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Friday, April 16, 2010
11:37 AM
Via my wonderful editor, Susan Allison, from a New York Magazine piece on David Simon:

"Fuck the exposition," he says gleefully, as we go back into the bar. "Just *be*. The exposition can come later." He describes a theory of television narrative. "If I can make you curious enough, there's this thing called Google. If you're curious about the New Orleans Indians, or 'second-line' musicians--you can look it up." The Internet, he suggests, can provide its own creative freedom, releasing writers from having to overexplain, allowing history to light the charaqcters from within

Sunday, April 11, 2010
8:17 PM
Feels to me like a full cycle of Q&A. Very enjoyable, for me, but I'll take Anabel's thanks as the closer, now. You're all welcome, and thank you for turning up.

8:02 AM
From Cederic:
Q Lets trivialise.
A You go first!

Q You obsess in your books about the desired objects of days past, contemporarily still desirable with the added patina of rarity.
- What's your favourite old world treasure?
A I'm more a wunderkammer guy than a big masterpiece guy. I'm with Manny Farber's termites, that way. Sir John Soane's house is probably my favorite London museum.

Q - Which watch do you wear?
A Today, an 80s Vostok, a Soviet watch. It has a certain pleasant melancholy about it.

Q - Do you seek current objects of desire: iPhone or Android?
A Not so much. I've never been an early adaptor. It's getting to the point, though, where I actually need to get something along iPhone lines. But that would be upgrading from a Nokia flip (chosen because it had very good reception, four years ago).

Q - On more philosophical and complicated themes. You are an artist, a creator, but more: you are through your writing an influencer, a shaper of technology, of society itself. Does that scare you?
A I don't actually buy that, the mighty thunderer and shaper of technology thing. I think I'm more of an interpreter of technologies, an amateur anthropologist. I'm a sort of Victorian weekend naturalist of technology, who somehow found a way to make a living doing that (and a bunch of other things at the same time).

7:37 AM
Q How much steeping do you do in your locations while writing? Hotels, cities, transportation options?
A Where I happen to have gone tends to produce the locations. For Pattern Recognition. I went back to Tokyo to upgrade my 80s/90s version. Hadn't been to Moscow at all. Filtered that through writer friends who had (Eileen Gunn, Jack Womack). I do virtual steeping, though. Google Earth Street View is a spooky thing, that way.

Q Do you visualize some locations from first-hand experience or do you take notes to refresh your memory while re/experiencing them again?
A I have no way of knowing what'll reemerge from the hopper as a novel-unit, so no reason to take notes. Everything goes into the hopper. Relatively few things come out of it.

Q Does this research get expensive for you? Is there a way for you to be compensated for this type of research?
A I spend almost nothing on research. A Wired article took me to Tokyo, when I was writing Pattern Recognition. I used to buy lots of magazines. Magazines are novelty-aggregators. But the Web's taken that function over, and is free.

Q Do you find that "going there" actually helps you write?
A Having been *somewhere* helps me to write. Having a hopper full of "place" is a good thing, but that's a lifetime accumulation. And there's a certain amount of composting that goes on, in the hopper. It's not journalism, not reportage.

7:25 AM
From Bravus:
Q In general, do you think the barriers (filters?) to publication for new authors of fiction are working well? (Are they letting the good stuff through, or do you think there are lots of people who have surmounted the barrier of writing and written good stuff but fail to surmount the publishing barriers?)
A I'm not postioned to know. Not sure who would be. Someone who has some overview of what's happening?

Q And, related, how do you see technology helping and harming with this? Charles Stross has written some interesting blog posts on the economics of a writing career in the days of Amazon, for example, that were quite doomy...
A I read that Stross. The thing to remember is that a look at the actual economics of the thing, that way, would always have been doomy for the unpublished. Most of whom have no idea. Not that I don't think Stross is accurate. I do, but there's a way in which it's not a new scary story. New installment of the old scary story.

Saturday, April 10, 2010
10:40 PM
Q What question would Lithos ask you, if he were one of your characters?

A "How is this possible?" And I would explain the Internet, etc.

2:27 PM
From Bictaker:
Q I'm picking up on a thread that seems to pervade several of your previous responses, in so much as your writing gift comes at a heavy price. It's almost a suffering ...something you can't and wouldn't want to live without, yet a beast that requires a great deal of time and effort to harness? A living hell for the duration of the work, no?

