Okay! So here we go with the THIRD AND FINAL part of this three-part interview that I did with fantasy author Steven Brust back in 2011! Here’s a link to Part One and Part Two of this interview, in case you missed them:
All right, here we go!
Let’s continue in the geek vein: favorite movie of all time? (not necessarily geeky)
SB: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Followed by The Princess Bride and Bull Durham.
PC: Mmm. Video gaming? …I don’t see you as the video gamer type somehow.
SB: I almost always have some game going while I write. Lately it’s been LOTRO.
PC: How does “having a videogame on while you write” work exactly? Write a little play a little back and forth, or…?
SB: It’s something for my forebrain to work on my backbrain thinks about the book. I always keep my current project open on one screen, so it keeps staring at me asking what the next question is.
PC: What was your fave before LOTRO?
SB: There was a text-only rpg called Gemstone for a while. For a long time, I really enjoyed Aces of the Pacific and Aces over Europe. Alas, I don’t think those will run on Windows 7. But the most productive and profitable of all was online poker. It was perfect for writing and I made some decent money until the Fed shut the sites down. That hurt.
PC: Ow. Back to TV: You been keepin’ an eye on Game of Thrones?
SB: Haven’t seen it yet.
PC: Mmm. Comic books? Favorite graphic novel?
SB: I read anything by Neil. But I’m not a comic person. I’m dyslexic, and I think that’s why my brain has trouble processing comics or animation.
PC: Heh. My wife and I met through a Sandman fanzine circa 1994 when such things were still done by mailing ink on paper. She’s a Minnesota gal.
SB: Ya sure. 🙂
PC: Neil’s aware of us… just sort of shook his head as if to say “great, now they’re marrying.” Not quite rolling his eyes, but…
SB: hee hee
PC: How long have you had a Twitter account?
SB: Trying to think… I’m not sure. A couple of years maybe?
PC: I was a bit aghast that you only have like 11 times my followers.
SB: I don’t post much.
PC: Okay, the interview spirits are telling me to ask you about drumming. I can’t help mentioning Random, etc., etc. Oh, and I think of the drum Silverberg mentioned that Gilgamesh had, with its one stick, for going into a drumming-induced trance…
SB: Drumming is fun on many levels. Playing the kit (which I’m not all that good at) you have the fun of filling a dance floor. With the doumbek, well, I can make music on that. It’s all about listening. It’s a kind of high you don’t get any other way.
PC: Yeah, see…
SB: Silverberg is very good.
PC: I got into him for Lord Valentine’s Castle. Another V-character…
SB: My favorite of his is Star of Gypsies.
PC: I have not read that. Read much Heinlein?
SB: Of course.
PC: “Star of Gypsies” sounds like a Heinleinesque title. Favorite Heinlein? Mine is probably Job: A Comedy of Justice, which says something about me…
SB: Um. Tough call. Probably Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
PC: Hmmmm. What are you most looking forward to?
SB: Working on a sequel to Spiked with Skyler.
PC: I suspected you might say something Spiked-related.
SB: Yeah, I’m more than little psyched.
PC: What’s wrong with the publishing industry these days, anyway? No, that’s negative. What I’m really asking is…
SB: I have no idea. I work very hard not to think about that.
SB: Seriously, I have no idea. I think there are cool things happening–mostly having to do with Cory Doctorow. But I don’t think in those terms. I just write books, and am very, very happy that I can make a living doing that.
PC: What I’m really asking is what you’d change if you were in charge.
SB: I’d give me a lot more money.
PC: Tch. What would you do with it?
SB: Now, that, I can tell you. I’d build a huge paddlewheeler, big enough to live on, and I’d park it in Minnesota during the summer, and Louisiana in the winter. I’d host poker games and concerts. And I’d get a lot of writing done.
PC: I was gonna ask you about Brokedown Palace but then I remember I hadn’t even mentioned To Reign in Hell; tell me about THAT.
SB: What do you want to know?
PC: Ummm… I guess I meant it as a sort of “Aw gee mister was it as super neato cool writing it as I imagine?!?!?!?” It made quite an impression on me. The darkness, the chaos, whispering… if it WAS the chaos talking, and not Someone else…
SB: It was a struggle. I was doing a lot of experimenting; Much of it didn’t work so the re-write was intense. But I’m pleased with how it came out.
PC: And hey, a sea of chaos, incidentally.
SB: The fun part of it was doing all the short scenes–that let me do a lot of opening and closing sentences, and I love opening and closing sentences.
PC: Yeah, that’s where you’re a Viking. And as long as I have you here, what exactly does Vlad’s world owe to Leiber, exactly?
SB: Heh. Everything. With the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, Leiber invented the field where I make my living.
PC: (Am I right that Verra comes up a lot in Brokedown Palace? Because that’s how I remember it but it’s been like maybe 20 years.)
PC: …What IS a sea of chaos, anyway? I sort of imagine it like liquid antimatter. But worse.
SB: That’s a reasonable way to imagine it.
PC: (Have you read Leiber’s The Sinful Ones? What about Our Lady of Darkness?)
PC: Aww, they’re keen.
Is it a dumb question to ask why in the world anyone would be crazy enough to make Morganti weapons in the first place? Or am I way too idealistic about hominids’ capacity for evil and spite?
SB: Why would anyone be crazy enough to invent napalm? How about atomic weapons?
PC: Yeah, see, that’s why I had a feeling it was just me. Sigh.
Well, I hate to let you go, since I’m afraid I’ll think of a fantastic question as soon as I do, but I guess there’s always email and that’s what follow-up questions are for.
SB: Cool. Thanks much, and take care.
PC: “Wave bye-bye to Steven Brust, Barb!”
(she waves) “Bye-bye! Thank you!”
Me too, bye! I’ll be in touch…!
SB: (Lizard Boy waves back)