I’ve been meaning to post about the Dan Simmons signing last Tuesday, but it’s been a busy week.
I hadn’t seen Simmons since he came through to sign at Adventures in Crime and Space for (IIRC) The Crook Factory. At the time I did an interview with him for Nova Express, except that I cleverly left the mini-cassette recorder in voice-activated mode, which meant what did get recorded was fragmentary and essentially useless, and Simmons couldn’t fill in the gaps because he was hospitalized for a while. One of the Great Lost Nova Express Interviews.
The BookPeople signing was reasonably well-attended, with about 35-40 people there (less than for Neal Stephenson or Michael Chabon, but more than for Jonathan Carroll). Fred Duarte and Derek Johnson were the only attendees I recognized.
Simmons read from his new book Black Hills, which features an Indian absorbing the ghost of the newly-slain Custer at the Little Bighorn, and later working on Mt. Rushmore. He said one of the reasons he wrote it because he wanted to explore the Genius Loci of a singe place.
Various bits from the QA session after the reading, quoted from memory and therefore no doubt horribly inaccurate:
- On jumping between viewpoint characters: “I don’t like to run down the work of other writers, but I read a book whose title rhymes with The Bablinchi Toad, and the viewpoint jumps around horribly to every single character, even minor ones! A messenger enters the scene, and the writer even jumps into his head!”
- He spent two weeks researching which way the World’s Fair carousel wheel rotated to write a scene, only to have one of his blog readers uncover engineering design schematics that showed it rotated both ways.
- His next book will be a dystopian novel called Flashback, set in a future where everyone’s prediction of America going to hell (“left-wing and right-wing”) come true, featuring a drug that let’s people relive any portion of their lives for a rate of $1 for 1 minute. He said it will be SF, but not marketed as SF, so as to reach the widest possible audience.