Pat Cadigan

Hans Persson

Pat Cadigan är född i Schenectady, New York och har bott på diverse olika platser i USA. Numer är hon gift med Chris Fowler och bosatt i London. Hon har en son från ett tidigare äktenskap. Följande böcker av Pat Cadigan finns utgivna:

Mindplayers (1987).

Patterns (1989; noveller).

Synners (1991).

Letters From Home (1991; noveller; tillsammans med Karen Joy Fowler och Pat Murphy).

Fools (1992).

Home by the Sea (1993; noveller).

Dirty Work (1993; noveller).

The Making of Lost in Space (1998; non-fiction).

En Lost in Space-spinoff-roman, vet inte om den kommit ut. Har ingen titel att bjuda på just nu (1998)

Tea From an Empty Cup (1998).

The Web: Avatar (utkommer 1998; ungdomsroman).

Både Synners och Fools har vunnit Arthur C. Clarke-priset.


Interview with Pat Cadigan done by Hans Persson at Intercontact '98 in Oslo, 1998-07-05. Transcribed by Hans Persson.

Hans Persson: I've been cheating a little bit by reading through The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction about you and apparently you started out in the late 70s, sometime.

Pat Cadigan: I made my first professional sale in 1979 and it didn't appear until 1980.

Hans Persson: You're an 80s writer.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. Start of the 80s, really.

Hans Persson: How long had you been writing before getting published?

Pat Cadigan: All my life. I made my first professional submission to a science fiction magazine in 1973 but I started sending things out regularly with an eye to regularly producing short stories and trying to get published in 1975. I almost made my first sale in 1975 or 76 to an American magazine called Vortex but it went out of business. In retrospect, I'm really glad that that was not my first story.

Hans Persson: Why have you been writing all your life, then?

Pat Cadigan: Because I'm one of those people fortunate enough to know exactly what I wanted to do all my life.

Hans Persson: You always wanted to be a writer?

Pat Cadigan: Yes. Well, I always wanted to write. As soon as I found out that there were people who produced books, they didn't just sort of magically congeal on the bookshelves, I knew that that was what I wanted to dedicate my life to.

Hans Persson: Is there a tradition in your family?

Pat Cadigan: No. Well, not really. My mother was in high school during the great depression in the US and going to college was just not an option as far as she was concerned. When she graduated from high school her teachers told her she should go to college and major in journalism, that she should become a journalist, because she really did have a flair for writing. My mother said it wasn't possible. Her oldest brother offered to put her through college but she didn't feel that she could accept that kind of help, so she never did write, or try to write, although she did tell me a lot of very ingenious stories when I was a kid and I figure that's probably where it comes from.

Hans Persson: You have a story telling tradition even though it's not in the written form.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. She would have been a good writer.

Hans Persson: When you started out writing, did you start with science fiction writing from the beginning?

Pat Cadigan: When I was a little kid, I was always starting out novels and after a while they were always science fiction novels and then I got into bad poetry writing for a while as you do. Puberty is bad poetry time. But I always returned to science fiction and I don't seem to think about writing fiction unless there's a fantastic element to it, I mean I don't just write science fiction, I've written fantasy, and I've written horror at shorter lengths and to me a story comes to me with a fantastic element, whether it's a science fiction element or a fantasy element or a horror element, you know, that's just what it is.

Hans Persson: Obviously, you've been reading science fiction and so on since this time.

Pat Cadigan: Oh yes.

Hans Persson: Do you read non-genre literature?

Pat Cadigan: All the time. I read a lot of non-genre literature, I read a lot of mainstream literature, I read a lot of non-fiction. I've gotten a new appreciation for non-fiction as entertainment from doing research. I've just found myself being very entertained by a lot of non-fiction and I read a lot of mysteries. I really love to read mysteries for fun and I read a lot of horror. Of course, I do read a fair amount of science fiction, although less and less traditional hard good old science fiction as I get older. I'm really more interested in pushing the envelope in cross-pollinating. My latest novel is a science fiction mystery or a mystery that happens to be science fiction and my next novel will also be a mystery, either a mystery that happens to be science fiction or a science fiction mystery.

Hans Persson: Who would you recommend reading today? Favorite authors that are active now?

