Teodor asked Jeff VanderMeer:
Annihilation and Authority both take distinctly different genres as starting points. It certainly seems to be a more 'controlled' approach than, say, City of Saints and Madmen, which gleefully and deliberately plays around with various genres, styles and voices. Do you think that you're at a point in your career when such 'fine-tuning' is the next logical step?
Jeff VanderMeer Thanks for the interesting question...I don't think there's much of a parallel. City of Saints & Madmen collected a series of connected stories. The better parallel would probably be Veniss Underground, which is also an early book of mine and has a very structured approach. However, within both Annihilation and especially Authority all kinds of other things are being riffed off of in the text, so I'm not sure that's a great parallel either. In any event, both Annihilation and Authority follow one specific character with great intensity, so whatever's in the novels is in a sense dictated by the characters.
More Answered Questions
Chad Post asked Jeff VanderMeer:
Annihilation and Authority bring to mind a few Stanislaw Lem books (Solaris and His Master's Voice in particular) along with the Strugatsky brothers (Roadside Picnic)--do you view Lem & Strugatsky as influences on your work? Which other works by these authors, or works by other fantastic world authors would you recommend to bide the time until Acceptance finally comes out?
Sean asked Jeff VanderMeer:
Even though they are very different books, I felt like your books have a lot in common with "House of Leaves" (the whole Lovecraftian uncertainty, the focus on protagonists who aren't fully aware of the world they're interacting with) and I just wondered if "Leaves" happened to be a book that influenced your thinking or if it's just serendipitous reading on my part.
Chris asked Jeff VanderMeer:
Why do you think there is a chasm in the minds of reviewers, the media, and readers in general between "literary" fiction and "genre" fiction (specifically sci-fi/fantasy)? I often find the most accurate depictions of humanity, its foibles, minor triumphs and resonant truths coming from well-crafted, thoughtful genre fiction authors such as yourself.
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