Happy Birthday, Stephen Baxter, born 13 November 1957
- We seem to be young, in a very old Galaxy. We’re like kids tiptoeing through a ruined mansion.
- The past is a distraction, a source of envy, enmity, bitterness. Only the present matters, for only in the present can we shape the future.
- Sometimes people say that we’re living in the future, and time’s up for science fiction, but I think that never will be, because science fiction really isn’t about the future. It’s about change and present-day concerns.
- An ability to believe in things that weren’t true was a powerful tool.
- [Science fiction is] like an expression of the concerns of the time, hopes or fears. … it’s like therapy, you’re telling a story because you’re frightened of the future. (via)
- A short story of twenty pages is a lot easier to visualise than a novel of five hundred pages, and a lot easier to study. But paradoxically it’s just as hard in a different way.
- The short stuff requires quite different skills. The one hundred metres race is a whole different discipline from the marathon, and is not easier because it’s shorter. You have to sketch whole landscapes in a few words, characters in a few lines of dialogue. I’d recommend the early Niven as a model of how to do it. It’s a different art form, and the most essential technique is to revise, polish, revise, polish, over and over, until every word is the right word. (via)
- Having a science background helps me look for ideas, understand what’s going on, research, and so on. But it’s not essential.
- Try to conceive of stories you would like to read. What makes you drop everything and turn to a story? A grabby first line, good title, hints of a good concept… Write what would hook you. (via)
Stephen Baxter is a British science fiction author who has degrees in mathematics and engineering. He is the winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. He is also known for the Long Earth series, co-written with Terry Pratchett.