ActuSF : It is often said that you are a writer of Hard Science. What fascinates you in science and its possibilities ?
David Brin : "Hard science writing" means writing about science itself. You must always be careful to tell the truth about new discoveries and talk about real evidence and the real researchers.
"Hard science fiction" is fiction about science ! That means you are making up stories, characters, events that never really happened. But in "hard" science fiction, the author tries to make sure that the events and the science are at least possible. And the author must make science interesting !
ActuSF : Does putting on stage aliens not also refer a mirror to humanity so that it will read his faults ?
David Brin : Of course. (Bien sur !) We think about the alien -- the Other -- for many reasons. Because for much of our history ( and long before history) others were dangerous. But they were also fascinating as possible mates, allies, trading partners, even friends. Now that we are becoming citizens of the cosmos, it is natural for us to ponder "others" in our new neighborhood.
But you are right. We also use the "other" as a mirror, to gain better insights to ourselves. In my Elevation universe, I give each alien race some exaggerated human traits -- for example an excessive sense of humor -- in order to portray our own qualities in excess.
ActuSF : You made also animals endowed with "conscience" as dolphins and chimpanzees. Do you think that one day science will go that far ?
David Brin : Yes, I do. But will we make them slaves, as shown by Pierre Boule or HG Wells ? Or will we try to make them citizens, as in my Elevation Universe ? First we must be the ones with a conscience !
Note "conscience" and "sondciousness" are different, but related.
ActuSF : How not to make too much anthropomorphism with these animals or ET ?
David Brin : You must study the research and talk to experts who work with these animals, in order to make sure this "essence" remains !
ActuSF : Is it possible to make them behave in a manner truly different and without taking humans as a point of comparison ?
David Brin : You can never do this perfectly, so I have my characters discuss this ! Some of them worry : "Am I becoming too human ?"
ActuSF : Tell us a bit about Foundation's Triumph. How is it born ?
David Brin : When Isaac Asimov died, his widow and daughter asked the "B" writers (Bear, Benford, Brin) to finish his universe. I had the final book. I tried to appraise all of his ideas, from the entire Foundation Universe, referring to all of his books. It was a major task ! But I wanted the ideas to be characters, just like the human beings in the stories.
ActuSF : Was it difficult to "walk" in the footsteps of Issac Asimov ?
David Brin : It felt remarkably easy. Asimov loved ideas and argument as much as I do.
ActuSF : How did you cooperate with Gregory Benford and Greg Bear ?
David Brin : They wrote first, so I told them my story and certain concepts that they should mention in their books, so that the grand epic would unfold and reach completion in FT
ActuSF : What do you remember from this experience ? I guess it was brightly exciting, wasn't it ?
David Brin : Lots of fun.
ActuSF : One of your books, "Postman," has been adapted to film with Kevin Costner. Did you like the film ?
David Brin : You can see how I felt about the film at : http ://www.davidbrin.com/postmanmovie.html
ActuSF : Does it make you want to recooperate with the world of cinema ?
David Brin : I am willing. Movies cost a lot of money. I hope the next producers will also apply talent and intelligence and heart.
ActuSF : You have also written a lot of comics, including D-Day. Is this work is very different from a novel ? Is the pleasure of writing different ?
David Brin : D-Day was very much like directing a movie. In a novel, you tell all of the story, but in a Bande Dessinee, you must carefully work with the artist and designer and others.
ActuSF : There are many of you videos on the Internet and your personal site is rich in numerous articles and notes. Did Internet change your way of working ? And what relationship do you maintain with your fans ?
David Brin : It makes for much more interaction with the fans. Often very two-way and interesting ! But it is also a distraction.
ActuSF : You also give advice for young authors on your site. In your opinion, what is the most important ?
David Brin : Learn to control ego. Humans hold their dogmas and biases too tightly, and we only think that our opponents are dogmatic ! But we all need criticism. Criticism is the only known antidote to error.
ActuSF : What are at the moment scientific issues you care about ? And what changes can be expected in your view of the future ?
David Brin : In EARTH I made many predictions. Many of them have come true. I wish that some of them, like climate change, had not !
We must remember our confidence as a scientific and problem-solving civilization.
ActuSF : What are your plans ? What are you working on ?
David Brin : See an update, below, for your answer !
My latestbook is SKY HORIZON... a short but exciting novel about an entire high school of teenagers who are kidnapped by aliens.
I love the Uplift (Elevation) Universe and I do hope to get back to Tom, Creideiki and other Uplift adventures. (Another "Jijo novel" is half written, but suspended while I do other things.) Till then, see the story "Temptation" downloadable at http ://www.davidbrin.com/shortstories.html Also : Contacting Aliens : Illustrated Guide To David Brin's Uplift Universe.
Other news ? I was a cast member on the History Channel show "The ArchiTechs". See http ://htyp.org/The_ArchiTECHS or order at http ://store.aetv.com/html/product/index.jhtml ?id=75873 Also see me in the History Channel's "Life After People."
I helped launch a major new online venture UNIVERSE Magazine. (http ://www.baens-universe.com/) Drop by for exciting stories ! Including my new serial-comedy THE ANCIENT ONES... funniest thing you'll read this year !
Have a look at http ://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php ?story_id=3987&page=2 the Computer Graphics "challenge" to create "movie trailers" for Greg Bear's book EON. I provide the story for a future challenge !
OTHER FICTION : My award winning novel "Kiln People" is a fast-moving noir detective story, set in a vivid future when people can literally be in two places at once. Even more vivid, a hardcover graphic novel "The Life Eaters" covers a dark theme, my take on how mystically-obsessed Nazis might have hoped to conquer using a bizarre kind of magic. Based on a Hugo nom'd novella, expanded and explored with stirring art by Scott Hampton. (The French seem keen on this one.)
NONFICTION : I was featured (four pages) in the June 2007 issue of DISCOVER Magazine. (www.discovermagazine.com) Also, see essays and stories published exclusively at WWW.AMAZON.COM/SHORTS ! ! Also...controversial ...Star Wars on Trial : Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time.
Interested in joining a vivid online discussion group ? Drop by : http ://davidbrin.blogspot.com/. Meanwhile do keep an eye open at http ://www.davidbrin.com/ for news, plus essays and interesting stuff about the future !