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Steven Hall Q&A Options
Steven Hall
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:18:04 AM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
Before the old unspace forum died a death, there was a good, long Q&A thread for people to ask me any questions they felt like asking. As that's sadly lost now, I thought it might be a good idea to start a new one in here.

Please feel free to ask whatever you like (within reason!) and I'll do my best to answer. I'm happy to talk about whatever you are. I might ask even ask myself a question or two...

S
heartbreak
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:45:05 PM
Rank: Unspace Science Committee
Groups: Shoal , Unspace Science Committee

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 230
:D Ok then. If you were to ask yourself a question what question would you ask? (Sorry, couldn't resist. :D )
Conceptually yours...
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:53:20 PM

Rank: Luxophage
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 124
Location: Glossop Manchester
Ok heres one, have you read the other books that were nominated for the Arthur C Clarke award? If so what did you think?, I thought about opening a discussion about this as I personally believe the award went to the wrong author (not sucking up) but did not want to get thrown out for bringing it up.



See in black and white, feel in slow motion....
Steven Hall
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:41:27 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
heartbreak wrote:
:D Ok then. If you were to ask yourself a question what question would you ask? (Sorry, couldn't resist. :D )


Heh. I guess I asked for that.

As I have just one question, it'd have to be something big - what do I think the 21st century novel be, something like that. That's a big question though and, although I have lots of thoughts on the subject, I'm not sure they're clear enough to set down as a whole yet.

In fact, the folks on these boards will very probably have opinions of their own on a question like that, so I think I'm going to set up a thread to discuss it in Flotsam and Jetsam. I know a lot of the members here are also members of Mark's forum over on the House of Leaved boards, so I'm guessing/hoping you all have some interesting opinions on what the novel should be and where it should be going.

I'll set that thread up now...

S










Steven Hall
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5:29:56 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
Conceptually yours... wrote:
Ok heres one, have you read the other books that were nominated for the Arthur C Clarke award? If so what did you think?, I thought about opening a discussion about this as I personally believe the award went to the wrong author (not sucking up) but did not want to get thrown out for bringing it up.



Hey CY,

Thanks very much, that's very kind of you.

I guess the short and slightly embarrassing answer to your question is - no. Partly because I really don't tend to read too much SF, especially hard SF, and partly because I find it quiet difficult to approach a book with the objectivity it deserves if I know that mine is being pitted against it in a competition. I'm always thinking: What if it's bad? What do I say to the author at the ceremony? And - even worse - what if it's really, really good...? ;)

Seriously though, it's hard for me to pick up a book and read as a reader rather than a writer. If something is good I want to make a note of it, if something is bad I want to grab a copy of TRST or whatever I'm working on to check I haven't made similar mistakes. The pleasure of the book itself seems to get lost somewhere in all that and competitions make getting past that 'work' aspect of reading even harder.

All that said though, I did/do plan to read Sarah Hall's book as I've heard lots of good things about it.
What do you think of the other entries? Good, bad? Any in particular I should check out?

S
heartbreak
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5:47:20 PM
Rank: Unspace Science Committee
Groups: Shoal , Unspace Science Committee

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 230
Both are great answers Steven. I'm really looking forward to the 21st Century thread moving along and seeing what people have to say. I posted up just some beginning thoughts. Should be fun.

For the second answer. I've often pondered how that works for writers. I've always heard, write what you know, and, don't read what you write. As in write what you know a lot about and don't read the kind of books that you write. Well the things I know a lot about are the things I like to read. I think for that reason I could never write fiction. I would want to write the kinds of books I read and if I did that, I would have to stop reading those kinds of books. I don't think I could ever make that sacrifice.
Steven Hall
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 6:07:51 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
heartbreak wrote:
Both are great answers Steven. I'm really looking forward to the 21st Century thread moving along and seeing what people have to say. I posted up just some beginning thoughts. Should be fun.

