Cet article est une interview accordée par Glen Cook
à Ceridwen, Harmonia Amanda, pour Wikinews.
Xavier Henault pour elbakin.net,
Emmanuel Beiramar - Fantasy.fr, le 12 novembre 2011.
Les questions et les réponses n'engagent que les protagonistes.
Le festival des Utopiales s'est tenu à Nantes du 9 au 14 novembre 2011. Ce festival consacré à la science-fiction s'intéresse aussi bien à la littérature qu'au cinéma ou au jeu vidéo. Glen Cook, auteur notamment du Cycle de la Compagnie noire et de Garrett Détective Privé, y était présent, et a accordé une conférence de presse.
I eventually will have another Black Company book to come out probably in about two years —the way my schedule looks now. I know that I will get a great deal of pressure from publisher when they find out that I’m actually writing it, and want it because they’re going to get a lot of money on that, whereas if I was to do a standalone book, they’re taking a much bigger risk. They know that a new Black Company novel will sell crazily in United States and also extremely well here in France, and it will be translated into probably fifteen or twenty other languages. So, yeah, they want more of what you’ve already done rather than... what you’ve already done and is then commercially successful, than to take a risk on something else.
they brought out specifically early we have here, but we can what’s the title of the next series are part of my inscription. People won’t know that until I finishing the book, but, then I do that intentionnaly also. The Water Sleeps comes from a turkish proverb. Soldiers Live comes from a poem written by a Viet-Nam soldier about feeling guilty about how he survived, and his friends didn't. She’s the Darkness comes from a song called Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac.
of mind. - actually I start thinking about it... Joseph Staline was -I consider personaly- a lot more evil than Adolf Hilter was, because he was not an idealist, just a power mad idiot that would kill anybody that he was scared of. Some people said he was a complete coward, that’s why he just could not stop killing people , they make him nervous. Pol Pot in Cambodgia, I would consider him much more evil than Adolf Hitler, because I don’t think he was an idealist. And the fellow in Uganda who used to eat his ennemies and stuff... I would consider him rather more evil than Adolf Hitler, but Adolf Hitler had more of an immediate connection with our ancestors and (they ?) not, so we can relate that pressure I guess, that impact upon our cultures more than we can with these other persons.
Hope that answer some kind, make a lot at all.
If you look for... If anybody is inclined to accuse me of committing litterature, you’re wrong. If you look for in any depth in my stuff, if it's there at all it's there accidently, and not at all deliberately. I’m not a deep person, I just tell stories, that I enjoy telling. So if you see something else there, and you thing I’m doing something intentionnaly to explicate the world or comment on human condition or something like that, if I am, I’m not doing it on purpose, I’m doing it by accident. I’m just trying to tell a funny story, a story that I enjoy telling. So, when I get asked questions like that, I’m often puzzled because I don’t have an answer, because I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special. The (main idea ?) is that people buy my books (laughs).
So very unusual stuff in my collection as well as almost complete runs of all of the magazines which were published in english. And I don’t know why, I could not explain why I have them cause I have not read probably 10% of the material, it’s just a have had, when I decided to start collecting it. I also collect postage stamps which… hm... The great many of your countries of Europe I have heard by having collected them since I was four years old, I have an almost complete collection of most countries of Europe, and including some very rare items but it’s a compulsive thing, it’s a thing I have to do, just as writing is also. I would be writing… Once I discovered it and started doing it, I could no more stop than I could stop breathing as far as writing goes.
Almost everything —I’ve been lucky in that almost everything I have written has got published somewhere eventually. The stuff that hasn't deserve it there’re unpublished and publishable, but… I’m not really badly compulsive, but I have this mild socially acceptable compulsion (laughs). I tell <-- note: did I? --> that we just found this guy in Russia who digs up dead women, and was trying to make his perfect woman out of bodies of dead woman. I don’t have that kind of compulsion.
have enough income(?...) I can indulge some of my obsessions and so I have turned (...) that I have watching for last couple years once I got hooked on it. I probably got ten meters worth of it on a shelf, and for a long time I was hooked on Power Rangers. I don't know if that was available anywhere in the world but in the United States and Japan. The Power rangers was pretty much like animated only live action I went through. Every couple of years they would change the characters and the title of the show, but it was the same thing, and it was the same formula, and the show would start up, and the power rangers would get beaten up for twenty minutes and then they would suddenly decide to put on the Power Rangers suits and do the power ranger thing and then the bad guys will kick they would get gigantic and it would be over. The Power Rangers would win. And every show was the same for 698 episodes or something like that. But I was hooked on that for a long time. My son and his wife would come over nine-ten o’clock at night, watching Power Rangers on whatever general characters my son has been embarassing.
