Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Amazing Interview Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton - Darrell Schweitzer

An informative interview talking about their work and the genre. Closing on 5000 words. Well worth getting. Anyone publishing or working on them would certainly like this.

"AMAZING: What does the term "space opera" mean to you?
BRACKETT: Well, it's a term that rather annoys us both because it has developed into a term of approbrium, for any story that has an element of adventure and action. I happen to like action stories and adventure stories, and to me this sense of wonder and all that goes into a space opera is ab­solutely fascinating. I enjoy space opera and I like writing them.
HAMILTON: Bob Tucker invented that title when he was a fan and I was re­proaching him last spring again for having done so, because when you come right down to it, what are the astronauts' adventures but space op­era? Including especially Apollo 13. That rescue of the men stranded out in space by bringing them back in and towing them with the starter, the module towing the other ship—that's just pure space opera. The old pic­tures on the covers of AMAZING STORIES showing men walking in spacesuits on the moon—they could be taken right from the photographs. I agree with Leigh, of course. I'm an old space opera fan. I don't like to see it mocked.
AMAZING: What is the most important value of this type of writing? BRACKETT: Oh, the sense of adven­ture, the sense of opening up whole vistas of new worlds and possibilities of all sorts of lifeforms, encounters, excitements and all these things. I don't know whether it'll actually occur or not, but when I was young the stories of Mars by Edgar Rice Bur­roughs, which set me on my road to
ruin as a science fiction writer, were so much more fascinating than all the other things I read about Indians and pirates and so on, all of which were quite authentic and real. This was a step beyond and it set me out into such realms of wonder and fascination that I've never been able to leave them. If you want philosophy, that's another matter. I'm writing for enter­tainment and if I want philosophy I'll read philosophy, but I don't particu­larly care to have it mixed with my fiction.
HAMILTON: I think the value is what you might call a seminal value, that bit by bit the old magazine stories fil­tered down through the public mind and established the concept of space travel simply because the people would see so many covers on magazines and so forth, so that it was easier, I think, for the public to ac­cept the space program. We contri­buted nothing directly to it. We didn't even prophesy it correctly, al­though we made some lucky hits, but well, when I was a youngster there was a proverb, "You could as soon do that as fly to the moon." It was a proverb to show something not possi­ble, and I think all this somewhat lurid literature penetrated down to the public to make them accept the space program, which is a costly busi­ness, and I think that's where it's chief value lies."

5 out of 5

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