The Geomancer


A Quality of Real Genius: Vandermeer and McDonald

"Most stories start with an image--I'm a visual writer, I need to see [it] in memory or imagination before I can translate it into words," says Ian McDonald, in an interview with author, anthologist, and blogger Jeff Vandermeer, posted on the new Amazon Bookstore's Blog. "For Brasyl,the image was people picking over a giant trash heap of e-waste--twin peaks of grey beige a glittering cap of discarded I-pods. Then the what-iffery began: we're pretty aware of the toxic fall-out of conventional garbage, but what kind of existential pollution might you get from quantum computers?"

McDonald goes on to talk about the genesis of all three of Brasyl's intertwined narratives, the amount of research that goes into one of his epic works, and a little about his next work, The Dervish House. Of McDonald himself, Jeff Vandermeer says, "
Saying Ian McDonald might be the world’s best SF writer seems a little inaccurate to me although many readers think this is true. The fact is, McDonald deserves to be going up against most of the world’s top fiction writers, period. He has proven over a distinguished and varied career that he is a formidable stylist, yes, but in everything he writes, he also demonstrates flexibility, vision, and mastery of good old fashioned storytelling."

Meanwhile, Jeff's own work is well-worth checking out, as is his newly-revamped website, Ecstatic Days.

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