A Yikes! I must've sounded awfully whiny. Nothing quite as dramatic as that. Every job has its costs, some of which aren't so evident to people who haven't done it. But my intention was more to convey, to people who might want to write fiction, that the process they arrive at may not quite line up with our cultural paradigm of what writing fiction is, and that the blisters may form in places other than expected. When I started trying to write fiction, I read writers-on-writing collections, and very little of that, in retrospect, sounded much like what I've wound up having to do to make it happen.

When Bruce Sterling and I were writing The Difference Engine, I'd moan sometimes about the labor required (as much fun as that was, and often it was lots of fun, but I'm basically lazy). He always had the same response: "Yeah, but it beats loading concrete blocks." Which is so obviously true, and has since become a mantra of mine.

I don't always like writing, but I very much like having written.

9:06 AM
From Anabel:
Q There's a highly successful writer who lived in my town, who ran a writers workshop where he said he used real people for some of his characters. Have you used real people to springboard some characters in your work? Was it dicey to do so?

A I'd assume we (writers) all must do that some extent, but for me that all goes through some process of unconscious randomization. When my characters arrive, I don't know who they are, let alone who might have contributed DNA. There are exceptions, but usually only with characters who are more broadly parodic of particular attitudes.

I had no idea who Cayce was, why she felt that way on waking, whose flat it was, why London. For months. I was inhabiting a very partial construct, waiting to see what attached itself. Waiting to find a center of gravity.

Friday, April 09, 2010
10:49 PM
From Bictaker
Q How much quicker do you think you would complete Zero History in a world without Twitter?

A Not faster, just differently. Twitter, or the Internet at large, feels to me like an automation of what I have to do, anyway, in order to write: Stare out window. Read a magazine. Gaze at shoe. Answer a letter. Think about something new (or newly). *Access random novelty.*

The writing worth keeping happens within a matrix of mysterious but crucially related activities. I might order myself to write for X number of hours per day (though in fact I never do) but the writing worth keeping can't be ordered to happen at all, let alone for X number of hours per day. It has to be teased out. Fed.

Q Do publishers place pressure on authors for X number of hours output per day, or are there just agreed, albeit flexible, deadlines?
A We do it from our homes, and we refuse to let them in, no matter how many times they knock. There's a contract, and a deadline for delivery of the completed manuscript. That's actually a really scary deal: a contract, and a deadline, and nobody there in the morning to tell you to get to work. Or to start gazing at your shoe.

Q I guess there's less pressure on established writers, whereas newbies are pushed harder? Time management: do you place yourself under a strict regime?

A The arrangement forces you to manage your own time. In the old days, in Hollywood, screenwriters in studio employ were contractually obligated to turn in a specific number of pages per day. There is nothing like that in the world of professional fiction-writing, and if there were, we wouldn't be having this conversation, because I'd never have been published.

I have to force myself to turn up every day, in case the writing also decides to. Often, it doesn't choose to. There is more of that at the start of a book than later, mercifully. The book builds its own momentum, though each one has a different momentum. That momentum is what calls the shots, imposes the regimen.

The part of me that's writing this, now, is utterly incapable of writing a novel. The part of me that just wrote a novel is profoundly unavailable, right now, and will remain so until the next time I have to go out and walk for miles, whistling for it, convinced its finally run away for good and all.

People don't ordinarily meet the part of me that writes novels, and when they do, they must assume I'm not not doing very well. Which as a human being, right then, I'm not. In direct proportion to how well I might be doing, right then, as a novelist.

Thursday, April 08, 2010
10:49 PM
From Sentinel400:
Q Have you ever wanted to wear a uniform?

A When was I last out of one? The extent to which we are are all of us usually in uniform brings to mind Eno's definition of culture: everything we do that we don't really need to. Pajama bottoms beneath a raincoat? Out of uniform. Jeans with one leg cut off? Out of uniform. Contracultural apparel disturbs us. Countercultures are intensely cultural. Bohemias have dress codes as rigid as those of merchant banks. We all read uniforms, constantly, whether we're aware of it or not.

My favorite science fiction film wardrobe is worn by David Bowie's alien, in The Man Who Fell To Earth. He turns up for his first terrestrial business meeting wearing a brand new $1.99 Chinese flannel workshirt, buttoned at the neck, its printed plaid fabric about half an inch thick, under a shiny, sleazy, striped business suit. The sense of the character's inability to read or articulate our cultural codes is perfect, and heartbreaking.

