Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Interview With Authors of Rapture of the Nerds - Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow

"PC: How did the collaboration come about? CS: In stages. At first, Cory and I were chatting in email; one of us raised the idea of writing a story together -- it's quite common for SF authors to do this sort of thing for shits and giggles. So I rummaged in the dumpster of dead projects and coughed up a hairball of around 1000 words' length; the opening of a story I hadn't been able to continue writing. Cory broke new ground, adding to it, then bounced it back at me. We played ping-pong with it via email until it ran to 20,000 words, then (to our surprise) sold it to, at that time the highest-paying short fiction market in our field. That story was "Jury Service", the first quarter of "Rapture of the Nerds". A couple of years later we were contacted by Lou Anders, who was then editing the magazine Argosy. He'd read "Jury Service" and wanted to commission us to write a sequel ("Appeals Court"), which he eventually published back-to-back with its predecessor in a limited-edition chapbook. And then Tom Doherty, CEO of Tor, our publisher, heard about these collaborations. And he told his editors, "buy the Doctorow/Stross novel!" -- even though no such novel really existed, and we were both working on other projects. For a few years we were both busy doing other things; once a year we'd touch base. But then two things happened. First, Locus magazine ran a satirical April Fool's news piece about us ("Stross and Doctorow hired to write authorized sequel to Atlas Shrugged"), and then it turned out we both had a six month gap in our schedules. So we went back to work and wrote the second, larger, half of what by now had grown into a novel, one 1000 word chunk at a time." 4.5 out of 5