But that was no help stopping(?) in people in the streets.
follow names cover doesn’t seem the matter that look publisher it is, they put the same generics, snears on the covers that have nothing to do with what’s inside the book. But they do sell the books so… even if I don’t like them I accept. I have, well, as a writer you have no choice for concern the cover of your books, anyway so. You just... You just have to what ever they give you. But it’s easier to live with that if it sells the book, you know. what’s inside the book You attach, get somebody to take it out and turn it over, look and see what it’s about.
Several of american writers that I don’t know any United States,
Joel Becramby(?) and a couple of others,
Steven Erikson had met in college (...) in the same univerities
in the same universe. Couple of people I have had an influence upon, but I don’t think about that. It could make feel good once the while, cause I started out trying to write like the people that I really like, and know I see people doing the same thing (turn (like (that I really like and I see people do the same thing that what’s in my head (but I don’t think about that
It's kind of... It makes me feel good but it also have a kind of negative thing cause now I look in the mirror, “I’m one in the old parts”, and I see like the young people, just try to break in, just a years, when I started getting a lot of attention my (?) here. It has grown on me that I’ve been doing this stuff for fourty some years, and I never thought about that before, and, so yeah, I’m one of the old guys now, the old gard I guess.
your possibilities, as long as you don’t have a map, you don’t have to conform to certain things. I’ve a big map inside my head, and I’ve seen many maps on the Internet of what people thought in my Black Company world might be like, and they’re not too far of, but nor close It’s north south, it’s part in the middle (?).
trying to write what they wrote, and I think most writers —beginning writers— do that, They get inspired by people whose work moves them and they try to write the same thing. And after a few cycles, a few efforts, they start finding their own voice, and so… That’s fine, if they want to write Black Company stories, let them, but hopefully they love and after a few trials, and get a just find their own inner voice (?).
1980’s in order to explain that As a beginning writer, I attended a number of conventions of in order to promote myself, and in the 1980’s —early 1980’s. I met a number of people whose company I enjoyed, so my wife I started having an annual party in our house, for people involved in science-fiction, fandoms and (XX)? the country. And those party after a couple of years got up to the point that we had a hundred and fifty people spending the week-end in our house. I the last one we had, someone got into my book collection, stole some of my rarest books, someone got into my files, because they wanted to know what happened next in the Dread Empire they stole all of the developpemental material, all the books
published to that time. I had one page, of a of pages, one hundread thirty-free, on the next book. That’s the only things that survived.
So, when I started... I had stopped writing whose books, cause they were not selling very well, and the Black Company was selling very well, and I was under a lot of pressure from Tor to write more Black Company books instead of more Dread Empire books because they sold ten times as many books. So I set them aside. Then later on, when Night Shade Books bought my entire (backlist) with all the stuff that was out of print, they wanted me to continue the series. We were arguing back and forth. I didn’t want to do it cause it of what we wanna do, cause twenty-five years, and I had nothing but vague memories of what they intended to go. And Jason the senior editor there threatened: “Well, I tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to have Steven Erikson as writer, he’s going to write.” And I said “No, nobody will even though I love Steven Erikson and I love his work, but nobody is going to write my stuff for me.” So I finally agreed to write the book. And then there was the challenge of trying to remember what I had intended to do, and studying all of the stuff that I had written before, because I didn’t remember any of it. I was completely surprised the first time I read htem. I thought some of it was written by somebody who was a much better writer than I thought I was, and gradually some of it came back and what I did, for the volume that would be coming out, was to combined, most of the highlights basically of what will happen in about three and a half books —cause I have intended to write several more books in the series over all to wrap it up, to complete it. And it’s supposed to be a wrap of the series but really, as you read the book you’ll see that there’s a lot a stuff that even now is not resolved in that book yet, it points out what would be going on later on, involving some children.