7:35 PM
From Martin:
Q Do you think any influence from "The Wire" has leaked into your (this) writing? Would you necessarily aware of it, if it had?

A I first watched The Wire when I was writing Spook Country, because my friend Steve Brown told me that one of the seasons had the best stuff about shipping containers he'd seen anywhere, in any medium. But what I really got from that was a sense of the physicality of the containers: that the walls are actually quite thin, things like that.

But that's material. "Influence" is something else. Influence is more like weather, when you've been writing for a while. It blows in from somewhere. You can't say exactly where weather *is*, but you can say that it's present.

7:09 PM
From Colin:
Q Seething, termite-like revising seems well suited to word processors, but how did it work out on that famous typewriter?

A Really, really *slowly*. Thick scabs of correction fluid. Then I discovered those rolls of self-adhesive white paper tape, that restaurants used to use to correct (this is amazing in itself, to me) the *typewritten* (or maybe mimeographed) parts of their menus. So I'd stick that over a whole sentence or three, a whole para, then type over it. But then the termites would seethe again, and I'd have to paint the white fluid over the *tape*, which didn't really work that well... The pages of the Neuromancer manuscript were *3D*, topographical...

Then Bruce Sterling's father gave him an Apple II. I guess he'd moved up to the first Mac. So there's Bruce on the phone from Austin: "This is *serious*, man. This thing *automates* the process." So I went down to Eaton's and bought a IIC and a dot-matrix printer, marked way down because the new Mac was the thing. So I never got the Selectric that had been the pro writer's awesomest tool when I'd started trying to write. I saw one of those for $29.95 in a charity shop, last year.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010
7:39 PM
From Bravus:
Q In general, do you think the barriers (filters?) to publication for new authors of fiction are working well? (Are they letting the good stuff through, or do you think there are lots of people who have surmounted the barrier of writing and written good stuff but fail to surmount the publishing barriers?)

A I have no way of knowing, really. What your question reminds me of, though, is my having asked a couple of my literature profs at UBC, in the 70s, whether they thought there were important works of fiction that we didn't yet know of. This was greeted with a sort of amazed disgust. Of course there weren't. (Neither they nor I had ever heard of Cormac McCarthy, then, and he'd been published for over a decade.)

Q And, related, how do you see technology helping and harming with this? Charles Stross has written some interesting blog posts on the economics of a writing career in the days of Amazon, for example, that were quite doomy...
A The economics for the majority of writers, in my lifetime, have never been good at all. I suspect I imagined that the science fiction writers I read in the 60s were all doing rather well. Most of them, actually, were just scraping by, and moonlighting at other things. That was why, I'd guess, many of them seemed to write more often than was good for their writing.

4:38 PM
From Twilite Minotaur:
Q You mentioned spending a year on that one sentence. I notice myself getting tar babied into a sort of perfectionist love-hate with my own sentences (and lyrics), and then find myself paying mental alimony to a work throughout the day, swapping and rearranging bits, more like a jigsaw puzzle engineer than an 'artist' with nouns and verbs fountaining eternal from some Creativity Cortex. Paul Valery's aphorism, that,"an artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it," comes to mind. Was there some point or process for you of learning the art of abandonment, to switch off the inner micromanager, at an appropriate time so as to allow sufficient rumination to be spent on a work, but without becoming lost in it?

A If an innumerate like myself can be allowed to say this, there's a feeling of equation, at the end. There's a *click*. When you hear the click, immediately down tools and exit the structure. Don't go back in until your mind's quit overclocking and you can afford some perspective. Chance's are, that *was* the click.

Q Also, if you had to live in a city other than Vancouver, what would it be and why?
A Berlin. For all the ways it disproves our ideas of psychogeography and haunting.

1:22 PM
From Dawntreader :
Q Why do you seem obsessed with brand name apparel et al in Pattern Recognition and Spook Country?
A You ain't seen nothing, yet! Actually the new one may explain that, a bit. Or just further convince some people that I'm obsessed. It's one of the ways in which I feel I understand how the world works, and there aren't really that many of those. It's not about clothes, though, or branding; it's about code, subtext. I was really delighted, for instance, to learn who made George Bush's raincoats. A company in Little Rock (now extinct, alas) but they were made of Ventile, a British cotton so tightly woven that you can make fire hoses (and RAF ocean survival suits) out of it. Which exists because Churchill demanded it, because the Germans had all the flax production sewn up. No flax, no fire hoses for the Blitz. The cultural complexities that put that particular material on Bush's back delight me deeply; it's a kind of secret history (and not least because most people would find it fantastically boring, I imagine).

