4 de julho de 2013

Lois McMaster Bujold: I used to joke that I had no more idea of where central character Miles Vorkosigan’s life was going than he did (entrevista)

No blogue da Amazing Stories, R. K. Troughton entrevista Lois McMaster Bujold. Com uma carreira literária na fantasia e na ficção científica com quase três décadas, Bujold é uma das autoras mais premiadas do género: entre muitas outras distinções, venceu três prémios Nébula e cinco Prémios Hugo, quatro dos quais na categoria de "Best Novel" - um feito só alcançado por Robert A. Heinlein (podendo ser superado este ano, dado o mais recente livro da popular "Vorkosigan's Saga", Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, estar nomeado para a mais prestigiada categoria dos Hugos). Na entrevista, fala do universo de Vorkosigan e do desafio da escrita de uma série não sequencial, da sua carreira, dos prémios e das tendências actuais da ficção científica. Dois excertos:

ASM: (...)You have received twelve different Hugo nominations and have walked away with five, with one yet to be determined. Have you ever stepped back to consider your place in the history of science fiction? How does that make you feel?

LMB: To answer your last question first, rather surreal.

I spent what seemed like forever at the beginning of my career being “new writer Bujold”; the transition to historical artifact seems rather abrupt, as though I’d somehow missed the middle book of the trilogy. I suppose I was too busy at the time to notice. And then suddenly my first career award popped up (in 2007, from the Ohioana Library Association), which I think of, recursively, as “an award for winning awards”.

Thankfully, it is not my job to determine my place in genre history. Nevertheless, it was very gratifying, in 2008, to be invited to be the WorldCon Writer Guest-of-Honor, which is a kind of career award in itself.


ASM: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is part of a much longer series, measuring over fourteen novels in length. For many authors, this would require new readers to start at book one and begin trudging through. One of the aspects I enjoy most in your books is that each story contains a beginning, a middle, and an end. If I go out and purchase book seven, I’m not getting just a middle; I’m getting the entire story. Please tell us about your approach to this series and what is required reading before we pick up this year’s Hugo nominee.

LMB: I drifted in to my Vorkosigan-universe series one book at a time, back in the 80s, without an over-arching plan of some plot to be finished in some set number of pre-contracted volumes. My first goal was simply to get to the end of my first novel. The series’ growth thereafter has been organic; I used to joke that I had no more idea of where central character Miles Vorkosigan’s life was going than he did. This gave me a great deal of elbow room for trying out different ideas within the series framework, exploring all kinds of plots and tones—I wanted to see how many genres I could fit in! There are, after all, no actual genre police out there to enforce the norms.

Nonetheless, I did have one early structural model—C. S. Forester’s Hornblower books, the adventures of a British naval officer in the Napoleonic wars. Each volume stood alone as a complete adventure, but, taken together, they ended up becoming a fascinating biography of the hero as he grew and changed over time, each volume serving two (or more) purposes at once. (It was also written out of internal-chronological order, by the way.) As a long-time series reader myself, I was very aware how difficult it could be to acquire series books in order—I grabbed the Hornblower books at random as I could get them, but still had very satisfactory reads.

The most important thing turns out to be what to leave out. Every book, even the first in a series or a stand-alone, has an implicit backstory that is not recounted in exhaustive detail, but merely alluded to as needed. (Well, I suppose some of James Michener’s bricks were an exception. He often started with the paleogeology.) The trick was simply to treat all the other volumes as I would the backstory for any new book. It turns out one can dispense with quite a lot—which has the added advantage of sustaining suspense and surprise regardless of what direction the reader passes through one’s fictional landscape. Tight point-of-view is also very handy, since whatever character the story is being told through may well not know all that history either, the way most of us know so very little about our parents.

A entrevista completa pode ser lida aqui.

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