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Exclusive Interview With Greg Bear 74

Posted by kdawson
from the darwin's-radio-playing-blood-music dept.
Joe Dickerson writes, "Aberrant Dreams, an Atlanta-based online magazine, has posted an exclusive interview with science fiction great Greg Bear. The interview covers topics from what it was like being the son-in-law of Poul Anderson, to his newest book (Quantico), to plans for upcoming books. While you're there, check out their other exclusive interviews with the likes of Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, and Gerald W. Page."
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Exclusive Interview With Greg Bear

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  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:13PM (#16847096) Homepage
    While you're there, check out their other exclusive interviews with the likes of Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, and Gerald W. Page.

    Troy McClure, is that you?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      Disclaimer: I didn't watch enough Simpsons to get the joke

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_McClure [wikipedia.org]

      Troy McClure is a fictional character in the television cartoon series The Simpsons, voiced by Phil Hartman...

      Troy McClure is the stereotypical Hollywood has-been; ubiquitous presenter of educational videos, voiceovers, and infomercials. At one stage he had a modestly successful acting career. When introducing the latest product he is paid to add his clean-cut good looks and smooth voice. He always reminds us
  • by AaronLawrence (600990) * on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:34PM (#16847266)
    "Are you deliberately moving away from science fiction to make more money?" Bear's recent novels (Vitals, Dead Lines, Quantico) have been only marginally science fictional and much more thrillers. Sounds like is new novel about "City at the End of Time" might be returning more to science fiction though.
    • by ddoctor (977173)
      "City at the End of Time" makes me think of "Restaurant at the End of the Universe"
      • Makes me think more of Clarke's "City and the Stars".
      • by dpilot (134227)
        Well, the mention of Poul Anderson in the interview, and then your mention of "City at the End of Time" leads me to another curiously pronounced "Poll", Frederik Pohl, and...

        "The World at the End of Time"
        "The Other End of Time"
        "The Siege of Eternity"
        "The Far Shore of Time"

        (just checked the bookshelf -'P' is closer to the bottom. Eon, Eternity, etc are with 'B' near the top.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vidarh (309115)
        There's also Dancers at the end of time [wikipedia.org] by Michael Moorcock, which is literally set at the end of time, where the last few inhabitants of earth live like a bunch of decadent perverts supported by technology that lets them do practically anything they want, at the cost of harvesting the energy of the stars. Unfortunately they've been at it long enough that the last stars are about to go dark, something they're blissfully unaware of since they consider space to be frightfully boring and treat one of the alien
    • I read Darwin's Radio, and I have to admit I really liked it. I suspected Bear took his "theory" a little too seriously -- and an extremely far fetched theory it is. Darwin's Children rather sealed the deal on that; he's a quack. And the book, well, sucked... A direct sequel going from silly-but-interesting speculative science to metaphysical nonsense and well, a quite uninspired new human race.

      It was rather a letdown when his neo human race, that was supposed to be more socially adept, were just as soc
      • by blincoln (592401)
        Or maybe it was just off-putting that this writer thought that a socially superior hominid would be even MORE cliquey and xenophobic than us humans.

        I haven't read the Darwin books, but one of his old novellas called "Hardfought" has what I assume is a similarly pessimistic perspective on humanity's children. I don't say that in a negative way, it's one of my favourite short stories.

        OTOH, I enjoyed the first book enough that I'm willing to give Bear another chance. Any recommendations?

        IMO, Anvil of Stars is
      • by wileyAU (889251)
        OTOH, I enjoyed the first book enough that I'm willing to give Bear another chance. Any recommendations?
        Bear is rather hit or miss to me, but The Forges of God is one of my favorite novels of all time, sci-fi or otherwise. I also dug Blood Music and Moving Mars. Eon is probably his most popular, but I thought it was kind of over-rated and its two sequels Eternity and Legacy were pretty much a waste of time.
      • "The Forge of God" and "Anvil of Stars" (sequel) are the best IMHO
        "Moving Mars" was a bit dry and political in places, but had a really interesting ending (let slip the hounds of war).
        "Queen of Angels" was a bit weird, but in a good way. Kind of Gibson-esque I thought.
      • by bitrex (859228)
        I've also read Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children - and while I thought the premise of the two books was extremely interesting, I think Bear falls into the trap that other "hard" sci-fi writers fall into, which is that the characters end up just being mouthpieces for "cool ideas" that the author wanted to put into a novel. Bear is better at disguising this than some authors (Baxter, though he's gotten better), but I felt that for some reason Bear chose to make the two main adult protagonists of the novel
        • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:03AM (#16849188)
          I think Bear falls into the trap that other "hard" sci-fi writers fall into, which is that the characters end up just being mouthpieces for "cool ideas" that the author wanted to put into a novel.


          Yes, heaven forbid that hard SF authors might fall into the trap of writing hard SF.

