Tim Powers - סרוואפ םיט םע ט'צ
ךלהמב בותכל לחהו תילגנא תורפס דמל אוה .ב"הראב 1952-ב דלונ סרוואפ םיט
,ולש ןושארה היסטנפה רפס תא איצוה ןכמ רחאל .ינוידב עדמ ויה םינושארה וירפס
ורוביג .הניו לע יכרותה רוצמה תפוקתב שחרתמה ,"The Drawing of the Dark"
תומלגתה איהש הריב תיבח (ראשה ןיב) תרזעב םיכרותה ידימ הפוריא תא ליצהל הסנמ
,(תירבעל םג םגרותש) "סיבונא ירעש" היה אבה ורפס .רותרא ךלמה לש תידגאה וברח
יטנמורה ררושמה תא שוגפלו ןמזב עוסנל העצה לבקמה תורפס רקוח לע רפסמה
םיפשכמ ינש דועב ,תינאירוטקיוה ןודנולב דבל ומצע אצומ אוה האצותכ .'גדירלוק
ןושארה רפסל בשחנ "סיבונא ירעש" .וירחא םיפדור ירותסמ חצורו המצוע יבר םיירצמ
.תינאירוטקיוה הפוקתב םישחרתמה תואקתפרה ירפס - "Steampunk"-ה
,"On Stranger Tides", ,"The Stress of Her Regard" םה סרוואפ
לש םיפסונ םירפס
םיחבושמה םירפסה דחאל בשחנה ,"Declare"-ו "Dinner At Deviant's Palace"
.2001 תנשב רואל ואציש
"Fisher King"-ה תייגולירטב ןושארה - (תירבעב בורקב) "Last Call"
קבאמב תקסועה ,("Earthquake Weather"-ו "Expiration Date" םה םירחאה
.ברעמה לש "עבטה ךלמ"-כ שמשל תוכזה לע יעבט-לעה
םיררושמה רקיעב) תוירוטסיה תויומדו תידוס הירוטסיה םיגיצמ סרוואפ לש וירפס
ףושיכ ,םיסותימ ברעמ אוה .יתרגש אל ןפואב (ילשו ןורייב ,'גדירלוק םייטנמורה
,םיירוקמ וירפס .ימינפ ןויגהבו תויקוחב ןייטצמ ךא ,םינווגמ םימוחתמ הקיטסימו
.תינמז וב םיעשעשמו םידיחפמ
ןאכ :סרוואפ םיט
22:00 ,1.4.2002 ,'ב םוי
ךונח ידיד :החנמ
Didi_c: Welcome Tim Powers to the fantasy.con 2002 author
Ashbless: Didi, thanks -- I'm glad to be here!
Ashbless: I hope smoking's allowed in here.
Didi_c: You've said in a Locus interview that you writing is done via
paranoia, can you elaborate on that?
Didi_c: Smoking is encouraged.
Ashbless: Well, for the purposes of writing a book, I look for the sort
of connections that only schizophrenics seriously make.
Ashbless: I'm kind of an honorary paranoid for eight hours a day.
Ashbless: This allows me to be very un-paranoid in real life, I like
Didi_c: Did your friendship with Phil Dick have an influence on creating
Ashbless: I suppose it did! He was forever finding clues that linked
Parmenides with the Kennedy assassination, and things like that. And if
it was real late at night, after some wine, ANYBODY would believe his
theories. He always saw the errors in them long before I did. I was always
convinced that the CIA was going to assassinate us all. I imagine this
DID color my atitudes toward fiction. It seemed more fun than NOT having
big secret conspiracies.
Didi_c: I can well imagine that having an influence on a young man
Ashbless: Yes -- for Blaylock and Jeter and I ... Dick was more a role-model
than a writer to emulate. I'm not sure he was the best ... person to take
as a model of how to live -- broken marriages, broke all the time -- but
it's too late now. At least I'm still happily married!