For the second answer. I've often pondered how that works for writers. I've always heard, write what you know, and, don't read what you write. As in write what you know a lot about and don't read the kind of books that you write. Well the things I know a lot about are the things I like to read. I think for that reason I could never write fiction. I would want to write the kinds of books I read and if I did that, I would have to stop reading those kinds of books. I don't think I could ever make that sacrifice.


Hey Heartbreak,

Well don't give up on your writing career yet - I've heard both those ideas before and i think they're both 100% crazy.

'Don't read what you write' sounds like complete madness to me, not to mention suicide for any writer who's serious about what they do. I'd say read EVERYTHING that's even remotely connected to how you write. The idea of the author producing some work of genius in complete isolation and without any inspiration from her peers/the world should be allowed to fade away now imo, it's always been a myth anyway, I reckon (maybe this is something the the 21st century novel thread).

As for 'write what you know' - Hemingway said that when you know something you should leave it out of the book altogether, because the fact that you know it is enough for some sense of the thing to find its way into the work naturally. When you think about those novels that make you feel like you're sitting through a lecture by the author rather than reading a great and immersive story, it's easy to feel that the guy had a point.

I'm enjoying this thread a lot, thanks folks :)

S
heartbreak
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 6:19:12 PM
Rank: Unspace Science Committee
Groups: Shoal , Unspace Science Committee

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 230
Thanks for the different outlook Steven. You make some very good points.
Conceptually yours...
Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7:51:15 PM

Rank: Luxophage
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 124
Location: Glossop Manchester
Quote:
Hey CY,

Thanks very much, that's very kind of you.

I guess the short and slightly embarrassing answer to your question is - no. Partly because I really don't tend to read too much SF, especially hard SF, and partly because I find it quiet difficult to approach a book with the objectivity it deserves if I know that mine is being pitted against it in a competition. I'm always thinking: What if it's bad? What do I say to the author at the ceremony? And - even worse - what if it's really, really good...? ;)

Seriously though, it's hard for me to pick up a book and read as a reader rather than a writer. If something is good I want to make a note of it, if something is bad I want to grab a copy of TRST or whatever I'm working on to check I haven't made similar mistakes. The pleasure of the book itself seems to get lost somewhere in all that and competitions make getting past that 'work' aspect of reading even harder.

All that said though, I did/do plan to read Sarah Hall's book as I've heard lots of good things about it.
What do you think of the other entries? Good, bad? Any in particular I should check out?

S


Well SF is one of my fave reading subjects so when I heard you were up for the award I decided to read all the others and compare for myself.
My personel opinion is as follows (short version as I had alot to say)

Black man - too descriptive had to force myself to pick it back up at times, great ideas, great lead character, pacing to slow.
Red men - great ideas again (love the idea of Dr Easy's) and the AI mind but felt it lost the plot early on.
H Bomb girl - (got some funny looks due to the pink cover) fun little read would recomend to anyone but not a serious contender me thinks.
Execution channel - Good ideas but did not like at all.
Carhullan army - again Great ideas, loved this book, as far as I was concerned a definate contender it left me wanting more.
The Raw Shark Texts - not sure about this one, may have to read a forth time, think the main character has problems... Lol
Seriously they got the wrong book.
This is just my opinion any other comments very welcome.

CY

See in black and white, feel in slow motion....
CpVb006
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:07:55 AM

Rank: Shoal
Groups: Shoal , Unspace Science Committee

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 139
Location: United States
Sort of a vanilla question in comparison to the others so far, but, is the Shadow Fragment (shown, and claimed to be missing on http://www.rawsharktexts.com/) actually missing? Or is there some way to access it that no one has yet discovered?
Steven Hall
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 1:27:56 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
Conceptually yours... wrote:

Carhullan army - again Great ideas, loved this book, as far as I was concerned a definate contender it left me wanting more.


That's good to know. I'll make sure I track a copy down.

