Q & A with Robert Charles Wilson
採訪者：林翰昌 (《時間迴旋》中文版導讀撰寫人 / 英國利物浦大學科幻研究碩士 )、蘇于軒 ( 貓頭鷹出版社行銷企劃 )
What gave you the inspiration to create the story of SPIN?
That's a hard question to answer! I suppose, in the abstract, I was thinking about the vast expanse of time in which we live our terribly short human lives. More concretely, I wanted to force that awareness on some present-day, recognizable characters.
Your stories always well combine the character-oriented literary fiction and high-concept hard SF. But why do you choose to create a non-reality story instead of real-life story? Is there any special reason or certain purpose?
I have always loved science fiction for its broad horizons and its sense of the inevitable strangeness of the future. And since all stories are, in a sense, "non-reality," I see no reason not to fuse character-driven fiction with concept-driven fiction.
Does Jazz music influence you? It seems that Jazz music is a part of power which can pacify human being’s heart in your story.
I was listening to a lot of American jazz when I wrote SPIN. There does seem to be a strange kind of link between jazz and science-fiction -- both are genres that were initially seen as contemptibly "low-class" and raised themselves to respectability. Both adopt a sort of angular, outsider's perspective. Both are capable of great emotional depth, and both occasionally stray into dry intellectuality and sterile self-reference.
There seems to be significant issues in your recent novels, and they indeed dramatically change the fates of humanity and the planet. Do you think the world still changes without such big events, though not so rapidly, but in a way more predictable and better-prepared?
Change seldom happens as dramatically or drastically as it does in some of my novels -- but change is always inevitable and never entirely predictable. I think that's the single fundamental theme of all serious science fiction. Change happens...and it seldom conforms to our expectations.
This one is probably sharp. In the chapter "Rumors of Apocalypse Reach the Berkshires," you've written about Jason's explanation for why most people on the rest of the planet, such as Asians, Africans, believe that "Spin" is a U. S. plot. How did Jason get to such an assertion? Was it because of his faith in Science, or his educational background, or you purposely impose a north-American-centric mindset on him?
這個問題大概有點尖銳。在〈Rumors of Apocalypse Reach the Berkshires〉這一章中，您筆下的傑森解釋了為什麼地球上其他地區的民眾，像是亞洲人、非洲人等，會認為 「時間迴旋」是美國的陰謀。傑森為何如此斷言？是因為他對科學的信念，或是他的教育背景，還是您刻意將他的心態設定成以北美為中心？
The scientific interpretation of the SPIN -- in so far as there is one -- is presumably held in common by educated people all over the world. But paranoid, superstitious explanations carry more emotional power than tentative, pragmatic ones. This is as true in the U.S. as anywhere else, as Diane's experience demonstrates. Jason's remark presumes that skepticism about American intentions, and awe of American space hardware and weaponry, would make "it's a U.S. plot" a commonplace folk explanation in the Third World.
Your new book Axis, which is the sequel to Spin, is going to be published in July. This is the first sequel book you've written. In your opinion, what is the difference between writing a standalone and a series? Would you mind telling more about the fates of the protagonists in this series?
Published in September, actually. You're right that I've never written a sequel. Moreover, Axis is a middle book in a trilogy. (Spin, Axis, Vortex.) Writing a "midle book" was a struggle for me -- especially since I wanted the three books to feel very different from one another. Very few of the characters from Spin reappear in Axis, though they do have a peripheral role to play.
Axis is set in the New World beyond the Arch. It delves into the motives and purposes of the Hypotheticals, and why they have created a kind of maze of new planets for humanity to explore. But it's also an intimate book, almost a mystery story -- not quite as wide-scale as Spin in its viewpoint.
《軸》的背景是「大拱門」（the Arch）之外的新世界。它深入細究引發「時間迴旋」的「假想智慧生物」（the Hypotheticals）真正的動機與目的，以及他們為什麼要建構一連串迷津般的新行星，以供人類發現、探索。不過它也是一部很私密的小說，幾乎和推理故事沒什麼兩樣──並不像《時間迴旋》那麼巨觀。
Vortex, the third book, will carry the characters introduced in Axis into the very far future, and make some ultimate revelations about the Hypotheticals and their interaction with mankind.
(Before I publish Vortex, however, I've taken some time away from the Spin books to write an unrelated novel set in 22nd century America, to be called "Julian Comstock," based on the current Hugo-nominated novella "Julian: A Christmas Story.")
（在《漩渦》出版之前，我會暫時離開「時間迴旋」系列，撥出時間撰寫一本暫時定名為《朱利安‧ 康斯多克》（Julian Comstock）的小說，這本書設定在廿二世紀的美國，從入圍 2006 年雨果獎最佳中篇的作品──《朱利安──一則耶誕故事》（2006，由 PS Publishing 出版）擴充改寫而成。