Monday, March 26, 2012

Lightspeed Interview - Ian McDonald

"In recent years you’ve been writing these science fiction books set in countries like India, Turkey, and Brazil. How did you come to write those books, and what were some of your goals for them?

I’ve been interested in fiction in the developing world for quite some time. I live just outside Belfast, in Northern Ireland. It’s one of those places that’s kind of on the periphery of things. In many ways, it’s one of the least science fictional places in the world to grow up in. In another sense, it’s the perfect preparation for life in the twenty-first century—living through thirty years of civil, religious, and political violence is fairly good prep for the way I feel the twenty-first century is going to go. But it’s never really a terribly science fictional place. So in a sense, to write science fiction I’m always having to look somewhere outside my own country. I’ve written science fiction set in Northern Ireland, but I’ve found myself very much looking outside the country, and so if everywhere’s foreign, you might as well go somewhere interesting. I mean, the United States is as foreign to me as India or Turkey or Brazil is—we just speak a common language, and even that’s fairly tenuous. So that sense of not being at the center of things, of being very much on the periphery, it made me look for interesting places where the future is happening as well."

4 out of 5