S
Steven Hall
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 1:49:44 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
CpVb006 wrote:
Sort of a vanilla question in comparison to the others so far, but, is the Shadow Fragment (shown, and claimed to be missing on http://www.rawsharktexts.com/) actually missing? Or is there some way to access it that no one has yet discovered?


Hey Cp,

It isn't there.

rawsharktexts.com's days are numbered in its current incarnation. We've transported it across to the new server and left it up for now but there's nothing left there that you guys haven't already seen. To be very honest, I didn't have a great deal of input into the design of that site (apart from Doctor Randle's inkblot answers, that was me!) and though I thought it was very good and nicely done, it does need updating now. I'm very much looking forward to getting rawsharktexts.com mkII online and you folks getting to see it. Paul and I are putting a lot of our spare time and creative energies into it at the mo. As I've said before, the eventual aim is for there to be a comprehensive web of Steven Hall sites (including rawsharktexts.com) radiating out from steven-hall.org

It might take us a while, but we'll get there. And there will be things to do, let's just say that ;)


S

MiaVRO
Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 8:49:51 PM

Rank: Bede Shark
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 311
Location: Canada
Steven Hall,
Have you ever considered writing a children's book???
Steven Hall
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2009 6:03:18 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
MiaVRO wrote:
Steven Hall,
Have you ever considered writing a children's book???


Hi Mia,

I suppose I've thought about it, but never really in a serious way.
What makes you ask?

S
MiaVRO
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2009 8:21:33 PM

Rank: Bede Shark
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 311
Location: Canada
Just out of curiosity i guess.
I work at a book store, and was almost literally airlifted into the Kid's department (against my will or not). I work with kids books almost constantly, so i just decided to ask!
:)
Steven Hall
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009 12:56:57 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
MiaVRO wrote:
Just out of curiosity i guess.
I work at a book store, and was almost literally airlifted into the Kid's department (against my will or not). I work with kids books almost constantly, so i just decided to ask!
:)


Well, maybe there will be something by me in the kid's department one day, but I have a mountain of other things to write first -
I'm working on book 2 at the moment and book 3 is already under contract, so I'll be busy with those for a while :)

S
arcman564
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 3:04:39 AM

Rank: Fry
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 3/1/2009
Posts: 4
Location: Pacific NW
Hello Steven! Thanks for having this forum. I'm curious about a lot of the elements behind the creation of TRST, but some main curiosities are: anything in the "real" world that inspired any of the incredibly creative ideas in TRST, in any way? Also, given the amazing psychological concepts you've presented, do you have a background in psych studies at all? Such a great book! And, I'm not sucking up here, but I have to say it's some of the best writing I've ever read, period.

In fact, and I guess I should PM this to you, but my other question was if you are willing to have your work referenced at all and, if so, how I would go about seeking permission for same.

I'm developing a new approach to cognitive-behavioral change, writing a new treatment program for our drug and alcohol treatment center here in the States, and would love to reference some of what you've written that provides great analogy for my change methodology, particularly the notion of how powerful the ideas of something can become in our minds, and how working with the reality behind the representation of reality can make an incredible difference in the process of self-empowered, self-intentioned behavioral change.

Granted, I understand you have a fictional take on it, but, like all great works of fiction, there are of course incredibly powerful "truths" revealed by the story. As I say, I would of course clarify and request specific permission for anything that was referenced, and gladly would abide by your approval of same before use, particularly if I am asking for use of any direct quote, but just wanted to know how you'd feel about the idea before I get too excited about it (and before I write any actual drafts, just in case it's not something that you'd rather see happen at all).

The book stopped me in my tracks the first time I read it, on a flight to Europe, and I was amazed then how much certain elements echoed (at least in my mind) the theory I've developed (which, in short, is basically an application of the so-called "new" model of physics within psychology -- which is to say that, if Heisenberg and others are correct that "all possible realities exist" then the same thinking should apply to behavioral change -- considering we're all "made of stars" so to speak -- and we should rid ourselves of the fixed diagnostic disordered and diseased model). Now that I'm actually in the writing phase of the curriculum, this re-read of TRST got me thinking about some very effective analogies that I would love to refer to, which is what set me to seeing if you had contact info, which is how I then found this site....

