Adam Browne is ‘gnarly’ ‘brilliant’ and ‘unique’, according to his reviews, and I wouldn’t argue with any of that. His brain works in amazing, fascinating ways which amuse, shock, surprise and delight me. Here he is, talking in his own particular way, about how he refreshes his well.
Recently, on Facebook, a friend mentioned he used never to read a book unless there was a spaceship in it.
I’d forgotten until then that I used to be the same way. Spaceships. Transcendence. I’d been indoctrinated by 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’d learned that apotheosis takes place away from Earth.
My transition probably began with Phillip K Dick. I found my first PKD book when I was 15, on a school trip in Alice Springs.
There were spaceships in his books, but they were peripheral or incidental. He was the gateway drug into what I read now — which isn’t much, admittedly.
It’s because I’m so particular. Where spaceships used to do it for me, now I need high-style, grim wit, irony, genre-tricks. I read Martin Amis sometimes. He and his father, Kingsley, were sympathetic to sf. I wonder if this is why I enjoy Amis, when I do enjoy him (‘The Little Puppy that Could’ is one of my favourite sf stories, I add; one of Amis’s very few in that genre) — because he respects Idea.
Some current sf doesn’t have ideas — it’s ossified — just a pastiche of stuff from before — some sf has ideas but they’re sophomoric, or presented in a sophomoric way. This is never the case with Amis.
Anyway: spaceships. As I say, I don’t read about them these days, with a few exceptions — I’m not an absolutist — Aurora, by Kim Robinson, is a masterpiece, and actually an anti-spaceship story (I dislike war movies, but like anti-war movies).
So that’s one problem. An avenue for reading pleasure has been closed to me.
The worse problem is that a lot of the novel I’m writing is set on spaceships.
They’re great spaceships. There’s one that is driven by shadows; another with a destination-magnet, another still is acausal…
But I started writing it years ago, and I’ve changed since then.
Spaceships don’t solve problems. Transcendence isn’t found in the sky but on the ground. The closer to the dirt the better.
I haven’t thought of a solution yet. Suggestions welcome. Maybe I need to do what Kim Robinson did — go anti-spaceship. It’s a similar strategy to how the early porn filmmakers got around censorship etc — by making salacious movies, but pretending to be admonitory.
Might be a solution. I often base my decisions on lessons learned from the early porn filmmakers.”