(Illustration by Nate Van Dyke for Wired)
If you read science fiction, you’ll already know who Neal Stephenson is. For those that don’t, suffice it to say that the author of Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, and a considerable fortune of other gems is ranked #1 on Amazon Science Fiction and #74 overall for his new book, Anathem. In my slightly biased opinion, he should be higher. And not just because he counts creating medieval armor among his hobbies.
For those in Austin: he’s here on a tour promoting Anathem, Thursday 7pm at Bookpeople. For everybody else, you’ve got really short notice to send me any questions you’d like me to ask. Assuming it remains in one piece, I’ll be giving Neal a ride to the book signing in my pedicab and interviewing him on the way.
10 thoughts on “Call For Questions: Neal Stephenson”
Anathem raises the new question for me: Are human beings evolved to only think short-term, or is civilization warping us? You would think that if nature is about wanting to preserve your bloodline, ensuring the world is habitable in 100 years is a pretty reasonable evolutionary imperative, no?
Where does he find his inspiration? Is it from current events, history, etc? Does he actively seek out his inspiration or does he use what he finds in everyday life?
Oh, and what’s his favorite kind of cookie?
First let me say I’ve been a devoted reader since Snow Crash. Loved the Diamond Age also, as well as the Cryptonomicon and the Confusion series. Having said that, do you do all of your own historical/technical research or do you solicit help? If the latter, is it formal study or more like “gosh I heard this/have an anecdotal fact let me drill down on it?”
Also, I take it that you consider yourself a Maker? If so, what’s your favorite creation outside of your books?
Finally–do you cook at all? Thanks! –Jenonymous
I’ll throw out a couple of possibles.
How deeply did you imagine the culture of Arbre? For example, there aren’t texts for the Hylaean Anathem in the book. Did you conceptualize more than you wrote down about music, language, architecture, etc.? And yes, I am wondering how much more development Jeremy will do on the Orth grammar.
If you weren’t an author/technician, what do you think you would be doing with your life? Is there something you wanted to be when you were growing up that you later changed your mind about?
FYI> Neal gave a great talk at google:
Lots of good Q&A too.
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