Pat Cadigan: Gwyneth Jones, absolutely. Tricia Sullivan, Kim Newman, Paul McAuley, Jeff Noon who wrote Vurt and Pollen, Automated Alice and Nymphomation. Nymphomation is my favorite of the books he's written. There's a book called The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I have problems with it, but as a story it absolutely succeeds in that I had to read all the way through it and find out how it ended. I have some issues with it but that's not a big problem for me.

Hans Persson: It's not necessarily a bad thing either.

Pat Cadigan: No. To argue with a book in the mind makes it very successful even though you're arguing the book is wrong. Lew Shiner; I don't know how available his work is, his last book was called Glimpses and it was another book that I argued with all the way through. It won the World Fantasy Award a few years ago. I think it's out of print now, unfortunately, but if you can find it it's a fantastic book, it's beautifully written, it's a hugely gripping story and it just succeeds on every level and all the way through I argued with it and argued with it and argued with it, it was like it was me and the book fighting it out.

Hans Persson: It's a book that makes you think.

Pat Cadigan: I love that kind of thing. I just love that kind of thing.

Hans Persson: It would probably stay with you. If it makes you think while you're reading it, you will keep on coming back to it.

Pat Cadigan: Oh definitely. Most definitely. I'm reading a book now, I'm carrying it around with me [rummages in her bag] this book here called Time on My Hands, this is particularly interesting to me as an American. It's about a guy who is sent back in time by another guy and his mission is to make sure that Ronald Reagan never becomes president of the US and I love that. Now he's back in Hollywood in the 40s and he's trying to make it as a writer and what's fascinating is that there are little photographs throughout the book, here and there.

Hans Persson: These are authentic?

Pat Cadigan: Yes. They're authentic photographs from that time and it's like the evocation of that time. It's very good, it's excellent. He's done all his homework, it's a lot of fun but Peter Delacorte is not someone who's known as a science fiction writer.

Hans Persson: It's alternate history?

Pat Cadigan: Right now, it's a time travel story. I don't know if it's going to turn out to be alternate history or not, because I haven't finished it yet.

Hans Persson: It depends on what happens.

Pat Cadigan: Lots of times when writers who are not mainly known as science fiction writers go into the genre, they end up re-inventing the wheel and thinking they're terribly clever.

Hans Persson: ''Look at this new device I found!'', invented in the 40s.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. Alternative history, this is new and we're all like, you know, [choking sound], but a few years ago, Paul Theroux wroteThe title is O-Zone... I'm drawing a blank on the name right now and he thought that he was just terribly clever to have thought this up and it was just a terribly unoriginal type of book. I tried to read it and it was like why bother. Let's see, what have I read lately that I was so taken with? Sometimes I read like mad and I can't stop and I'm trying to finish a book of my own now and that seems to be the time when I read most.

Hans Persson: Oh, it is?

Pat Cadigan: Yes. When I actually can't afford the time to do it.

Hans Persson: I've heard a few other writers say exactly the opposite thing: ''I read lots, but never when I'm writing.''

Pat Cadigan: I always read when I'm writing. I always do. Basically so that I can have something other than the sound of my own voice in my head.

Hans Persson: I think it was Peter Hamilton who said that he kept putting books on a pile when he was writing himself and when he finally was finished he'd go through the pile.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. There are books that I pile up for later and books that I pile up for right then, when I'm working, but there are some books that require maybe too much intellectual effort. It's not necessarily because they're so complicated, maybe it's just the style that they're written in. They may be too dense, the subject matter may be wrong, whatever. It's not that I read a lot of very slight books when I'm working, it's just whatever tastes good to me at the time.

Hans Persson: If you're writing something in a historical setting you wouldn't want to read something set in a different historical setting.

Pat Cadigan: Maybe, maybe not. It would just depend on how demanding the book was and how demanding the book I was writing was versus the book I was reading was.

Hans Persson: How are you working? Do you work nine to five, everyday?

