BEING LITERALLY BORN INTO THE GENRE
Throughout your career, you and your writings have been associated with the relationship between the human mind and technology; what is the genesis of that relationship from your perspective?
Damned if I know.
Okay, seriously: I think it dates from the time I was a cyborg. No, seriously: I had a congenital heart defect corrected when I was five, and when I woke up after surgery, I had a tube in my chest connecting me to some kind of giant (to me) machine. I remember that it was sort of noisy, which is probably why I like to fall asleep listening to traffic noise.
Actually, I think I was always interested in technology of all kinds. I was curious, fascinated by some things like TV and radio—i.e., mass media—and not that interested in other things—e.g., cars, learning to drive. I’m of the US baby boomer generation, the first generation to grow up with mass media. I watched coverage of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War on TV; I saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon live. I could see that people made technology and then technology changed society. To me, that was fascinating.
Mindplayers comes out in 1987. What was the feeling of publishing/accomplishment for you at that point, considering the journey of selling your first story in 1980?
Well, it was pretty gratifying! In fact, I had been trying to sell a different novel to Shawna McCarthy, who was an editor at Bantam Spectra at the time. She said she didn’t like it but she really liked the series of stories I had been writing about Deadpan Allie and she wanted to talk about combining those into a novel. So I went to New York and we looked at the stories together and developed a loose outline, and I added some things as I went along. When I sent her the final draft, she told me she thought there was something missing, so we talked about that for a while. I added some material and then we both decided we were happy with it.
That was a great experience. Shawna was a terrific editor.
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