Sorry for the book length post -- I tend to do that, and hard to sum up kind of a life's work on a fresh psych theory in a few sentences -- but, yeah, short form, loved the work, am so glad you're writing new works (can't wait to see what will be coming next), would love to know any inspirations for TRST that you're willing to share, and would love to know too if I could even reference (with full credit to you of course) some of the ideas that you've tossed out in the waters with TRST.

Cheers, and thanks for putting a great book out there for us to read!
Steven Hall
Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2009 10:26:44 PM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
arcman564 wrote:
Hello Steven! Thanks for having this forum. I'm curious about a lot of the elements behind the creation of TRST, but some main curiosities are: anything in the "real" world that inspired any of the incredibly creative ideas in TRST, in any way? Also, given the amazing psychological concepts you've presented, do you have a background in psych studies at all? Such a great book! And, I'm not sucking up here, but I have to say it's some of the best writing I've ever read, period.


Hi Arcman,

Welcome to the forum & cheers for your kind words :)

No, I don't have a background in psych studies - I guess I think a lot about thinking, if that makes any sense. I'm really caught up in ideas about memory, communication, language, reality and our collective, cultural and personal perception of it. The ways we come to think what we think and also the way we can think things without even knowing that we think them, what is a mind and what goes in to making one - all that stuff.

Something I've said a lot before is that the Ludovician shark was partly inspired by observing language and being fascinated by how often water imagery seems to appear when we talk about the mind, thought and language - stream of consciousness, the unconscious depths, flow of conversation, ebb in conversation, muddied or clear thinking... the list goes on. Why water? Why is it there? I'm fascinated by these clues to deeper processes (deeper processes!) that we're barely aware of.

I guess I've also always been drawn to idea that our definition of life could be seen as quite narrow and carbon-centric. Look at something like a bank or a corporation - in many ways these institutions behave much like multi-cellular organisms. They are created, they die, they have sense of self preservation, they make decisions (yes, you could argue that it is the people in the corporations that make the decisions not the corporations themselves, but this is nothing new - a specialised team of braincells also make the decisions for the body/cell-collective that makes up 'you' after all). All this is something I'll certainly be coming back to.

I'm not sure if any of this answers your question - just observation, lots of reading and lots of thinking I guess is what I'm trying to say.

As for your other question re referencing - I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, I'm afraid - you'd like to use extracts from my book to illustrate your theories, do you mean? I'd like to know more about your ideas. Can you say more?

S
MiaVRO
Posted: Monday, March 2, 2009 11:20:51 PM

Rank: Bede Shark
Groups: Shoal

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 311
Location: Canada
What in Raw Shark gave you the most trouble?
Was there a part where you were really stumped??
Steven Hall
Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:14:03 AM

Rank: Whale Shark
Groups: Shoal , Whale Shark

Joined: 1/24/2009
Posts: 416
Location: UK
MiaVRO wrote:
What in Raw Shark gave you the most trouble?
Was there a part where you were really stumped??



The one thing I think I worried about most was the fight between Eric and Scout. When I was writing the unspace section, I knew that fight was coming up and it was so important that whole thing was correctly balanced. I remember I wrote that scene a few times and also gave the draft to friends asking 'which one of them is being unreasonable?' I wanted it to be difficult to make that call - Scout has lied but Eric is over-reacting - I wanted to try to get to a point where you can see where both of them are coming from.

The flickbook was pretty tricky too - that took weeks and weeks to get right!

I was also stumped for the longest time about how to actually tell the story - what order it should go in. Once I started with Eric waking up on the carpet though, everything else seemed to fall into place. Originally, the Second Eric Sanderson waking up was in chapter six.

S

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