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Trivia: Who are the business people?
james_nicoll
This came up in this discussion on rec.arts.sf.written about a plot development one doesn't see in SF [1]. During the course discussing why that particular idea is never used, John Schilling asked "Are there any presently active SF writers who have experience running a small business or corporation?"

I knew of Lawrence Watt-Evans and Fred Pohl. Pohl's SF in particular worries about who pays for all the cool toys (MINING THE OORT is informed by a market adjustment) and of course Watt-Evans doesn't write (much) SF anymore, for perfectly rational capitalist reasons. Schilling mentioned that Heinlein was involved in a silver mine.

I think it's an interesting question, particularly if we exclude experience in publishing, which presumably a lot of writers would have [2]. Anyone have other names to add to Pohl and Watt-Evans?


1: I expect that if any of the many obvious alternatives to conventional fossil fuels replace fossil fuels, there will be a lot of bitterly disappointed people out there, denied their apocalypse once more.

2: Judging by some of the outraged "My publisher's self interest diverged from mine and the bastards decided to put their own interests first!" open letters circulating a few years ago from authors, there are writers who don't study the business that they are in.

If you're looking for hard SF you need to get your hands on "Blindsight" by Peter Watts (now available from all good David G. Hartwells in return for a cover blurb) and devour it. Might help to read up on the current state of cognitive science and brain lesions first, though.

Imagine a neurobiology-obsessed version of Greg Egan writing a first contact with aliens story from the point of view of a zombie posthuman crewman aboard a starship captained by a vampire, with not dying as the boobie prize.

He's playing badminton with a howitzer and the net up, and it gave me nightmares.

Peter Watts is very talented but I have to be in the right mood for his worldview. He makes HP Lovecraft's attempts at bleak and depressing look like an Anne McCaffrey romance.


Thank you for the warning. In that case,I will read Mr. Watts only when I wish to reaffirm my decision to open my wrists with a greatsword.

Re: Niven
robertprior
2006-01-31 07:30 pm UTC (link)
Comment Posted Successfully
Oh, don't worry. You'll be too depressed for any wrist-slitting. :-/

What I find interesting is that the man is actually an optimist -- without rose-coloured glasses, though.

He's also really good at following ideas where they lead, without trying to twist consequences to be more 'nice', but also without being nasty for the sake of shocking readers.

I'd suggest starting with "Ten Monkeys, Ten Minutes" -- a short story collection.

Re: Niven

(Anonymous)

2006-02-01 06:28 am (UTC)

I've got Blindsight sitting on my computer but am too damn busy to read it, but Charlie's bumpf has pretty much pushed me over the edge. I'll have to set some things aside to finally get to it. Peter and I have a short story in Gardner's upcoming YBSF, by the way. Perhaps a shorter dose coupled with my sunny view of the universe will be more palatable.

Derryl Murphy

Who said that Watts is what you read if your will to live gets too strong?

Watts, was: Re: Niven

pyropyga

2006-01-31 06:07 pm (UTC)

Alas, the merely mortal amongst us will be waiting until OCTOBER for this. OCTOBER! I mean, there are only so many times one can run through the vampire domestication lecture before one becomes a depressed sociopath...

(As I was checking Amazon for Blindsight I noticed the cover is up for Glasshouse. Nice.)

Re: Watts, was: Re: Niven

razorsmile

2006-02-12 09:28 pm (UTC)

Heh. Mortal.

Re: Watts, was: Re: Niven

razorsmile

2006-02-24 03:15 am (UTC)

Curiously enough, Blindsight _is_ up on Amazon.ca

I assume that's Canada.