Pat Cadigan: When I was writing my first stories I had a full-time job, and I had a writing job. I worked at Hallmark Cards, greeting cards and I had to work all day and then I came home, I took a break and then I wrote half the night, got two hours of sleep and back to work the next day and wrote all weekend. When I wrote my first novel I was still working full-time and I was taking care of my son who was a baby then and I was writing my first novel so I would work all day, come home, take care of my son, start writing at ten or eleven at night, go until two in the morning, drop dead and get up and start it all over again. Finally, when my son was about two and two months, I quit my full-time job and went to writing full-time, partly because I always wanted to write full-time but also because I felt I was missing so much of my son's life by all those hours away during the day so a lot of my schedule revolved around my son's schedule. I wrote whenever I could get the time to write, depending on whether he was awake or asleep or whatever. When he went to school, I had to confine a lot of my writing to the hours when he was in school. Now he's going to be thirteen next week and he's not as dependent on me so I have a little more time to choose when I want to write and when I don't. Generally, these days I kind of write whenever I can. I don't necessarily go nine to five during the day but the fact is whatever I'm doing I'm writing and I may not necessarily be sitting right in front of the computer writing. I have a palmtop and sometimes I go out to a club, I love drum and base music, and I sit in the pounding drum and base music and put on the backlight on my palmtop and write. I don't do that every night, just maybe a couple of nights a month. Or I'll go out, maybe to the south bank, bring my laptop or my palmtop with me and write there.

Hans Persson: Sounds nice.

Pat Cadigan: It's great! London's a great town to be a writer in. That's a really longish answer to a very simple question but the fact is when you're somebody's mother, it's like fate is whimsical with you and you may get weird hours for the opportunity to write and you just have to take them if you can.

Hans Persson: How does your son feel about you being a writer? It is not the standard occupation for mothers.

Pat Cadigan: No, no it isn't. When he was younger and I was still married to his father, his father's an artist and I'm a writer and he kind of takes it for granted that...

Hans Persson: All parents are at home doing things.

Pat Cadigan: Well, his father was still working for Hallmark and he liked it that I was home, he doesn't really have a memory of the time when I had a job and occasionally, when he got too demanding, when he tried to cut into writing time and he was supposed to be doing something else, he'd tell me he was going out with a friend or he's supposed to be playing and he'd come in and I'd tell him that I'd have to get a job if he not let me work. He was always dead set against me getting a job. He wants me to be right there where he can keep an eye on me. It doesn't really sink into him that I'm the writer Pat Cadigan. I took him to his first world science fiction convention in 1994 when it was held in Canada and we met Robert Silverberg. I've known Robert Silverberg for several years. ''Robert Silverberg''. It put me in such a good stead with Robert Silverberg, you know Bob was all thrilled because it was Robert Silverberg and George R. R. Martin who has been an old friend of mine for years. Bob calls him the steamboat man because Bob really likes steamboats. One day the sci-fi channel was on at home a few months after that and they were running an interview with George and Bob was so excited, yelling for me to come down so I ran downstairs, I said what is it he said ''Steamboat man's on television, he's famous. We know someone famous.'' I said really Bob, really. Oh, that's good.

Hans Persson: You were active or at least actively publishing, I don't know about you personally, in the cyberpunk movement.

Pat Cadigan: How do you mean?

Hans Persson: You are one of those marketed as original, in the forefront when it all started. Gibson, Sterling, etc. How did that happen?

Pat Cadigan: I don't know. I was ...

Hans Persson: Were you collected as a group in the same place?

Pat Cadigan: In the Mirrorshades anthology.

Hans Persson: Yes, I mean geographically. Did you meet and discuss things at the time?

Pat Cadigan: I think they did but I didn't. I knew Bruce from having met him briefly. I know Lew Shiner because my then husband and I published a semi-professional magazine. We published some of Lew's work and I didn't know Bill Gibson or John Shirley and I'm not sure that I'd heard of anybody else. I was just working and not paying much attending. I'd read Bill's work and really liked it but as I said, I lived in Kansas city, Lew and Bruce were in Texas, Gibson was in Vancouver and Shirley was in California. They're sort of all over the place and this is kind of the dawn of computer bulletin boards and things like that and I didn't have a computer then, I wasn't in that scene.

Hans Persson: Neither was Bill, I think.

