Saturday, July 11, 2009

Author Bites - Sean Stewart on Science

In an email exchange with Sean Stewart about his Cathy books, I asked him why he decided to take a more scientific approach to immortality than what many other YA authors were doing and this is what he had to say. It's pretty insightful!

Re: scientific immortality. Er... I'm married to a biological scientist, and the child of another, so when the topic comes up, it's natural to me to think about it in those terms: e.g., bats live far longer than they "should" based on their body size...why? Immortality can't be a dominant gene and can't be easily passed along (or we'd all be immortal). Species that are long-lived tend to reproduce at a low level, OK, that makes sense... etc. etc. Just how I think, I guess.

Or, to put it in an entirely literary way, if you had read a bunch of my other, non-Cathy books, like Perfect Circle or Resurrection Man or Mockingbird, you would see that I have always had an impulse to try to fit the tropes of fantasy into the actual world around us. I grew up a total Lord of the Rings fan: but my circumstance, in reality, was late 20th century, so my job felt, ultimately, like it wasn't about recreating a faux medieval world, but rather imagining what magic would look and feel and taste like in a world of shopping malls and seatbelt safety ads. By which I explicitly don't mean the "elves in New York" meme, but rather trying to douse into the modern world and find a way of expressing a Sense of Wonder (tm) that felt like it was ours, not borrowed from some other time or culture and stuck on with velcro.

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