          The whole point of hard SF is the ideas. The rest is accidental. That's what the term means. If you want character-driven fiction, that's soft SF [wikipedia.org].
          • by aussie_a (778472)
            That's funny I thought the hard and soft referred to the sort of science a book has. If it's pretty unrealistic with what we know today (any Star Trek novel, ever) it's soft, whereas if it's fairly realistic (say Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy) then it's hard.

            Absolutely nothing about characterization in those definitions.
            • by Flendon (857337)
              In the strictest sense you are right. However, both descriptions are used. Many of the masters of hard SF focus on the people and their thoughts just as much as the science which is part of what blurs the line so much. So while you're definition is right that does not mean that asuffield's definition is wrong.
      • They're Mary Sues! Come on, their eyes change color! And they have magical scent-based mind-control powers! And the grownups just don't understand them!

        All Bear would have had to do is give them pink hair and epic flying unicorn mounts. And make them all Dumbledore's daughter.

        And you're absolutely right. Radio was kind of interesting; I wanted to see where he was taking the concept. But the sequel didn't do anything SFnal; it was as though Bear was afraid of heaping too many ideas on his audience and decide
      • by Farrside (78711)
        I started with Eon. It's got a much better Sci-Fi feel to it. The sequel Eternity is good.
        I think you'll find that a lot of Bear's writing has some metaphysical stuff tacked on at the ending, but Eon's pretty light on that.
      • by asuffield (111848)
        Or maybe it was just off-putting that this writer thought that a socially superior hominid would be even MORE cliquey and xenophobic than us humans.


        Those are excellent survival traits. He didn't call it "Darwin's Children" just for laughs. Evolution does not care about your notions of morality. If you don't like having your preconceptions challenged, SF is not for you.
        • by Ender Ryan (79406)
          Those are excellent survival traits.

          Funny that, even in the book, that didn't prove to be the case. And in our real world we live in every day, those traits have proven highly detrimental -- in many ways, I'm not saying universally -- in modern times. In the goddamn book itself those traits only served to spark conflict.

          Evolution does not care about your notions of morality.

          I don't really believe in morals. My criticism has fuck all to do with morals.

          If you don't like having your preconceptions challenge
      • by psybre (921148)
        Yes. I believe you would find some worth in reading Queen of Angels.
        Mark Irons [rdrop.com] says it best.
        ~psybre
  • Nice add (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Timesprout (579035)
    nuff said
    • "Add"? Well, yes, in a way a Slashdot submission is an "add". Some wish that many of the Slashdot "adds" where actually "subtractions". It's a matter of taste.
  • Greg Bear from the Johnny and Greg morning show in Madison, WI. http://www.wjjo.com/morning.php3 [wjjo.com]

    -Rick
  • Moving Mars (Score:4, Interesting)

    by brother bloat (888898) <brother.bloat@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:44PM (#16847344) Homepage
    I actually just finished reading his book "Moving Mars," and it was excellent. I'll definitely check out other books by him in the future. I felt that some of his ideas on (science fictional) theoretical physics (for those who have read the book, I'm talking about Bell Contiuum Theory) reminded me a lot of the faster-than-light travel ideas in the later books of Card's Ender's Game series (Xenocide and Children of the Mind). For those of you who haven't tried his books yet, Robert Sawyer is also an excellent author with a similar style.
    • by dpilot (134227)
      He mentions it in the interview - read "Anvil of Stars" for some very "Moving Mars"-like concepts. "Slant" is kind of nifty on the nanotech side, too. ("Anvil of Stars" is the sequel to "The Forge of God".)

      Never heard of Robert Sawyer, have to look. Or for some fiction based on non-zero vacuum energy states, try "Schilde's Ladder" by Greg Egan.
      • Thanks for the suggestions. I'm always on the lookout for good science fiction books. I tend to tear through all the books I can find by an author I really like, and then I move on to the next "victim." Some good Robert Sawyer books to start with: If you're into AI, philosophy of mind, neuroscience, or related stuff: Mindscan, Terminal Experiment Philosophy or scifi in general: Calculating God, Frameshift, Flashforward Parallel Universes: Hominids series (Hominids, Humans, Hybrids)
        • Ah, sorry, I meant to select "plain text". Here's what I meant to post:

          Thanks for the suggestions. I'm always on the lookout for good science fiction books. I tend to tear through all the books I can find by an author I really like, and then I move on to the next "victim."

          Some good Robert Sawyer books to start with:

          If you're into AI, philosophy of mind, neuroscience, or related stuff: Mindscan, Terminal Experiment
          Philosophy or scifi in general: Calculating God, Frameshift, Flashforward
          Parallel Universes: H
          • by mvdwege (243851)

            Unfortunately, Sawyer's Hominids series suffers from heavy-handed moralising, cardboard characters and railroad plotting. About the only book worth reading is the first, the other two are extremely disappointing.