Pat Cadigan: He was in touch, he knew John and he and Bruce knew each other. One day, out of the blue, I got this manila envelope from someone named Vince Omniaveritas and it was full of this little rag called Cheap Truth and there'd been something like 12-13 issues and I pulled it out and I looked through it and my name was mentioned a few times along the way and this sort of ranting and everything. The group of writers that I was mentioned with, that I was very pleased to be mentioned with because I liked their work very much and thought much of it, but I was also quite surprised that someone would mention me in connection with that. I knew Bruce's work, I knew Lew's and then I pulled out an old fanzine that Lew Shiner had sent me in which people had done a lot of work under pseudonyms and he'd given me a key to all the pseudonyms, he was Sue Denim and Bruce was Vince Omniaveritas and I thought that was interesting, so I didn't tell Bruce that I knew and then, finally it came out and Bruce wrote me and said it's actually me and the first time that we were actually all together was... I met Bill in 1983, the worldcon in Baltimore and that's where I met Rudy Rucker but I didn't really hang out with them. Then in 1985, there's a big convention in Texas that was kind of the north American replacement for the worldcon because it was in Australia that year and we were on the cyberpunk panel and Lew Shiner was supposed to be the moderator but this weird guy came in and he said that he was moderating but he didn't know what he was talking about, he was a movie writer or something but he wasn't a science fiction writer like we were and it was Rudy Rucker, Lew Shiner, John Shirley and this weird guy and me and Greg Bear.

Hans Persson: I think I have read this panel. It's in Science Fiction Eye?

Pat Cadigan: Yes. No, that was a slightly different panel, I think. Anyway, we were all on it and Lew and Bruce and John got up and walked out at one point because it was so stupid. It was a total loss as a panel, it was at a point where we might have been able to give a lot of really valuable insights but the moderator, the guy had come in and taken over as moderator, was completely clueless and rude and several people in the audience were equally rude and it was a waste of time. I didn't walk out and Rudy Rucker didn't walk out because we'd come a long way to go to the convention and to go there to walk out, you know, that was the way we put it. The panel that you probably read about in Science Fiction Eye was something else, it happened in, I think it was in California, the baycon or something, Norman Spinrad and John Shirley and Greg Benford were on the panel and David Brin was in the audience. I read the transcript of that panel too.The transcribed panel, ''Cyberpunk or Cyberjunk?'', is published in Science Fiction Eye 1 and also features Jack Williamson.

Hans Persson: Do you feel that you have been put in the cyberpunk hole, so to speak, now?

Pat Cadigan: No, I don't think cyberpunk is a hole.

Hans Persson: Have you been pigeonholed as a cyberpunk writer?

Pat Cadigan: Not any more. Cyberpunk is bigger than a pigeonhole now, if there's any pigeonhole it's science fiction, in general. There are different subgenres, but cyberpunk to me...

Hans Persson: If you mention William Gibson to someone, they will think of cyberpunk, definitely.

Pat Cadigan: Yes, but the thing is it's simply because he gave us the word cyberspace, so he's completely identified with having invented practically that part of science fiction. It isn't quite true but modern cyberpunk as we know it, yes, definitely. Focused, at least in Bill's work, I don't feel particularly pigeonholed because the elements of cyberpunk have been very quickly absorbed into science fiction in general, but also into the mainstream. What it is is actually, rightly or wrongly, I feel as though I'm more regarded as someone who knows about that stuff, rather than someone who's been pigeonholed. As I said, if there's a pigeonhole, I've been pigeonholed as a science fiction writer.

