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June 2008
Locus Magazine
Daniel Abraham: The Long Price
Daniel Abraham was born in Albuquerque NM, earned a biology degree from the University of New Mexico, and spent ten years in working tech support. He now writes full time.

Abraham's first story sale was "Mixing Rebecca" in 1996. Notable stories include International Horror Guild Award winner "Flat Diane" (2004) and current Hugo finalist "The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairytale of Economics" (2007). Novella "Shadow Twin" (2004), written with George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, formed the basis for novel Hunter's Run (2008).

Abraham's debut novel was A Shadow in Summer (2006), first in the Long Price fantasy quartet. A Betrayal in Winter followed in 2007, with An Autumn War due in July 2008 and The Price of Spring forthcoming.
Photo by Beth Gwinn

Official site:
Excerpts from the interview:

“In '96 when I was living in New York, I sold my first story to Ann VanderMeer at The Silver Web (back when she was Ann Kennedy). I was sleeping on the kitchen floor of a friend's place in Staten Island. She had this nice little closet with a window, and I set my computer up there and wrote 'Mixing Rebecca'. It was a story about a sound engineer who was cripplingly shy, and decided the way she could meet people without all the anxiety was to follow someone she wanted to meet and record all the sounds in their lives, and mix the song that was their life.

“Years afterward, I got e-mail from this guy who was a sound engineer who had done an album called 'Rebecca Remix', and whose name was Daniel Abraham! He wanted to know if my name really was Daniel Abraham and whether I had been intentionally following him around and taking titles from his work for mine -- which I could see as being creepy. A Twilight Zone moment.


“George [R.R. Martin] and Gardner [Dozois] apparently liked what I did at Clarion, and they asked me to participate in their collaborative project. George invited me out to this nice dinner in Santa Fe (he was paying for it), and said, 'So, Daniel, how do you feel about a three-way with two old fat guys?'

“They gave me the manuscript they had, about 20,000 words long. I cut a third of it and wrote an ending -- that was just for the novella. 'Shadow Twin' appeared first on Sci Fiction, then got reprinted in Asimov's and the Year's Best Short Novels. Then Subterranean did a chapbook version. So we just kept selling and selling that one. It would not die!

“When we got to writing the novel version, Hunter's Run, we threw everything out. There were things we had skimped on in the novella because we didn't have enough room. Now we all did different passes. I have heard from other folks who've collaborated this way, but I think the usual assumption is that this big-name person has found some poor bastard to do the work. Not so in my case. But I'm hoping people who read the book will say, 'Who is this Daniel Abraham creature and why is he messing up this wonderful George R.R. Martin story?' -- then go and look at my stuff.”


“I've also done two novels of my own, A Shadow in Summer and A Betrayal in Winter, with two more to go in the Long Price Quartet. To go past the original volume, I took different standalone stories from my main characters. The first book is from when he's 20, the second mid-30s, the third 50s, the last one mid- to late-60s (and in the Epilog he's in his 80s). It tracks the changes in his life and the changes in his world, and how they relate, so it's about watching how much the world changes in the course of a single lifetime.”


“Writers are a basically insecure bunch. We are convinced that everything we do sucks, all the time. It's something you have to fight. The best way to make sure that your writing will never be particularly good is to use it for something besides telling the story. And I think there's a real tension between sophistication and accessibility.

“There are two games: making pretty things and selling them. The strategies for one don't overlap with the strategies for the other. Generally speaking, the one where you make pretty things is chess, where you have perfect control. You're sitting at the keyboard, you can make any decision you want, structure it as cleanly or as sloppily as you like -- you can do anything. There's no luck involved. It's mechanical, it's perfect, and it stops when you print it out. Then there's the selling of it, and that's gambling.”


“Everybody's writing science fiction now -- you can write SF that's set in the present. A bunch of the folks in the mainstream are realizing there's some really fun stuff here, and cannibalizing us. That's fine. Fantasy is probably not going to do that, because there's a different dynamic. Fantasy is profoundly nostalgic in a way that science fiction isn't, and the nostalgia market is not affected by the rate of technological change the way SF is. I think fantasy is going to keep right on being big, because we're going to need a lot of nostalgia.”

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