INTRO: Tad Williams has just released the third book in the Otherland series, "Mountain of BlackGlass". He is also the author of the "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn" fantasy trilogy.
Q: After being quite successful with your Fantasy novels, whydid you choose to write a Science Fiction series?
A: First, because -I- have to be interested to write well. I just wasn'tinterested by the idea of writing another epic fantasy of thepseudo-medieval sort. Also, most of my favorite writers (Bradbury,Sturgeon, Le Guin, Zelazny, Leiber, Moorcock) have wandered freely back andforth across the SF/Fantasy boundary without worrying about it. I've neverconsidered myself exclusively a fantasy writer.
Q: The Otherland series has by some also been classifiedas a Fantasy series, what's your opinion on this?
A: I frankly don't care how anyone classifies it. It's science fiction in thesense that everything will make at least science-fictional sense, and thatit takes place in the near future, but it has a lot of fantasy elements init as well, like DUNE. But I just want people to read it and decidewhether they like it or not. Classification, these days, is mostly amarketing tool, and limiting rather than liberating.
Q: How far in the future does the Otherland series take place?
A: I'm deliberately keeping it vague, but I'd say sometime well past thebeginning of the coming century.
Q: The use of Virtual Reality in your Otherland series seemsvery believable, did you do a lot of research to achieve this?
A: I didn't have to do much, because I worked with things like this when I wasat Apple back in the early 1980s, and I even had a company for a while thatproduced an interactive television show.
Q: Do you find it hard to come up with new ideas for your books?
A: Most writers that I know have more ideas than they have time to write, andI'm very much the same way. If I just used the ideas I already have, anddidn't have any new ones, it would be at least five or six years, if notmore, before I'd used them properly.
Q: What are your plans for the future, will you someday returnto the fantasy world you created in the Memory, Sorrow andThorn series?
A: I am planning to do a collection of short stories set in Osten Ard, yes. Ithink it will be different than any other collection of stories by an epicfantasy author. I'll leave it until the book appears for people to see whyI say that.
Q: What has the Internet meant for you as an author?
A: It's allowed me to have very quick and informal contact with lots ofreaders, which has generally been really entertaining and gratifying. Ifeel quite connected to my readership, more than most writers, I suspect.