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Painful Fiction

(excerpted from Locus Magazine, February 1997)
Larry Niven pic
    Photo by Charles N. Brown

    other interview excerpts

Larry Niven is the author of such sf novels as Ringworld (1970), which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards; The Integral Trees (1984); and, with Jerry Pournelle, Lucifer's Hammer (1977) and The Mote in God's Eye (1974).

"...When I first started writing, and for years afterward, the things I couldn't write about were the things that hurt me. I don't really know why, though it seems natural to me that you don't want to think about what's painful. I was a thoroughly unsocialized person too. Now I can write about what hurts me, and one of the results is, my characters have been getting sick a lot lately! The hero of my next novel, Destiny Road, wrecked his knee surfing--I wrecked my knee surfing..."

"...I turned in Destiny Road this summer... I had problems with the book -- hence the four year delay. I think I kept flinching from writing a man's life story; I've never done that before. Look at the rest of my novels, and every one of them covers a few months or a year, and the crisis is over by the time that's done. But this guy in the new book becomes a late-middle-aged man by the time I get him back to Spiraltown. You watch him for all those years..."

"...My next project started as a story I wrote because I got mad. I got mad because they burned down half my city! ... The next idea was, move Los Angeles 14,000 years into the past, when magic still works, back to the Warlock's era. ..."

© 1997 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.