Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Author Interview! Drew Magary.

What kind of guy writes a book where immortality can give the term 'Peter Pan' a nasty new meaning and nano-technology leads to the immortal armies of the world being more interested in eating whatever is in their path rather than shooting it? That guy is Drew Magary, author of 'The Postmortal' ('The End Specialist' if you're in the UK) and I got to ask him a question or two; here's what Drew had to say for himself...

Lets get the obvious question out of the way first, would you take the cure if it was offered to you?

Hell yes. I'm getting older and I have all kinds of back pain and shit. No chance I'd ever want to get older. I know everyone getting it would be bad, but I can't SEE that now. I know drinking is bad for me, but that damage isn't immediately visible to me. So I do it. Same with this.

What led you to write ‘The Postmortal’? By this, I guess I'm asking what led you to writing about things like a mother condemning her daughter to eternity as an eight month old baby...

It was really just a simple idea, espoused in the title of the first chapter. If we all lived forever, we'd all end up pretty pissy with one another. So I tried to play that out to the last detail. Some of it gets pretty hairy, but it wasn't because I'm some weird goth kid. I just try and go where the idea leads.

‘The Postmortal’ shows it’s reader only too clearly that humanity isn’t ready for eternal life, at least not as far as you’re concerned. If the cure was available in real life though, do you think that any good would come out of it at all?

Oh, most definitely. Seniors account for pretty much all the health care expenses here in the US. If no one got old, it wouldn't cost as much to go to the doctor. And everyone would look AWESOME.

You sold it to me! Your vision of an immortal future is pretty bleak to say the least; did you find yourself having to dial the bleakness back at all or did you just go for it?

I had an original ending that was, hard to believe, darker than what's there now. Then my agent was like, "No. Don't do that." And I didn't. I tried to temper everything with humor, but the idea is just naturally a dark one. It couldn't be helped. I just did my best to keep it as entertaining as possible right to the end.

Did you know all along that your vision here would be a bleak one? Did you ever toy with the idea of having immortality as something that is beneficial and all good?

Nope. It was all bad from the get-go. It was just more fun to have it devolve into mayhem. Happiness and order aren't very compelling.

I have to ask, what did you do to cheer yourself up after writing such a pessimistic book?

I never really got down while writing it. I was fairly clinical about what would happen and how it would happen. It wasn't so much that it was bleak to write, but it was fairly intense to write. I'd spend a lot of time in my own head space and would leave the tea kettle boiling and shit. At the end of the day, I'd feel pretty exhausted mentally. But it was a good feeling, like after you spend a day doing housework or something shitty. You feel like you earned your beer.

The science behind the cure is detailed enough to be plausible but vague enough so that people can’t poke holes in it. How difficult was it to get the balance right?

I've watched enough TV and movies to know how to bullshit it so it sounds good despite it all being total bunk. I did some research to get terms right, but I didn't go all Method Writer and spend eight years in a medical library.

Talking of science, 'The Postmortal' naturally focuses just on scientific developments arising from the cure. I know this is outside the book but do you think at least one scientist used his immortality to come up with something worthwhile? I'm still feeling depressed after reading the book (in a good way), cheer me up?

Don't be depressed. Consider this: If science and the eventual advent of advanced artificial intelligence can make us immortal, think about how that same collective brain power can help solve other problems like energy shortages and overpopulation. Because it can and it may. Also, I'm real sorry I depressed you. I wanna buy you a meat pie or something.

Funnily enough, I could really go for a meat pie round about now... You write in a number of other fields, are we likely to see more science fiction from you in the future? I’ve got a feeling that there won’t be a sequel to ‘The Postmortal’...

Nope, but there likely will be more social sci-fi from me.

And finally, why should we all be picking up ‘The Postmortal’ and checking it out?

Because you'll be making my ass money.  And because the book is fucking METAL.

Good answer there Drew, honesty pays... ;o)

If that hasn't convinced to go and pick up 'The Postmortal' then have a look at my review over Here. Do check the book out though, I promise you it's worth it.

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