All the Dread Empire books now, I have a earlier this month are back in Fance now, so plus the collections, short-fictions and universes, are in print in english but are not available in french.
the most recent. I would probably because I have to, because of compulsion of me, I will finish the book even if nobody publishes it, but, when you’ll see it —if you’ll see it, I can I can podcast, it would be the thing… it would be the project I go back to after I finish this Garett book I am writing right now, which I hope to have done before Christmas.
I wish I could be as funny as Terry Pratchett, but it’s impossible, the man is tremendous that funny you’re talking to it. He just of them and he can’t help himself. You just sit on a panel with him or just having conversation over dinner, something rather and he’s just so funny. Every sentence that comes out of his mouth is as he is in the Discworld book, whereas I... I don’t really work anything hard, but it doesn’t come, it is not as much
nearly as clever or everything, so when I get my mind into the Garett world , and get that sarcasm going in my notice, it’s kind of automatic, it just comes out.
But does that answer the question at all? I just wonder of. I attend Here what I’m writing, I have to go back and throw out hundreds of pages sometimes.
An english writer named —I think— E.R.R. Edison, very… (hésitation) He wrote in the ten’s and twenty’s I think, he has very much english public school, very of the classic type person, who assume that when you read his book, you had the same education, so it was no problem for him to laps in the classical grec or in the latin, ! something like that. I just do a couple pages and or whatever, and he expected you to be able to read it because you will have the same level education that he has. But his style in english was very flored? and for a while I tried to imitate that style and basically discovered that it won’t work at North-America, people wants you to get on with it at all, want to see use this beautiful langage or everything, they want you…
In fact, I’ve found that when I first started writing the Black Company books, I got a lot of criticisms because I just jumped in the story and didn’t explained anything, and just get on with it. Recently, in an anthology that came out in America, I had the first chapter of what will be a future Black Company book, done in the exact same style that I have always, that I used early on, where you jump in the story, just get one with it. And the reviewers of the book complained that us all parts parts like Michael Moorcok waste too much time on building background and stuff, they wish just get on in the story like the younger writers of the book. So, there’s just a generational change there, that when I was accused of thirty years ago, this now I’m on the other hand of the spectrum as far of what people expect from writers.
! the american money with what is something now with what we earn now, they’ve sold of hundreds of dollars. Mine sells well(?). The last one I turned up on EBay, I didn’t know anything about it, a friend of mine said that it , but in a half hour, it was over four hundred dollars, so he had to quit, it was sold for nine hundreds or something eventually. This everybody was doing them and some people who were very clever about it, like Mike Resnick —Mike Resnick and his wife, and his daughter— built them on a team basis. They wrote twelve basic scenes and then they just make the scenes and change the names, and sold it so the publishers and they sold seven hundreds of them in one year. And they get two hundred and fifty dollars, five hundred dollars piece for them. What they did was to put themself in the business in a canal, and since they were living up this huge dream a canal that they have ever since. Michael writes what he feels like writing and want not, he writes pretty good stories, but he doesn’t write very many, and many other people —Robert Silverberg, Vernon XXX? — almost two hundreds of them, in a days when you had a type like that it was writing two hundreds porno novels and probably close to fifty or sixty juvenile non-fiction books for libraries, and as well as all the science-fiction he wrote, under about a dozen different names. They were often whole issues of magazines in which he wrote all of the stories under different names. Many other people, even Harlan Ellison —I think that he has never admitted it—, I think Harlan’s did one or two. I think I remember him talking about it a little party in our house, when he was pretty drunk, talking me about one he had written. It’s not things he never confessed or admitted to since.
So yes I did write one, I wrote it on speculation because everybody was doing them, partly because everybody was doing them, and partly because it was easy money, it didn’t have to be very good, you didn’t have to write very long, a typical book was only about thirty five thousand of fourty thousand words, the one that I had published I wrote in 8 days, and got five hundred dollars for it, so that was better money that I was making in my job at the time and I still had my job. The next one I wrote couldn’t sell anywhere, because they kept telling me it had too much story in it. If I can take this stuff about it, about trying to write a fantasy novel ! and to get on but it could not be published, but it was unpublishable, because it was a story. So that was the story of my experience of that. There were just everybody was doing it at the time.
movies or I have seen the movie "???" indeed but there is no relationship at all. Despite what that particular person accused me, I could see no parallels at all.
