Science fiction is trying to find alternative ways of looking at realities.
My point has always been that, ever since the Industrial Revolution, science fiction has been the most important genre there is.
Torture is such a slippery slope; as soon as you allow a society or any legal system to do that, almost instantly you get a situation where people are being tortured for very trivial reasons.
By the usual reckoning, the worst books make the best films.
Smell is a very animal thing, almost reptilian, where the more cerebral things like reading less so.
I think a lot of people are frightened of technology and frightened of change, and the way to deal with something you're frightened of is to make fun of it. That's why science fiction fans are dismissed as geeks and nerds.
I'm an only child so am happy with my own company and I don't really get lonely.
I deliberately keep myself apart from a lot of stuff; I don't Tweet, I don't do Facebook, I don't blog, and that's largely because I spend my working life staring at a screen and hitting a keyboard, I am trying to cut down on that, not increase it.
I love writing and can't imagine not being able to do it. I want an easy life and if it had been difficult I wouldn't be doing it. I do admire writers who do it even though it costs them.
I remember being shocked when I discovered some of my school pals didn't have books in their homes. I thought it was like not having oxygen, or hot water.
I've always loved Scotland, and I'm not a huge fan of big cities, to be honest. I like them to dip into for a bit, but I'm not sure I would want to live in one again.
I still find it hard to understand that anyone could argue that you can't have machines that exhibit consciousness.
A lot of what the 'Culture' is about is a reaction to all the science fiction I was reading in my very early teens.
As a writer, you get to play, you get alter time, you get to come up with the smart lines and the clever comebacks you wish you'd thought of.
I just come up with the stories and write them as well as I can. There's not really a great deal of strokey-beard thinking going on.
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