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Interview: Robert Reed on “Passelande”

Robert ReedTell us a bit about “Passelande.”

I don’t remember the specifics of the story’s evolution.  These things are organic and the details are best dropped on the kitchen floor.  But “Passelande” was one story, then another story, and I think I fumbled around with other avenues before deciding that the only strong story was all of them, told at once, as a dance.


“Passelande” is a sequel of sorts to a previous novella of yours, “Dead Man’s Run” (F&SF Nov/Dec 2010).  What prompted you to return to Lucas Pepper and his struggles?

I returned to Lucas for two compelling reasons.  First, this is an interesting, unfinished universe with a lot of potential.  Simulated humans in all of their manifestations.  Which might play into future stories, I might add.  But more important, I like the man’s voice.  I like his capacity to see things clearly, even if he is a bit of a “drawer-head” as a friend of mine would say.  A voice that knows what it’s doing is a blessing for any writer.


The personhood of artificial intelligence seems to be a recurring theme in your work; could you discuss that as it relates to your story, and your work in general?

I have no special knowledge about AI technologies.  My sense is that they are more important to the Earth’s future than humans are.  But what matters to me, the word machine, is the opportunity to use different voices with their own special set of skills.


The Trials of Quentin MaurusWhat are you working on now?

I just published a giant alternate history novel, as a Kindle-only e-book, called THE TRIALS OF QUENTIN MAURUS.  Which is a shameless plug, and I hope people buy it.  As for today?  Till the end of the year, I’m working on stories.  Then I’m back at a sequel to my Great Ship novel, MEMORY OF SKY.


“Passelande” appears in the November/December 2016 issue of F&SF.

You can buy a copy of the issue here:

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If you click on Mr. Reed’s photo at the top of the interview, you’ll be taken to his website where, among other things, you can purchase The Trials of Quentin Maurus through Amazon.


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