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Interview: Robert Reed on “Every Color of Invisible”

Tell us a bit about “Every Color of Invisible.”

The story is a sequel, of sorts, to every other “Raven Dream” story. And in particular, it is tied to the most recent: “Shadow-Below.” Unfortunately, that story is several years old, which might present a challenge to readers. Knowing this, I tried to write something that could at least pretend to stand on its own. And if you can read “Shadow-Below” first, or even afterwards … well, I think that might give you a fresh perspective on what is happening.


What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

I wanted to get back to the world of Raven Dream, with the goal of finishing this saga — at least well enough to satisfy me.


Can you tell us about any of the research you may have done for “Every Color of Invisible?”

The family and I went for a driving trip through the American Southwest in 2017. There were two benefits. First, the Natives. Not just the archaeological digs at Mesa Verde and Hovenweep, but the vivid living communities. Particularly the Navajo, who maintain a working nation inside our sloppier, more Walmart civilization. And just as important, I did most of the driving, which meant a lot of long periods where I had no choice but to think and think about story options.


Was there any aspect of this story you found difficult to write?

Let’s just say that there are some basic writing challenges to working in a series started more than a decade ago, and that has enjoyed a few changes of inspiration along the way.


Why do you write?

To figure out what’s going to happen next in my stories.


Who do you consider to be your influences?

I could list the usuals: Tiptree, Wolfe, Silverberg, etc. Or I could admit to a dark writerly secret. The universe outside me has receded. As I get older and less willing to read science fiction, I find myself influenced mostly by my own work. Stories from twenty and thirty years in the past, and it seems like they were written by someone with my name and many of my qualities, but not me. That is the writer who means the most to me.


What are you working on now?

The main function of 2018 was preparing my past short fiction for publication online. Nearly 300 works had to be reformatted and lightly edited, or severely edited. As of today, 65 or 66 are available from Kindle, including all of the previous Raven Dream stories. RAVEN DREAM at the Amazon store.


“Every Color of Invisible” appears in the November/December 2018 issue of F&SF.

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