Didi_c: An audience question - Do you find it difficult keeping track
of your large casts of characters? Do you have lists and tables and stuff?
Ashbless: Yes, I have to make extensive lists -- of people's birth-dates,
calendars to indicate who's where when, and endless maps. I work as though
I have no memory - I make notes of every detail.
Didi_c: An audience question - Where does your fascination with mysticism
and the occult stems from, and mainly - do you believe in the things you
Ashbless: Well -- I guess I believe such things COULD happen. I won't
have a Ouija board in the house, and I'm scared of Tarot cards; but at
the same time I'm very skeptical. I think it derives from being a Catholic
-- that stuff is there, but rare and scary! And of course for the purposes
of a book, I make up the details. I don't think there are really vampires,
for instance! I never seem to have NICE supernatural, somehow.
Didi_c: Your books have an appeal both to fantasy fans and science fiction
fans, mostly, possibly, because of the systematic and logical way the
magical prectices are depicted. Why do you choose to write them so "logically"?
Ashbless: Yes, I try not to violate physics carelessly. Even vampires
are bound by "conservation of mass-energy". And I find that I can get
very nice magical effects by macro-izing actual physical effects, like
having odd quantum effects that really only happen on the subatomic scale
happen on our big scale. I think readers are aware of the physical laws,
and if I violate them carelessly, the reader will mentally say "Oh, I
see, this is a make-believe story!" -- and I don't want the reader to
think that. So I try to keep Newton and Einstein in mind!
Didi_c: Are you afraid of writing a 'self fulfiling' prophecy? For example,
there's a claim that the person who wrote the first Internet worm, did
it after reading Brunner's "The Shockwave Rider". Do you think that maybe
someone might take what you write too seriously, thus creating to the
Ashbless: Wow. I never thought of it. But now that you mention it ...
this new book is speculating on some things Einstein might have been up
to, and it would be fun to have some physicist look at the stuff wiht
Didi_c: What's the new book about? Do you have a title?
There's no title yet -- it's going to involve Einstein in Pasadena in
the 1930s, and what he got up to in the movie industry. And out in the
Mojave desert, too. It's supposed to be very like the desert outside of
Didi_c: Ooh. Scary. Any other historical guest stars?
Ashbless: Well, some movie people. And -- I don't want to give the whole
thing away! No dinosaurs.
Didi_c: The Mojave desert? A return to last call territory, isn't it?
Ashbless: Yes, it is. I hadn't known, when I wrote Last Call, that Einstein
had been out there! At least he won't get to Las Vegas. It wasn't really
Didi_c: That's probably a very good thing.
Ashbless: Yes - Einstein with roulette -- wow.
Didi_c: Another audience Q - What are your sources of inspiration? Favorite
authors and such?
Ashbless: My favorite authors would include -- Amis, Leiber, John D.
MacDonald, Lovecraft, Wodehouse -- and all of them have influences, in
their own ways! For the kind of stories I write, I suppose the main influences
are C.S. Lewis, Thomas Pynchon, Charles Williams -- Hunter Thompson too,
in some ways!
Didi_c: Do you read any contemporary genre authors?
Ashbless: Not very many! Friends, mostly -- Gaiman, Blaylock, Lisa Goldstein,
Karen Joy Fowler, Kelly Link ... I pretty much STOPPED reading F&SF when
I started writing it! Now I just fake it by reading the reviews in Locus!
I trust this will go no further than this room, of course. Heh heh.
Didi_c: Of course. Of course...
Ashbless: I don't even read contemporary mainstream. I read mostly pre-1960
stuff, mainly. In fiction, at least. I'm current in non-fiction, I swear!
Didi_c: Are you particularly attracted to the english romantics, or was
your decision to place Ashbless there merely a matter of convenience?
That was another audience q, btw.
Ashbless: I've always loved the English Romantics, Byron especially.
It was a lot of fun to be able to really immerse myself in them, for The
Stress of Her Regard, and be able to call it work! Some books I hate to
Didi_c: Sadly, I haven't gotten hold of that one yet. Your agent has
been slow in sending me books!
