Interview with David Brin

ED- The Eerie Digest has interviewed many exciting and well-known celebrities, but author and scientist David Brin is the most exciting personality that we have had the pleasure of presenting to our readers to date. David, amongst today’s scholars and futurists you are the best known. With many books, stories, TV and speaking experiences, how are you able to juggle all that you do?

DB- Badly! I am spread so thin. My novel KILN PEOPLE foresaw a technology when folks may be able to make lots of cheap, one-day copies of themselves, or “dittoes,” and assign them to take care of all the pesky things that need doing, each day, the ideal servants who know exactly what to do, because they are you. And, by downloading their memories, each night, it really WAS you who did all those things. It was a cry for help! I so want that!

ED- Your works, dealing with the possibilities of the future, include ‘The Postman’, in which Kevin Costner directed and starred in. Your beliefs of what ‘could be’ strikes a chord in my own heart. Your educational background is fantastic and has given you the basis to support much of what you write about. Please tell our readers about your achievements in your education and fields of study.

DB- Well, I did my undergraduate work in physics at Caltech, then got a masters in electrical engineering and a PH.D in astrophysics. But all the while I had this hobby of writing stories. Who knew that civilization would value it much more than my doing science? But that’s the way of it. And who am I to argue with civilization? Anyway, academic credentials are what matters in my line of work. What’s important is curiosity. An eagerness to learn about anything new, or to poke at the human past to see the full panoply of our ancestors’ many mistakes and few-but-important triumphs. A whimsical what-if attitude toward any established habit of thought. If you get those traits, you’ll be burned at the stake in any other culture (as I was, in all past lives, I guess) but in this one you’ll get to be a science fiction author!

ED- You have also had many appearances on television’s ‘The History Channel’ in such popular shows such as ‘The Universe’, ‘Life After People’, ‘Modern marvels’, ‘Tactical to Practical’, and a regular cast member of ‘The ArciTECHS’, just to name a few. Please tell us more about some of these and which ones you feel are the most important to you.

DB-”The ArciTECHS” was a boldly innovative show (http://htyp.org/The_ArchiTECHS) that challenged “five geniuses” to solve an impossible design problem in 48 hours. In the first pilot, a four-star general challenged the design team to come up with a 21st Century replacement for the Humvee. (A design far better than the awful MRAP.) The second pilot – which aired October 2006 – saw former FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, one of the heroes of 9/11, call upon the group to innovate more than a dozen new fire rescue and evacuation tools for skyscraper disasters. Copies can be ordered from the HC web site. I’ve appeared on half a dozen episodes of “The Universe.” Earlier, serving as a futurist pundit, I opened and closed the History Channel show “Life After People” – which became the network’s best-watched telecast ever, with 5.4 million viewers. And a number of other shows. Coming in January, the Colbert Report.

ED- Your novels ‘Sundiver’ (16th printing), ‘Startide Rising’ ( 35th printing), and ‘The Postman’ have achieved many awards. Please tell us about these.

DB- The Hugo Award is voted by the fans of science fiction and the Nebula award by professional authors. They are very nice. But I treasure far more the lovely notes and messages that people send me.

ED- David, we have many college and High School students that read our magazine, including those who write for us from UCLA. Tell us about some of your other works including ‘Kiln People’, ‘Earth’ ( N.Y. Times Bestseller), and ‘Glory Season’.

DB- I’ve described KILN PEOPLE. GLORY SEASON is my feminist utopia… in that it presents a world that was settled with the express purpose of altering human sexual reproduction in ways that would automatically leave women in charge, in a stable, essentially pastoral culture, with men not oppressed… just not very important. It’s actually a lot more fun than I just made it sound. ‘Earth’ is a book for grownups, a close look at the world of 2038, with an eye to trends that might rock and transform humanity. It has been credited with predicting a lot of things… like the recent WikiLeaks Affair! In fact, see a site that has been set up by some meticulous fans, attempting to track my own near-future forecasts, ranking a success-failure rate, especially when it comes to my near-future novel EARTH (1989): http://earthbydavidbrin.pbworks.Com/

ED- You have also written ‘Foundations Triumph’, ‘Brightness Reef’, and so many more. Tell us about these and where our readers can find them.

DB- ‘Foundation’s Triumph’ brings to a grand finale Isaac Asimov’s famed ‘Foundation Universe’. I was asked by Isaac’s heirs to tie together his loose ends. People say I did it pretty well. My science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals to become members of our civilization. (Hey, who can resist dolphins in space!)

ED- Your short stories and graphic novels are numerous as well. Please just name a few of these so that our many readers world-wide can share in them.

DB- A hardcover graphic novel “The Life Eaters” explored alternate outcomes to WWII., after the Nazis use magic to bring back the Norse gods. It won a prize in France. Some of my short stories… including a Hugo Award winner … can be viewed for free at: http://www.davidbrin.com/shortstories.htm

ED- You have also been on many television and radio talk shows and have appeared in countless meetings, defense related consultations, and seminars of some very important companies and organizations. Please relate to our readers about some of these.

DB- Agencies in various countries… not only the United States but Britain, France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Australia and others… are keenly interested in the way the process of change may affect people and institutions. So are many companies and groups. Change is the basic subject matter of the “high-end” of science fiction. See http://www.davidbrin.com/speaker.htm for a list of my speaking engagements and consultations. Other authors do this, too.

ED- What other works do you presently have in planning, and how can people and institutions contact you for future speaking engagements?

DB- I’m hard at work on a sprawling near future novel called “Existence.” Stay tuned! And yes, folks want more Uplift. I do hope to get back to Tom, Creideiki and other Uplift adventures. (I assume you’ve read the SECOND uplift trilogy, starting with ‘Brightness Reef’? ) Till then, see the story “Temptation” downloadable at http://www.davidbrin.com/shortstories.html Some will argue that “Existence,” is uplift! Folks can reach me via my web site http://www.davidbrin.com

ED- David, you have become a personal hero of mine and I can think of at least a hundred more questions to ask you. You have the foresight that causes people to think, and hopefully act, on the wisdom that you endow upon us all. I hope that you can be with us often at The Eerie Digest and to share some more of your wisdom with the many readers and students that read our magazine. I personally want to thank you for your time and hope to have another interview with you again soon.

DB- Thank you … and for your patience!

One Response to “Interview with David Brin”

  1. [...] Tidying my pile of miscellaneous items to share: I gave an interview to “The Eerie Times” – a sci fi fan site – mostly about my career as a science fiction author. [...]

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