1:09 PM
From: theminx
Q. I am always inordinately pleased when I find out that someone whose work I admire is also a fan of someone else I admire. Some artists I like (such as Douglas Coupland and Kim Gordon) are also William Gibson fans/appreciators. Whose appreciation of your work tickles or humbles you the most?
A. Enthusiastic celebrity readers make me bashful. I actually have a hard time believing them, if that makes any sense. "You *do*? Golly!" Works better for me with random strangers who I'd imagine have any number of better things to do than read me.

10:52 AM
From Bictaker:
Q How long did it take you before you finally gained confidence to put pen to paper [i.e. attempt to write fiction] and what, if any, was your original inspiration to commit yourself?

A There was never any pen. It's all been typed. I didn't begin to experiment with writing fiction until 1976 or so (I'm not sure, really) and I was extremely secretive about commitment. Secretive about the whole thing, really. I don't know why I started doing it, or why my commitment to it, when it came, as deeply private as it was, startled me with its depth. The whole thing was deeper than I have access to. And remains so.

The first first fiction I ever wrote was this sentence: "Seated in the darkened screening room, Hollingsworth came to understand the targeted numerals of the Academy leader as hypnagogic sigils preceding the dreamstate of film." Except that it wasn't "Hollingsworth"; something more, er, Ballardian! This is a perfect clinical example of the new writer having failed to even begin to digest an influence, and I could never making it go any further, though I did know that the next image was of a fountain, in the courtyard of an academic research building, into which people had been tossing expensive Swiss watches rather than coins.

I think I worked on that sentence for a year or more. Long enough to never have forgotten it. I think I may have eventually decided that I should regard it as complete in itself.

8:12 AM
From Martin:
Q What aspect of ZH are you most eager to talk about (that hasn't been mentioned yet) ?
A Actually I'm not that eager to talk about it. There's a gap, between completion and issuance of ARCs, during which I don't have to, and then I will have to, daily, for months. That's a function of the industry's needs, not mine. It feels slightly unseemly to me, to talk about my own work at any length.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010
7:27 PM
From Digitalprimate:
Q What would you suggest as listening while reading Zero History?
A Not owls. Not the gentle lowing of cattle at dusk. Not dried corn rattling into a galvanized bucket.

11:39 AM
From Buell:
Q More Bigend; is Hubertus your writer-self's alter ego?
A He seems to me like a sort of clay-footed demigod, the manifestation of something in our species that's unique to us (here, anyway, as far as we know) in ways both very good and very bad.

Q I'm under the impression that to take up the excruciating task of writing a novel requires Bigend-like megalomania.
A All sorts of things can warrant the taking up of the task, and do, but relatively few of the novels taken up, species-wide, are completed. A signed contract is a huge help on either end. And I don't mean that it's about money. Rather that there's a structure imposed, a commitment made, a timeline established.

There isn't anything that I think I know that would, in itself, warrant the writing of a novel.

9:53 AM
From Fuldog:
Q Creator's block. If ever: how long, when/why it happened; or how was it avoided, palliated?
A "Creator's block" sounds like something afflicting a divinity, but writer's block is my default setting. Its opposite is miraculous. The process of learning to write fiction, for me, was one of learning to almost continually be doing it *through* the block, in spite of the block, the block becoming the accustomed place from which to work. Our traditional cultural models of creativity tend to involve the wrong sort of heroism, for me. "It sprang whole and perfect from my brow" as opposed to "I saw it mispelled, in mauve Krylon, on the side of a dumpster, and it haunted me". I was much encouraged, when I began to write, by Manny Farber's idea of "termite art".

Q During the journey from the Sprawl to the Bridge to Bigend's, ever thought about changing profession, something radical?
A Never seriously. Probably because doing this, for whatever reason, has to be more an avocation than a career. I like designers, of various things. More than "fine artists", generally.

Monday, April 05, 2010
6:47 PM
From Bictaker:
Q If you had a chance to meet the author of your favorite book, who would it be and what would you ask them?
A Jorge Luis Borges. "How is this possible?"