Ashbless: Really? That guy! I'll send you a copy!
Didi_c: YES! My job rocks!
Ashbless: And have you got Declare yet?
Didi_c: Oh, yes. Loved it. Anything to say about the inspiration for
it, and Le Care? Ashbless: Well, sure! I've always loved LeCarre, and
that whole espionage world, in which everybody duplicituous, nothing is
what it's pretending to be, and by definition the real story is unknown.
And the locales are wonderful -- Berlin, Cairo, London. It seemed to me
that infusing a secret supernatural story in under all the intrigues was
not stretching the fabric too much at all.
Didi_c: Well, that does sound like most of your books.
Ashbless: Right, exactly -- espionage just begs for this kind of treatment.
Didi_c: Another audience q - IF you would write Harry Potter, what would
it be like?
Ashbless: I bet it would be very like the Narnia books. Lots of magic,
but with bad guys who manage to truly damn themselves by their badness.
I'm very pleased that the H. Potter books are doing well!
Didi_c: But a little less christian preaching, I hope?
Ashbless: Well, Didi, I'd never preach! I can't stand it when authors
"have something to say." I personally have nothing at all to say. Just,
"Look out! Monsters!"
Didi_c: Well, I'd hardly say THAT
Didi_c: Can you tell us a little bit about the research you do for your
Ashbless: Yes -- my books are just MADE of the research. I begin with
finding some odd bit in my general reading, and then I read up on whatever
it is; and when I realize I've blown a lot of time on this, I try to see
if there isn't a book plot in it; and then I look for clues in the reserach
-- like "What sort of book could use all this?" And last of all I try
to figure out what sort of protagonist could best be propelled through
it. Before I do the research, I don't know anything at all about what
sort of book I'm going to write.
Didi_c: Do you have any thoughts of writing non genre fiction?
Ashbless: No -- even though I don't read the genre stuff much anymore,
I find that all my early reading imprinted itself on my mind somehow,
so that the only plots I can think of involve supernatural or SF ideas.
Didi_c: Well, that's very good as far as I'm concerned.
Ashbless: I might try to write a sensitive story about a boy growing
up in Brooklyn, but soonr or later his dead father would show up.
Ashbless: On stilts.
Didi_c: Audience Q - The monsters you write about, are they your personal
monster (say, those you find under your bed at night), or are they monsters
inspired by your reading?
Ashbless: That sounds pretty good actually. I should write this down.
I think the monsters are largely my personal ones! Or at least my personal
interpretation of traditional ones. I don't believe anyone who tells me
that they're not "afraid of the dark." I think we've all got this ...
list in our heads, of the scary stuff, and I think it's basically the
same list! In fact -- not to go on and on -- Lon Chaney was once asked
what's the scariest thing he could imagine happening to a person; and
he said, "A knock at the door at 3 AM, and when you open the door there's
a clown standing there."
Didi_c: An audience member pointed out that it's interesting that you
talk about your genre influences, considering how different you fiction
is from most genre fiction.
Ashbless: I suppose my fiction is different from "most genre fiction"!
I guess that would be because I mix in a lot of Kingsley Amis and John
D. McDonald and Hunter Thompson and such. But I think a lot of genre writers
do the same thing. You need a lot of cross-pollenization.
Didi_c: The audience expresses great fear at the mention of the Clown
at night. Brrr Ashbless: Good, good! Me too!
Didi_c: Clowns are scary, we all agree.
Ashbless: We know it in our spines. In our cells.
Didi_c: Another audience Q - Do you think you'd be researching this deep
if you weren't an author, knowing that you can use the knowledge to write?
Is your reading "part of the job?"
Ashbless: Good question -- no, I don't think I could (without guilt)
research things as obsessively as I do without the justification of thinking
"Oh, it's your job, man." And even so I eventually have to ask myself,
"So is there a BOOK going to result from all this, or are you just playing
Didi_c: What if you had unlimited funds, and all the time in the world?
