent, resourceful, commencing an apparent golden age. An optimistic atmosphere; is it reflected in the current state of Australian SF, would you say?
Australian SF is undoubtedly stronger than it has ever been, but it is fantasy that is the real Australian success story. Australian commercial publishers are still very short of readers and editors who understand leading edge, adult SF. In young adult SF they are world leaders, especially in media productions, but if you are not a young adult author, you have a problem. Fantasy -- mostly by women -- sells far better in the Australian market place. It certainly pays the bills for SF, and it is the engine that drives the Australian genre market. I had an article about this in Locus earlier this year, and most of it was just statistical fact.

Looking forward: Voyage of the Shadowmoon, just published, commences a new sequence, set on the exotic "moonworlds" orbiting a gas giant in a distant solar system. Magic works there, so the series can be billed as fantasy; yet science-fictional explanations lurk about. Is the new work science fantasy?
Er, well, yes, but please keep your bloody voice down. Yes, it was written as fantasy. Yes, I can justify the lot from real physics. No, the fact that it has a basis in science is not important. In this series, we are looking at worlds where creatures have evolved with strong mental controls for manipulating electrodynamic forces, in the same way as humans have evolved hands for manipulating objects. I use mediaeval-magical settings because I think such societies would look like that. The "magic" would reduce the need for products and devices that heavy industry would otherwise have to provide.

A few people have suggested that I am just jumping on the fantasy bandwagon, but this is not true. I have spent years fighting in mediaeval re-enactment groups, I have studied mediaeval history formally, I have sung folk music based in mediaeval legends professionally, and currently I am doing a PhD in mediaeval fantasy literature. People who get to know me at all well are generally surprised that I did not go straight to fantasy, instead of writing so much SF first.

Warsovran, the villainous tyrant in Voyage, obtains Silverdeath, essentially a magical version of the atomic bomb. Is Voyage a kind of displaced Cold War thriller?
Several people have seen draft versions of this novel, and I am getting early reactions to the bound galleys already. Readers have compared Voyage to The Lord of the Rings, Terry Pratchett's first two Discworld books (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), and even the movie The Terminator. I must admit that I wrote Voyage with no specific model in mind, but I have never been much of a fan of Cold War thrillers, so no, definitely not that. Maybe some critic will say it's more like Black Adder Meets The Terminator. I would prefer it to be seen as Voyage of the Shadowmoon by Sean McMullen, but that's probably a bit silly of me. On my most recent American trip, quite a few fans were a bit apprehensive about how it would compare to the Greatwinter books, and I have been telling them that it is faster, funnier, but darker. Think of the difference between Pratchett's novels The Colour of Magic and Guards! Guards! and you have a pretty accurate analogy of the differences (my daughter thought of that one).

Laron, the vampyre central to Voyage, is a complex figure, uniting bloodlust with chivalry. Is he thematically similar to John Glasken, a bad man cleaving to the good? And is Feran, a frailer Don Juan, a failed Glasken?
Laron is nothing at all like Glasken. He is all at once pathetic, powerful, chivalrous, deadly, romantic and predatory. He can't help being a wolf among sheep, but he still tries to follow a code of honour, and thus cling onto a shred of his humanity. Laron is fundamentally a very good man in exceedingly trying circumstances. After all, he has been fourteen years old for seven centuries, he has a name for every pimple on his face, he glues a beard on to try to look older, and his most ardent wish is to just go on a date with some nice girl, and possibly hold hands on the way home. In terms of chivalry, however, he has no peer. King Arthur's knights would be breaking down his door and waving bags of gold to get lessons in chivalry from him.

As for Feran, well put! He is definitely a failed Glasken. He has lust without charm, and most of him is a lifestyle without a life. I took his type from the real world, even though he is not based on any individual. On the other hand, Laron came straight out of my mind.

Romantic love takes roundabout, convoluted paths in Voyage. Why is true love so difficult, so outré, for your characters?
Because most of my characters have very powerful and strong personalities. Couples like that can get along together, but they do not back down easily when there are issues to resolve, so they have to work much harder to get the resolutions. Even sweet and well-intentioned couples like Samondel and Martyne in Eyes of the Calculor have agendas and responsibilities that crowd out their personal lives. Finding someone to share a bed with is not hard for a powerful, intelligent, dynamic person, but finding someone similar that you really and truly love, and who also loves you, is much harder, and going on to establish a stable relationship is harder still. When it happens, however, it is truly magical.

Finally: where does the Moonworlds series go from here? Will characters from Voyage recur, will other moons than Verral come into play?
The Glass Dragons will follow, the contract is in the mail right now. It has some characters in common with Voyage, but they have changed somewhat by the opening of the book, and they will certainly change further as the story unfolds. There is a sort of magical Manhattan Project, which threatens to fall into the wrong hands. The long-suffering Terikel investigates, and along with Laron and Velander there are several new characters who are quite unlike anything in Voyage. I am currently writing the scene where Velander meets the glass dragons for the first time, while her two unwilling companions, Andry and Wallas, cower in the background and keep declaring that they are not virgins. The contrasts between heroism and low comedy are somewhat sharper than in Voyage, and there is a rather delicate love affair between the appallingly dangerous Velander and a very brave young man who... no, that's giving too much away. The third book has its setting on two of the moonworlds, and is currently mapped out in a 20,000-word rough draft. It has a plot that has probably never been used in fantasy before, but that's as much as I am going to say.

Yet another book, Sorceress, Aged 12, is actually complete and currently in submission. Part of it is set on Lupan (a separate Moonworld), as well as on Earth. I wrote this one with my daughter Catherine, and it is young adult in the same way as Card's Ender's Game is young adult -- that is, about kids but accessible to both adults and teenagers. The sequel to this novel is also partly complete, but is in the queue behind a lot of other writing.

Like I said, I have a huge amount of writing on my plate right now. Other authors keep saying that it's a sign of success. When do successful authors get a chance to rest? Nobody of my acquaintance seems to have any constructive suggestions about that, possibly because they are all too busy writing.

Copyright © 2002 Nick Gevers

Nick Gevers, an editor at Cosmos Books, writes extensively on SF for a wide variety of publications. He produces two monthly columns for Locus, and his reviews and interviews have also recently appeared in The Washington Post Book World, Interzone (the March 2002 issue of which he co-edited), Locus Online, Foundation, and Infinity Plus. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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