Friday, September 05, 2008

An interview in Brazil

The Brazilian version of Hybrid Nation has just published an interview with me. For those of you who can't speak Portuguese, here it is in English:

1- How Hybrids was born? Does your work as an environmental journalist influenced your writing in this book?
Hybrids was born alive and kicking in a nest made from all my obsessions! Some of its roots lie in an earlier work, Doc Chaos, some in a postcard I picked up on holiday in Barcelona in 1984, while others are to do with my disability -- I have mild cerebral palsy -- and my interest in comics and the work of Philip Pullman. I try to keep out most of my environmental knowledge, except in my description of the landscape around the Centre for Genetic Rehabilitation, and the swollen snake of the River Thames which has flooded part of London due to global warming. Hybrids is about our obsession with technology and the human, emotional and political repercussions of fear of plague. Some of this comes from a work by Susan Sontag called Illness as Metaphor. In an earlier version of the story set in the Hybrids story world, it was a comics script called the Gene Police, and Major Winter was the main character if you can believe that! I sold options to Marvel comics and to Eclipse comics but neither actually published it. That was in the 1990s. There is much more in some 2007 posts on my Sympathy For The Moon blog. I talk about the difference between a hybrid, a mutant, an android and so on.

2- Some people say that great novel transports the reader and it's like watching a movie. Hybrids can evoke that same experience and maybe one of the reasons is the book's structure that seems wrote to be easily adapted to the silver screen. Do you agree with this and if so, was it something intentional?

Yes this is completely intentional. The turning point for me as a writer was when I did a course in scriptwriting for film and television. I have written TV and film scripts, and plenty of comics which I have also edited. I see things in my mind's eye and write them down. I try to keep the suspense going. However I am not too specific -- it's best to let the reader make their own images in their minds.

3- I'm curious in how exactly Creep works. In Hybrids we have people with guns and musical instruments attached to their bodies. How low the technology can be to "merge" in a human body?

Creep can only work in connection with a gadget that works on electricity. Some guns have electronic parts, at least they do in my future, and this is what Thom Gunn has. The musical instruments are electric guitar and electric bass. Later on in the projected Hybrids series, as scientists discover more about how Creep works, this is related in the narrative. We already know from volume 1 that it is to do with nanotechnology.

4- What was your reaction when you knew that Hybrids would have a Portuguese translation and be published in Brazil?

Absolutely delighted! I have just received a package with the book in and all the publicity material and it looks fantastic. I can use my English and Portuguese editions side by side now to try and learn Portuguese! I think Brazil is a fantastic country of many contrasts and a vibrant culture, and I love much of the films and television that I've seen from your country.

5- Do you have plans to visit Brazil someday?

I can't wait to visit you. It's also an amazing coincidence that the artist I have been working with on adapting Hybrids to comics, Felipe Cunha, lives near Sao Paulo and I will take the opportunity to meet him for the first time as well. I would also like to go and see some rainforest and visit Curitiba.

6- What can you tell us about the sequel?

Books two and three are plotted out. The climax is amazing. Something happens to Johnny and Kestrella that as far as I know has never been put in a book for teenagers before! The journey is full of surprises. The plot thickens and gets much darker with much more at stake. I can't give any details away however.

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