Quotes by: Paolo Bacigalupi
Bacigalupi at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
August 6, 1972 |
Paonia, Colorado, USA
||Biopunk, science fiction, young-adult novels
The Windup Girl
The conclusion I came to was that even if I couldn't sell books, I still liked the process of writing.
My conception of my ideal reader has expanded quite a lot as I've matured: Ultimately when I think of my ideal reader, it's someone who's not sitting down with the intention of automatically arguing with the book: somebody who's going to give me enough slack to tell my story.
I don't put a very clear label on my work. If anything, I write science fiction - looking at a moment now, in the present, and then extrapolating outward to think about what the future might look like if this particular trend goes on, or if this particular trend is the most dominant. That's a science fictional tool.
I focus a little more on pacing when I write books in the young adult category, and of course there's the great American fear of anything sexual, so that's somewhat backed off in YA.
I think that, when I think about the future that 'The Water Knife' represents, it's one where there's a lack of oversight, planning and organization.
I suspect that young adults crave stories of broken futures because they themselves are uneasily aware that their world is falling apart.
I think inherently, a little bit, I'm a bit of a pleaser, and I want people to like me and be nice, and to not ruffle feathers and just make everybody happy and stuff. It's a personality flaw.
I'm interested in how we react when we're heavily pressed. When we're vulnerable and our survival is in question, how do we behave?
The marketplace tells us that good, visceral storytelling has a place. But there are lots of questions about the format that stories take.
As a kid, I always liked reading stories where I had a power-projection fantasy. I wanted to be inside of a story where I had power and influence, was going to rise to power, was going to somehow influence my society.
Maybe storytelling belongs in audio - a short story is the length of a commute. That can be a sacred spot where you have the ear of the reader without having to compete with other media like games or TV.
I'm particularly interested in black swan events: unprecedented surprises that destroy the conventional wisdom about how the world works.
I used to work for a newspaper that covered local resource issues, and my coworkers and friends were journalists. Their reporting work was always pretty grim.
I was interested in political failure here in the U.S. The way we're failing to work together to solve even our smallest problems, let alone the complex ones.
Teens want to read something that isn't a lie; we adults wish we could put our heads under the blankets and hide from the scary story we're writing for our kids.
The sources and research I use for my inspiration aren't your typical sci-fi subjects, but it's really driven by obsession and personal anxiety more than trying to take up the sword and do what's right.
As an author, you're really grateful for the people who are supporting you, but on some other level, that can be a dangerous echo chamber.
People don't actually stay still, you know - when their area is a disaster, they go somewhere else, right? And that's just a natural human impulse.
Everyone in China knows The Topics. The television stations and newspapers run the same state-generated stories all across the country, and the Chinese form their opinions based on these somewhat controlled sources.
I have friends who are science journalists, and I'm seeing stories of theirs or talking with them about ideas that they're pitching. Certain kinds of science are around me all the time, like climate change and biology.
Novelists want to be published and need a publisher to decide to print 20,000 copies. So you need to entertain on some level. I want to reach out and connect.
Economies are embedded inside ecosystems. Companies dependent on tourism, for example, are affected by low rainfall - there's less snow for skiers, and forest fires are more intense.
All the definitions people want to put on you in terms of what kind of writer you are come with hidden meanings. If you're writing science fiction, you're writing rocket ships. If you write dystopian fiction, it's inequity where The Man must be fought.