What else? A book called "A matter of time" which is a time travel novel. It was published in 1985, it’s now available in a Nightshade edition also —only in english, which is principally a time travel novel, but it’s also a western, a romance, I tried to get every genre that was functionnal or whatever at the time involved in it some way. It’s very much also a kind of Day of the Jackal novel. It has kind of subplot going on in there, where there’s a character who’s doing sort of the same (XXX ?) shooting Charles de Gaulle. He’s shooting a person from the future, in the past. I forget - it is 30 years - who is shooting who, or which one is the time traveler, which one is not, but it involves some kind of security officers. It’s only a 80000 word book but it’s got some of everything in it. Peace XXX(?)  All of that… and the house, which is the main character in the book lives is my house in Los Angeles. And the neighborhood where most of the action takes place is my neighborhood.
all the ranks, and there were an amazing number of them in the german army and It would be the same thing but it would be a different time, or whatever. But that’s the only time I actually used of Wikipedia to find out something for something that I was actually working on. I go there once a while just to see what kind of stories are made up about me, or something like that. I googled myself once and was amazed, amazed that there’s so much stuff out there.
works. The stuff that I have done for the last few years all had to be submitted to the publisher electronically anyway, so all they have to do is push a button and it’s typesset. And once it's typesset, that what goes on the digital availability tool, so...
I have mixed feelings you know. I can’t see (XXXX) with a Kindle and I have rather hundred bucks (?). I just like to have the paperback. The electronic readers are getting much much better than they used to be in the first time around, when they tried, there was just so much resistance. They had very poor screens, (XXX) they really didn’t go. Once they came up with the Kindle and —what’s the other one which is so popular right now…
publishers electronic (XXX?), it doesn’t cost from anymore to produce but change the form than to retail.
They can have much more runs and make a profit and also there are... Because of the Tax Court decisions in the United-States, the mass-market paperback, because it is what is called strippable you can tear off the cover and send it back to the publisher and get credit for it, because of that, for some reason, you cannot deduct xxx? that in your inventory at the end of the tax cycle as being in inventory, whereas with the trade paperback, which has to be whole copy returned, you can carry it in inventory and note it being non taxable for years and years, so that’s a tax decision that goes back almost forty years but it’s very much increasingly influencing as markets —publishing markets— get smaller, influencing how decisions are made on how things are published.
Younger people seem to live on the internet. And when my wife comes home from work, she spends five hours, four hours, after she comes home doing, looking at stuff and doing stuff on the Internet. I can’t tell how much she wastes her time doing it.
But it’s not —at least I hope it’s not— a disdain for the people that are doing that, it’s just I’m not interested in spending my time doing stuff on the Internet. I probably should have a website, I should have… well. I could probably make myself a fairly good income just selling my books over the Internet, because people can find a lot of them, and plus you can get them signed for free (laughs), signed copies. But the whole thing with like Facebook and Twitter and such other things is that they have apparently to do with me, but I have nothing to do with them. Every once in a while has come to me and said : “Hey! I saw your thing on Facebook!“ I just can't figure out what the hell they are talking about, I have no idea of what was said there, so I don’t even know how to find it, to see what was said there. So, I have never been inclined to put in the time to learn how to do it you know, because basically I don’t care.
Otherwise, I had a great time here so far, I met a lot of wonderful people, I really enjoyed myself. The amount of fuss made over me is to the point of being embarrassing, because I just figure that I’m like a bricklayer or a ditch digger, something (XXX ?). What I do, is basically write stories, I don’t think of it as really anything special, and a lot of people are acting like I’m doing something special, which, as I said, is almost embarrassing (XXX ?). I don’t think I’ve ever done something like this before, in the forty some years that I have been writing, I have never done "press conference" or whatever this may be called; I just tried to talk once in a while to someone who is interested, I’ve done interviews for lots of newspapers. All they would do is some piece on me in the week-end papers, something about… hm. I never got a great deal or attention and never expected it too. So you tell me this is a whole new thing for me, a new experience. It’s good for the ego.
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