            Which is a shame, because I like his other work. I don't know what went wrong in the Hominids series.

            Mart
            • by jovlinger (55075)
              Must be something about writing about primates. Baxter did the same thing with his origins series: when he started writing about gorillas and neanderthals, he went from a momentary hiccup in form to unbearable. I've vowed to not buy another of his books until he sends me a check to cover the last installement in that series (hardcover, no less).
    • by Fweeky (41046)
      Try Queen of Angels and Slant ("/"); both part of the same series as Moving Mars, though set a fair bit earlier.
    • by gnalre (323830)
      Yep, when he writes about physics he's very good. However I do worry when he writes about producing stable societies via psychological monitoring and manipulation(Therapied?). It smacks a bit of eugenics. In fact one of the most interesing threads of "Moving Mars" is the paranoia between the "Therapied" Earth and the the still wild and anarchic Mars.

      • by Decaff (42676)
        Yep, when he writes about physics he's very good. However I do worry when he writes about producing stable societies via psychological monitoring and manipulation(Therapied?). It smacks a bit of eugenics. In fact one of the most interesing threads of "Moving Mars" is the paranoia between the "Therapied" Earth and the the still wild and anarchic Mars.

        Why the worry? He seems clearly on the side of the wild anarchists!
    • by lobotomir (882610)
      "Moving Mars" is something of a sequel to another of Greg Bears' book -- "Heads," which I enjoyed more. It tells the story of the first experiments with the technology that later, well, moved Mars. And it all takes place on the Moon, before it becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Earth. "Moving Mars" is about the distrust of stable societies towards looser social organization; "Heads" is about the hypocrisy of organized (modern) religion.
  • Objection - what does it mean "Atlanta-based" whe you are talking about online magazine? Authors, editors, ISP provider?
  • More theories on the scab coral, I'll warrant. I'm waiting for it in this month's ray=out.
  • I didn't even really read the summary, but I got the word Bear, and was reminded of the reality series Billionaire vs Bear [www.uloc.de]
  • by srcosmo (73503)
    I read his Infinity Concerto and found it extremely dull, overly metaphysical, and hard to finish. Strange considering that another novel of his, Legacy [amazon.com] , was totally engrossing, and is among my favourite science fiction books ever.
    • Songs of Earth and Power is one of my favorite fantasies, the first even. Only Tad Williams even comes close. Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East would be the distant third.
  • ...I don't need to read any more of his crap to know he's one of the worst published sci-fi authors ever.
    • Of anyone still writing, he's one of the best. I'd put him up there with James Hogan.
  • When I read Century Rain by Alistair Reynolds, I just could'nt get it out of my head what a great film it would make. It would be a bit like the Matrix admittedly, but with a alternative history France(One which did not lose the 2nd world war and was a far-right as the defeated Nazi state).

    Unfortunately with Hollywoods tendency only to follow trends it is probably to late since it would be two Matrix like, but I would love to see it if it was done well(Mr Cameron are you listening?).
    • by jovlinger (55075)
      Century rain is indeed one of the better books I've found rencently.

      highly recommended.

      I also like the recent stuff from Jack McDevitt. I think omega was one which I read most recently.
  • I didn't know he was Poul Anderson's son-in-law. I remember when Eon came out; I and all the SF readers I knew were asking how the hell such crap got a publisher. Now I know.

    TWW

    • Interesting: I remember when Eon came out; I and all the SF readers I knew were asking how the hell such crap got a publisher.
      I always found Eon on of the best SF novels ever ... hopefully only a matter of taste ;D

      angel'o'sphere
  • Or rather, a reconstruction of the conversations Greg Bear had with Gregory Benford and David Bryn (the three Killer B's), while sorting out the corner Isaac Asimov painted himself into with the latter Foundation books, specifically Foundation And Earth.

    I picture these three guys getting together over dinner and drinks, every week for months, just shooting ideas back and forth, mapping out the panoramic scenario of their grand finale trilogy for the Foundation saga.

    Bear's contribution to the trilogy, Founda
  • From the interview with Alastair Reynolds:
    "If Alastair Reynolds ends up pairing the good Doctor with Sky's rabid porpoise, somebody had better watch out!"

    A sobering thought, indeed.
  • What a wonderful book.

    Thanks.
  • For a second when I read this article I thought of Greg Egan and Fredrick Pohl, and had a brief hope that someone was finally appreciating serious science fiction here for a change and not just the standard pulp crap that's usually talked about on /.

    Then I realized my mistake.

    -Eric

  • How does it differ from an "interview"?
  • If you want to be taken seriously as an interviewer, make sure to spellcheck. "Lose" is spelled "loose" at least twice. Why put all the work into making the website look professional if you're not going to bother with the basics?

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner

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