Happy Saturday, gang! I’d like to focus on Sci-fi today and welcome Daniel H. Wilson to the blog! Daniel is the author of the upcoming Robopocolypse (out June 7th!) and was kind enough to take the time to answer a few of my questions. Also up for grabs is a whopping 12 copies of Robopocalypse! Yep, you read right. 12! So be sure to check out the giveaway deets at the bottom of the post, and welcome Daniel to the blog!
Your first novel, How to Survive a Robot Uprising, was published during your last year of graduate school to rave reviews, and was even optioned by Paramount. You then went on to write a sequel, as well as five other novels and a short story. When you started college, did you ever expect to end up as a published writer?
Before I began college, I desperately wanted to be a writer. Over the years, I forgot all about that and decided to be a scientist – which is also something I desperately wanted to be as a kid. But your tendencies have a way of catching up to you, so I found myself writing and writing during grad school. When How to Survive a Robot Uprising was published, I was lucky enough to have the choice to pursue writing for a living. Between the coffee shop and the laboratory, I made my choice.
Now there’s Robopocalypse (coming up on June 7th, 2011), which, for me, is one of the most exciting novels to come along in quite a while. I remember reading it and feeling the same sense of excitement that I felt when I first read The Stand. Why do you think post apocalyptic fiction has become so popular in recent years?
In many ways, I think post apocalyptic fiction has been popular for centuries. Greek heroes visit Hades. Biblical figures are cast out into the unknown. There is a fundamental human thought process that is concerned with forming contingency plans. We love to examine the things we fear most, from dangerous animals to war to the end of the world.
Your breadth of knowledge of robotics in Robopocalypse is obvious. Were you able to draw on your education exclusively or did you have to do some extra research for the novel?
Research research research. I know a lot about intelligent environments, or “smart homes.” That was my thesis area. Other than that, I read technical papers, asked experts, and listened to lectures to round out the robotics aspect of the research. And that’s not even getting started with learning how weapons are carried, how Alaskan drill teams work, or the cultural nuances of elderly Japanese men!
I loved how Robopocalypse was told from different characters’ viewpoints. Who was your favorite character to write?
Nine oh two was my favorite to write. It was great to get inside the machine’s head and take a look at human beings from a wholly alien perspective. I love how earnest the character is, how determined – and also how freaked out he is by people.
How did you celebrate when you found out Stephen Spielberg would direct the movie version of Robopocalypse?
My friends tied a “Congratulations” balloon around my wrist and took me out to bars. They got me very drunk, very quickly. When people would ask what the balloon was congratulating me for, my friends would tell them. Nobody believed the story.
With all of the projects that you have in the works, I imagine it’s hard to find a quiet moment. When you do manage some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Sitting outside in the sun at happy hour, reading the news and keeping an eye on my daughter as she plays with sidewalk chalk at my feet.
Is there any other news you’d like to share with us?
*Giveaway is for 12 copies of ROBOPOCALYPSE to 12 winners!
**GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**