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By Patrick (2007-10-08)
Interview with George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham.
- Without giving anything away, what can you tell us about the story that is Hunter's Run?
DA: It's an almost-retro science fiction adventure with elements of psychological allegory and James M. Cain crime noir. But with aliens.
GD: It was primarially conceived of as a rattling good adventure story, but, like most such, if done right, it will, we hope, tell you a bit about the human heart, as it tells you about what we're like under some of the most fundamental stresses: danger, fear of death, greed, anger. Think THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRES. Like Bogart's character Fred C. Dobbs in that movie (like most of US, for that matter!), Ramon is a mixture of good and bad, strengths and weaknesses, and it's always a coin-toss which is going to come out on top.
GRRM: It's a novel about identity, allegiances, and the things that make us human, a manhunt through an alien wilderness that counterpoints the protagonist's own inner journey. I wasn't thinking TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE myself. My own influences and inspirations tended more toward Huck and Jim on their raft, and Genly Ai and Lord Estraven on the ice. With some monsters and knife fights for seasoning.
- A new benchmark in modern SF -- that's what one can read on the back cover of the ARC. So it's that good!?!
DA: (straightface) Yes. (straightface)
GD: We all think it's a good book, or we wouldn't have let if off our desks. As to whether it's THAT good or not--well, they say a writer's works are like children, and if a proud father tells you his child is the smartest and most handsome and gifted child who has ever been born, you make allowances for that. You especially make allowances if the parent has engaged a professional promotion expert and blurb-writer to make these claims on his behalf...
GRRM: It's the job of cover blurbs to herald every book as the greatest novel set to paper. That being said, yes, of course we think the book is good. How good is something the readers will ultimately have to decide. Read the novel and make up your own mind.
- Are there any plans for a possible sequel?
DA: I don't think the plot of this particular book lends itself to a sequel. In a sense, it's the sequel already to Gardner's novel Strangers. It's a rich world and an interesting universe. I think other stories could be set in the same millieu. But this particular character has been through about as much as I think we can put him through.
GD: Never say never again, one thing both Sean Connery and I have learned over the years. There's certainly a lot more that could be written set in the milieu of Sao Paulo. As to whether there'll ever be a direct sequel about Ramon--well, it looks unlikely at this point, but I wouldn't rule it out dogmatically. Look at how many times Dr. Doom was thrown into the volcano and came back several issues later, for instance.
GRRM: As Daniel points out, HUNTER'S RUN is set in the SF universe that Gardner first explored in his novella-turned-novel STRANGERS, a sadly forgotton masterpiece of the 70s. That's a rich and interesting background, I think, with room for a lot more stories, but Gardner is the one who should be writing them, and given the speed at which he turns out novels... well, let's just say he makes me look fast. A direct sequel about Ramon, though? No. That story's been told.