Ashbless: Didi, if I did, I would take twenty years to write each book.
Didi_c: Damn. It's good that you don't have unlimited funds, then.
Ashbless: And I find I keep doing reserach on a subject, even when the
book in question is finished!
Ashbless: Didi, no, I should have unlimited funds. It's an injustics
that I don't.
Didi_c: It would be an injustice if you did.
Didi_c: Another audience q - Do you play poker, or were those parts of
last call researched as well?
Ashbless: I play Poker now, and find it fascinating! But before the plot
of Last Call indicated it, I didn't know anything about the game. That's
another research area that I have kept pursuing long after the relevant
book was finished.
Didi_c: Do you play now, or do usual cards scare you as much as Tarot?
Ashbless: Ordinary cards are okay! Yes, I play sometimes in Poker casinos
in Los Angeles. But I wouldn't mess with Tarot cards!
Didi_c: Another audience Q - Your writing is very complex. So much so,
that the reader sometimes gets the feeling that you have an urge to capture
a whole wide world in every book, or even to create it into real actuality.
Do you get that, maybe, Godlike feeling when you write? Do you sometimes
get frustrated not being able to stroll in the streets of your so-real
Ashbless: That's a good point. What I really want to do in each book
is trick the reader into thinking that this fictional world is NOT fictional,
but is the real world outside the window. And this does lead to a sort
of total explanation of everything, and I find I want to crowd the book
with every extrapolation and consequence. I want the reader to experience
the events, not just note them. So I do go on and on a bit.
Didi_c: Another AQ - Would you consider ever writing for comics?
Ashbless: I might, but I don't know anything about how they work! I'm
sure comics have their own forms, conventions, styles -- and I'm as ignorant
of them as I am of screenplay realities! I like comics and movies, but
I don't know how you make them.
Didi_c: Well, you mentioned your Friends with Neil Gaiman, just ask him.
Ashbless: Yes, he knows! But somehow we never talk shop!
Didi_c: Another AQ - Once you've finished the research, do you have the
book "mapped out", or does the plot evolve as you write it?
Ashbless: I map the plot out, down to the last detail. I make giant calendars,
with every event written in the big squares! By the time I actually start
writing, I know as many details as I possibly can about how the story
Didi_c: Audience comment - "Not knowing the conventions of comics, might
be an advantage."
Ashbless: True, it might help to be unaware of the conventions!
Ashbless: My characters have free will in the planning and outlining
stage, but by the time I start writing they are in a deternministic world.
Didi_c: And they never try and take over while you're writing?
Ashbless: They may try, but I smack them down again.
Didi_c: Another AQ - you once said that you love lovecraft, what do you
like about his writing?
Ashbless: I love the real world that surrounds his supernatural stuff,
for one thing; Lovecraft's New England is as vivid as Dickens's London
(or nearly). And too Lovecraft really invented that kind of supernatural
-- the Necronomicon, the malevolent old gods.
Didi_c: Another AQ - You often have characters that, at least when the
book begins, resemble wide-eyed, ignorant children in a world of wonders
they can't fully understand. They're lost, they're in danger, and everybody
seems to know more than they do. Is that how you personally feel when
you start researching or working on an idea for a book? Where does this
nature of your characters stem from?
Ashbless: Good point. I think it does reflect my own dazzlement at these
newly-discovered things. And of course it's very handy to have a protagonist
who is as uninformed about the crises-at-hand as the reader is; so that
the reader can "listen in" while our characters figure out what is going
on. Very difficult to have a protagonist who already knows everything,
while the reader knows nothing!
Didi_c: Well, our "official" time is over, so we're going unmoderated.
We'd love it if you stay awhile. Thank you from the audience here at the
con and the people who logged on from home!
Ashbless: Didi, thanks, it's been fun! -- and I've got several Cokes
and cigarettes here still.