Hans Persson: Do you feel that's a problem? Would you like to be just a writer? You mentioned yesterday you had a horror novel finished.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. I think if the horror novel is worth my time, I'll eventually rewrite it and sell it and that'll be OK. This was back in the 80s when I had mentioned this to my agent, 80s or early 90s, things change so much, I'm not really having a problem with being identified as a science fiction writer. I have a problem with the way a lot of people in the mainstream regard science fiction, science fiction authors and science fiction readers. I'll give you an example: last year I was invited to the New Zealand national convention and I went out to New Zealand and had a great time and a TV station came in and they went looking for the weirdest people that they could possible find. There were two or three guests of honor, one of them was Danny John-Jules of Red Dwarf and another was me and there was another guy from a movie studio who had worked on the sheep in the movie Babe about the singing pig and they weren't interested in talking to us at all, they went looking for the weirdest people. Strangely costumed, bizarre-looking people. One of the fans said ''Oh, it's the sad bastard factor.'' And I thought that there are some sad bastards here, but they are not any of the convention attendees. There were these two guys at the convention who did something that I thought was incredibly clever. Mars Attacks had just come out and they'd gone into a grocery store and bought broccoli and they had this broccoli dressed up and it looked like the Martians, the broccoli-heads, and they were the Martian's keepers and they ran around with the broccoli. I had my picture taken with the broccoli and the two keepers and everything and it was so funny, I thought it was so witty, but of course they were filmed and I'm sure that they were made to look completely ridiculous and pathetic and I think that that's pretty sad. I don't like being regarded that way, but that's the way a lot of people see it. I've been condescended to by reviewers and interviewers more times than I can count. When I was living in the Kansas City area, the review editor of the Kansas City Star was this guy named Steve Paul, he's since become the arts editor, and he was a little shit because the first thing he told me was that of course he was too grown up to read science fiction anymore, he'd read it when he was a kid but he outgrew it. OK, Steve, I get it. You're too mature and you're too important to bother reading my work, so why don't you just fuck off? But of course I didn't say that, I always have been very courteous to him but it's like I'm kind of sorry because now I'd like to tell him to fuck off, because when Isaac Asimov died, he wrote an obituary where, rather than talk about Asimov's towering achievements, not only as a scientist and a professor of science, a science popularizer and a science fiction writer. Asimov wasn't my favorite science fiction writer, but for a long time he was my favorite science writer because he helped me when school was incomprehensible to me, but he did write a fair stick, he really did. He's not going to go down as anybody's idea of Steinbeck or Hemingway.

Hans Persson: But he's definitely a classic.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. Absolutely.

Hans Persson: He has written several seminal works.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. He is the father of the science fiction robot. There were robots before in science fiction, but Asimov really gave them life, in the same way that Gibson gave computers life. So his obituary had to start out with how he'd read a lot of science fiction when he was younger but he'd outgrown it, he was much more mature now. There was all the stuff between the lines and I want to call him up and tell him ''Meet me somewhere'' so that I can beat him with a piece of pipe because Asimov didn't deserve that, as I said, I'm not a fanatical Asimov fan, but I thought that frankly it did not show enough respect to someone who was frankly a hundred times smarter than he was and it's like I'm glad that you've outgrown everything, but Asimov wrote over 200 books on just about every subject from science to Shakespeare. What have you done, pal? It's the attitude that bothers me more than being pigeonholed as a science fiction writer. I'm not into the being in the field in the subculture sort of way, but I love the idea of science fiction, I love writing science fiction, reading science fiction. Good science fiction to me, there's nothing better. There's almost nothing better because it's got all the features of a terrific book plus a terrific thought experiment as well, it's like it's got to be nine times smarter than anything else that you read. I don't have a problem being associated with that, I have a problem with the way other people look at it. I feel that they're the ones with the problem, I don't think that I'm the sad bastard in this case.

Hans Persson: You said you're not interested so much in the subculture and so on. Have you been involved in fandom, before being a writer?

Pat Cadigan: Well, I used to belong to Science Fiction Writers of America when I lived in America and after a while it seemed that the biggest issue that they were concerned with was the qualifications for membership in SFWA and it got to the point where being a member of the science fiction writers of America was all about being a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America. It was not enough about the problems that writers were facing. Lately there was a change in leadership for a while and the people who were heading up the organization did have a very difficult issue to face when the people who were licensing Star Wars books wanted to stop paying royalties, they wanted to pay a flat fee and then no more royalties and, you know, that is horse shit, that is completely unacceptable. I have no desire to write Star Wars books, I would rather puke on a Star Wars book, but I'd fight for any writer to get royalties, I would fight for any writer to write a Star Wars book and maintain their royalties for it. I'll puke on it later. The leadership at that time was people like George R. R. Martin, people who've worked with media. He's written movies and he's written TV and he knows damn well that they can afford to be generous, they can spare the royalties, so these were savvy people but I still didn't renew my membership because I just was not as interested in the issues involved in being a member of the organization. I'm really more interested in issues that face all kinds of writers.