Though I don't have a favorite book by Borges, or even a favorite book. It's unlikely that meeting a writer of fiction will get me any closer to the writer's work, in my experience. The opposite effect is sometimes noted. Writers of fiction, as I understand them, are writers because they can get closer to you *as marks on paper* than they can any other way. They cannot sit and tell you. If they could tell you, then why would they write? They cannot explain. They do not know, that way. They know transiently, at best, in the act of marking paper.

Sunday, April 04, 2010
7:53 PM
From Mean Old Man:
Q Essays. You're really, really good at those. I read a few of yours a while ago, and was lastingly impressed; Tokyo, watches, one about U2... How do those happen? Does Editor X in Gumbyville slap his forehead and cry, "Navel lint! William Gibson! It's a perfect fit! It'll fill an Entire! Page!! Miss Pertbottom, get New York on the line! What? I don't care if he's in Canada! GET NEW YORK ON THE LINE!", or is it more of an old school sub-rosa web ring kind of thing?

A Thank you. It was my first literary form. It was probably your first too. It can happen a number of ways. Ones that involve really expensive free plane tickets (Singapore, Tokyo, say). Ones that involve being asked to consider things I'm peculiarly interested in at the time (the eBay watch one). Ones where I feel honored to have been asked (the centenary of Orwell's birth) though in some cases I've declined out of feeling unworthy. (I declined to write an obituary for Wm. S. Burroughs, but mainly because he was still alive at the time, and believed in magic.) It's not an activity I actively seek out, much, and if asked (and I'm not asked, that often) I more often decline.

Q And who do you consider to be superior essayists, living or dead, worth reading?
A Orwell comes to mind, of course, but those are classic formal essays. The various parts of something like Iain Sinclair's Lights Out For The Territory *behave* in some ways like essays, and are brilliant, but do various un-essaylike things as well.

Saturday, April 03, 2010
3:52 PM
From Fashionpolioce:
Q Having written three trilogies, and approaching the age where some people choose to retire, do you think you'll keep writing into a ripe old age?
A There's evidence that some people are actually better at writing novels, over fifty. And it doesn't feel like a job, exactly. More like an ongoing experiment of some kind.

Q Or have you thought about doing something entirely different - like learning to sew?
A Or knit! Etsy beckons...

Friday, April 02, 2010
11:59 PM
From Anabel :
Q How has being a father affected you? In the beginning and over the years?
A In the beginning, it allowed me to write. My wife worked, teaching ESL at UBC, and I was househusband, daytime single parent, and novelist. Not easy, but a surprisingly good fit in many ways.

Q Can you speak about the delights of getting to know your kids as they mature, without alienating your kids in public?
A I wouldn't want to. As parent, it would feel insufficiently respectful, and as writer, potentially cheesy.

From Colin:
Q So, about that terrifying process again. You have four or five people reading your daily output. Do you plow through the draft from beginning to end, or do these poor (and/or extremely lucky) souls have to read things out of order or the same page six times as you revise it?
A I show them the chapters as I write them, and I write them sequentially. If I don't get it right on the first try, I redo it and send it again. As I go along I revise the whole thing continually, piecemeal, but I don't update them on that. Finally I send them the manuscript. So they read it initially as a serial, every few days. I don't really do drafts, more a constant termite-like seething. I actually enjoy that aspect of the process. I feel like they're badly written but handsomely revised. Revision is largely stress-free. And they are, initially, in my opinion, not that well written. And while I know that they don't have to be, at that point, it still pains me.

Q Do you give them the first first draft of the pages, or the first draft after you've decided you're either not embarrassed or not going to worry about being embarrassed?
A I don't give them anything initially until I have what feels like a beginning. With Zero History, I think that was the first three chapters, which are longish, dense. That way, I feel like they know where we are. There's some kind of benchmark. Then we go on from there. Until recently, I could only have one outside first reader and my wife (and daughter, when she grew into it). Over the past decade or so, I've loosened up, found a greater degree of transparency, and I find that reduces the stress in some ways. For the past few months, writing daily, I found myself wondering what that would look like on a brain scan. I suspect there's some specific neurological activity, one that I can't necessarily produce at will. It's possible to get into a groove, though, and just do it, though at definite cost to everything else in one's life.

