ad info
   first chapters
   reader's cafe

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

 video archive
 multimedia showcase
 more services

Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Get a free e-mail account

 message boards

CNN Websites
 En Español
 Em Português


Networks image
 more networks

 ad info



Author tickled -- and nervous -- to collaborate with Arthur C. Clarke


February 2, 2000
Web posted at: 11:40 a.m. EST (1640 GMT)

By Jamie Allen
CNN Interactive Senior Writer

(CNN) -- Science fiction writer Stephen Baxter says when he first started collaborating with Arthur C. Clarke on the new novel "The Light of Other Days" he was a bit nervous.

Clarke is, after all, the author of groundbreaking novels like "2001: A Space Odyssey" and, oh yeah, the guy who dreamed up the idea of communication satellites.

But Clarke, 82, is also the one who initiated the idea to work with the 42-year-old Baxter, whose previous work includes the novels "The Time Ships" and "Moonseed." Clarke drew up a four-page outline and sent it to Baxter via email. (They had earlier worked on a short story together).

So while Baxter was a little nervous about writing a novel with Clarke, he got over it.

"It was easier by email than face-to-face," Baxter said by telephone from his home east of London. "I could kind of forget that it was Arthur and imagine he was one of my writing buddies."

"The Light of Other Days" (Tom Doherty Associates) is the story of an industrialist who discovers by accident a way for people to see each other at all times, even in their most private moments. Later, it is discovered how to see into the past. The book follows the ramifications of such a discovery.

Baxter says he and Clarke based their book's futuristic ruminations on quantum physics.

"The science of our gadgets is based on wormholes, so it's all Einstein's relativity," says Baxter. "But we put it to such outrageous uses.

"I do think some of these things are possible," he says. "It may not come about the way we sketched it there ... but I'm convinced we're going to learn more and more about the past as we go on and something like that vision is going to be there in the future."

The book is highly anticipated. Baxter says it took he and Clarke four months to write it, all by email correspondence. Once they decided on an outline for the book, Baxter took the first stab at writing it, and Clarke played helper.

"I started typing the first draft, and Arthur did research," says Baxter. "And Arthur, being Arthur, was able to tap the world's experts on President Lincoln, for instance. And back would come (by email) -- within a day -- a 4,000-word essay on the aspect of Lincoln I was looking for. It was scary, but fantastic.

"He was my gopher, you know," laughs Baxter.

After several drafts, Baxter says he's happy with the outcome.

"I really wanted it to be an Arthur Clarke book," says Baxter. "It's basically an Arthur Clarke idea, so I wanted it to be an Arthur Clarke book, the kind I've always loved. So if the critics enjoy it in that way, it would be terrific."

Kubrick remembered as filmmaker who transcended the medium
March 8, 1999

Arthur C. Clarke Extra Terrestrial Relays
Clarke on the role of the information technology
An interview with Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter fan page
The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation
Arthur C. Clarke Fan Club Homepage
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Cornwell's 'Sharpe' digs into history
Channeling the war prose of Ernie Pyle
Disgraced writer fictionalizes fictions
The guy who couldn't make up his mind
Chronicle of a drug addict
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.