Hans Persson: You're more interested in the writing than the stuff around it.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. I'm more interested in writing, I'm more interested in the research, I'm more interested in learning and expanding my horizons and being able to talk with other writers regardless of what they write. I'm interested in having a bigger audience that just focusing my work on people who read science fiction if you see what I mean. There's a fair amount of a clubby type of writing that's done which is basically ''what are the fans reading, I'm going to write this for the fans''. I'm not saying that I'm not writing for people who read science fiction but I don't want to confine my work to that.

Hans Persson: Would you like to have a second career or much larger audience like Iain Banks who is kind of two people rolled into one?

Pat Cadigan: I'd like to stay one person but I think actually that everyone should be aiming at trying to involve as many readers as possible and not just sort of focusing on a narrow band, only because that's a closed system, a closed system cannot survive. An open system.

Hans Persson: If you write for the middle of the road, a few people fall of, and then you write for the middle of the road again with a lesser amount of people...

Pat Cadigan: Yes. On the other hand, years and years ago -- god, eighteen years ago -- I went to this writers' conference and Robert Bloch was there and I'd met him five years before that. Robert Bloch was one of the sweetest, nicest people in the world and I found him just remarkable. I decided I would try to model my behavior on Robert Bloch because he treated everyone with the utmost respect and courtesy, anyone who came up to him to ask for his autograph got it and he talked to you, he treated everyone with respect, whether they were the greenest fan or the most eminent old pro or anywhere in between and he...

Hans Persson: He was originally from fandom, so he would know.

Pat Cadigan: Yes, he would. He credited fandom, he said ''Fandom is really what keeps our work alive. Most people can't name the Pulitzer winner or the Nobel winner from 1963, but a lot of science fiction writers can name the Hugo winner from that year'' And he said the books that won the Pulitzer that year probably aren't in print, but the one that one the Hugo that year is. Of course this was back in 1980, publishing was different then, people's backlist was in print, but yes, that was true. He said fandom is what gives us more readers, keeps our work alive, keeps us alive. He really felt indebted to the fans for just keeping his books in print, making the demand for them, I had to give him that but I think any time you confine your interest to any narrow area, you immediately start losing some kind of vitality. It's really important to get input from the outside, to not get too incestuous with your work.

Hans Persson: Are you interested in writing as such, so to speak? I think you mentioned yesterday ''my students'' or something. What do you teach?

Pat Cadigan: Occasionally, I teach Clarion West. I taught Clarion West in 1992 and again in 1996. I taught seminars from time to time and there are certain things that I always tell my students whether it's a one-day seminar or a week-long gig like Clarion West. There are certain things that I tell them repeatedly and tell every class. One of them is don't waste my time about whether you're talented or not. OK, you're talented. It doesn't mean anything. Persistence often means a lot more than talent. There are things, if you don't manifest immediately as a brilliant writer, that doesn't mean anything either. My early work shows absolutely no sign of much potential and I had published maybe half a dozen short stories before I made a leap up in terms of my ability and it's practicing a craft like writing that really makes you better. You can become a better writer, you don't stay at the level you started out but if you don't write, if you don't take the chance of falling on your face and looking stupid, turning out the odd, bad story, you're not going to get any better.

Hans Persson: You have to take chances.

Pat Cadigan: Yes.

Hans Persson: How do you feel about writing about Lost in Space now?

Pat Cadigan: Well, I did that because I had gotten an assignment for writing the making of book for the movie and I think that I probably got that assignment out of desperation. I think they had no one else to do it. I happened to be living in England, I was an American who had the background in the original series, I knew what it was, I watched it when I was a kid and I took the assignment first and foremost because of the money. I've never gotten that much money for a book and, you know, writers don't live on extraordinary fortunes, it wasn't much money, it was not a fortune but it was more than I'd ever gotten for one of my own books. It was all filmed at Shepperton Studios just outside of London, so I took the train down there and I had probably the most fun that I ever had doing the book and I'd never done this sort of thing before, not at book length. I had done a non-fiction article for Omni Magazine where I traveled with a carnival sideshow in Canada in December. They were on tour and they were doing clubs and that was great, there were a lot of hideous moments, but all told it was great. I went down and I had no idea of what I was doing.

Hans Persson: You don't have a background in film of any kind?

Pat Cadigan: I have no film background, nothing like that. I looked through a lot of making of books, kind of got an idea.