7:11 PM
Re an earlier question, I have in fact considered writing a Western. Protagonist's job is to see a shipment of high-tone Vancouver-refined opium from here to the finest divans of Manhattan. I don't know whether that ever happened, but it certainly could have. Digging in Strathcona back yards (particularly where outside toilets were located) still turns up the tiny, distinctive, branded, made-in-China bottles the local product was issued in. The last I saw for sale (the bottles) were in a fancy antique shop on South Granville, for about $100 each. Like mold-blown perfume bottles, a thin greenish glass. The late Victorian equivalent of plastic crack vials, I suppose, but prettier.

6:19 PM
From TwiliteMinotaur :
Q You have spoken previously about the ghostly cloud of hypertext in which your manuscripts are now shrouded, and the way that blogging morsels of your latest writing has helped to alleviate some of the solitude of the writing process.
A I sure have! And I've still got all of that going on, although until recently it's been mainly on Twitter. A platform Margaret Atwood and I find extremely agreeable (make of that what you will).
Q Are there any additional neological emergences to your works and/or writing process that you've noticed during Zero History?
A I am hoping that the phrase "the ugly t-shirt" (or simply "ugly t-shirt") will soon find its place in the jargon of security technology.

9:46 AM
from Gromit :
Q Why 'GreatDismal'?
A I had no idea what Twitter was, when a friend joined. GD happened to be in line of sight, so I used it for what I thought would be a ten-minute experience. I did live near the Great Dismal Swamp when I was five or six.

From Wanderer :
Q Why did you choose to make Bigend Belgian?
A His full name was a found object. A Belgian one. And Belgians have a certain reputation, deservedly or not, for (1) globalism, (2) startling outbreaks of interesting perversity.
Q And would he be Flemmish, Wallonian or from Brussels?
A No idea.
Q Also, is it intentional that neither his nor his mother's name is typically Belgian, though they sound like they could?
A No, but it seems to fit.

Fom LillyLyle :
Q I just read this article about a scientist by the name of Milgrim: Is this the origin of the character Milgrim's name?
A No. "Milgrim" is an old surname in the part of Virginia I grew up in. (So is "Wintermute", though exponentially less common.)

From Trogdor :
A You write from 10AM til whenever. Is research a separate activity?
Q I don't regard research as a separate activity. From anything. Everything is research. Relatively little great stuff turns up for me as a result of deliberately looking. Life is crowd-sourcing. In a good way.
A The reason I ask is that research tends to wander off into the weeds so easily, especially on the internets.
Q But they hide the good stuff *in the weeds*!

Thursday, April 01, 2010
10:40 PM
From Boogerhead :
Q Is there an actual person that inspired the Finn?
A No.

From ][mez][ :
Q Why novels?
A Make a living at home, writing fiction!

From digitalprimate :
Q What's the process like from a physical standpoint?
A Sedentary.
Q Where do you write? When? For how long?
A Most recently, in the library (which is really the dining room but who needs one?). 10AM til whenever, pretty much daily when it's happening.
Q What do you eat or drink while writing?
A Whatever's available.
Q Do you write in Word? With pen and paper?
A Word.
Q Do you read or avoid reading certain things while you write?
A I avoid reading most new fiction, while writing.

From the Hydra :
Q Why Ativan?
A Wanted my addict character to have no trace of literary drug romanticism. Which is difficult, but benzos proved perfect.

From Vesper :
Q Which literary world would you like to live in? (Doesn't have to be of your making)
A Not a fantasy I've ever had, actually.

Q What would you say if someone picked up some of the characters from Sprawl or Bridge trilogies and wrote a book(s) with them? (Not-for-profit ones, let's say some decent fan-fic e-books)
A Nothing. Mainly because I can't imagine being induced to read it. I don't even reread my own work, ordinarily.

Q A book that you wish you had written but someone else did?
A I don't understand the impulse. If someone else writes a book, I can't imagine writing it. My literary admiration never takes that form.

From Splitcoil :
Q What project have you considered seriously that your readers would probably find most surprising?
A A space opera, but in the style of Paul Scott's novel The Chinese Love Pavillion. I actually had a contract, but bailed on it, wrote Count Zero instead. Envisioned as early Delany meets Andrew Eldritch, sort of.

Q What do you think is the common thread (if there is one) between that project and your previous work?
A "Earth is the alien planet."
Q Why didn't you write it?
A First novel had better reception than I'd expected. Cyberstuff seam seemed promising. Contracted publisher had ugliest dustjackets in history of genre.