Hans Persson: It's kind of the assignment that Douglas Adams talks about in his Last Chance book, he's the gawking writer, supposed to follow the zoologist around, reporting about it without actually knowing anything about what these animals are.

Pat Cadigan: To a certain extent. The problem was that I got the assignment very late. Filming had started in March, I didn't get the assignment until July.

Hans Persson: No time to read up.

Pat Cadigan: No time to do anything. Fortunately the publishers provided me with some taped interviews with the major stars because they just didn't have time to give interviews. I was able to interview the two youngest performers but the people I was most interested in were the people doing the special effects, and fortunately they wanted to give me all the time in the world. They were perfectly happy to give me long interviews and all the information that I needed. I didn't get as much information as I wanted because eventually we just got deadlined, material had to be turned in for the book and it had to go into production at a certain time and I couldn't get everything that I wanted to, particularly on the special effects but I did manage to cover at least some of it. I'm very proud of the book that I did and I think it stands with just about any other making of book with the possible exception of anything written by the person who does the special effects. The Making of Independence Day was co-written by Volker Engle who did the visual effects on that films.

Hans Persson: I have no idea, what kind of sales does a book like this have, compared to a novel?

Pat Cadigan: Beats the hell out of me. All I know is that the American edition is sold out and they are trying to decide whether it will be worth going into a second printing on it. They may not because the movie was not necessarily the big hit they were hoping it would be.

Hans Persson: I don't think it's been released here yet.

Pat Cadigan: No, not yet. It won't come out in England till the end of July. There's a separate British edition that is just being published from a different publisher and I've got my fingers crossed that everyone will feel that deep abiding need to own a copy of The Making of Lost in Space which will make my publishers very happy and make me very happy. I have got a little tiny percentage for royalty on this and I could actually see some money on it, so after I heard that they wanted to do spin-off novels and having immersed myself in Lost in Space, by the time I was done, I had a very intimate understanding of the characters in the movie which do not duplicate the characters in the old TV series.

Hans Persson: I haven't seen either.

Pat Cadigan: The old TV series is regarded as somewhat campy. It originally started out as kind of straightfaced science fiction and then ended up being campy For instance Dr. Smith is really a cartoon character in the TV series, in the movie he's much more of an actual person, he's still a villain, but he's not a cartoon character or a much darker cartoon, graphic novel kind of cartoon.

Hans Persson: He's gained depth.

Pat Cadigan: Yes. The family situation is a bit different, it's not quite as whitebread as the old, that was a series from the 60s, they were living in America and everything. The proposal I turned in for a Lost in Space novel was really the one that had the greatest understanding of the type of characters they had and the story situation they had, so I contracted to do that. As I said, I've worked for Hallmark Cards, I wrote greeting cards, I wrote in rhyme, wrote in iambic pentameter in twelve lines. Originally I was hoping to get a three-book contract because I really needed the money, now, I'm just contracted for one book and I'm not going to say never because we never know what happens in the future but I'm not going to actively seek this kind of work again.

Hans Persson: Do you feel it's constricting, creatively, or is it just that you don't want to write spin-offs?

Pat Cadigan: Well, I don't really want to write spin-offs, it's not what I want to do with my life. I don't have a great deal of interest in writing for Star Wars of Star Trek or Blade Runner, the one only spin-off that I was interested in writing for was X-Files and I submitted a proposal for an X-Files novel and was turned down. I don't really have any interest in Millennium, I don't really like it. Some day, I might see something else that I might be interested in writing for, that might capture my imagination but I'm not going to be actively looking to support myself by writing Star Wars or Star Trek or Lost in Space or anything else.

Hans Persson: Have you considered writing scripts?

Pat Cadigan: I have, and I did actually make a try at writing one once but it was for some people who had taken a film option on one of my short stories and they wanted me to write the screenplay but it was low-budget and they wanted me to just write it for free, so I made a stab at it, but I just did not have the time, I could not afford the time to write something for free like that. If the film got made, it would have paid, but it was a big if. Then we basically disagreed on the direction that the script should take and I ended up pulling the option.

Hans Persson: Thank you.

[The interview ends a little bit abruptly since Pat was due in a program item in a couple of minutes.]

LSFF:s hemsida