While websurfing the other day, a rogue wave landed me on Edward Willett's blog with the unlikely but charming name of Hassenpfeffer. Edward and I have more or less agreed to disagree on the proper spelling of Hasenpfeffer (which is my way and the only right one), but I'm convinced his version has an official existence only because of the repeated errors made by non-German speakers. No self-respecting German would ever call it Hassenpfeffer! (Let it go, Janet, let it go...)
Now Edward Willett is not German, he's American, living in Regina, Saskatchewan, where he writes science fiction, among other things. I grew up in Regina more than any other place, so I have a permanent prejudice in favour of anyone living there, and when you throw in the science fiction as well... Of course I was going to explore the website of a Regina science fiction writer! Science fiction is one of those recurring vices in my life that I don't even try to fight very hard.
Following one particularly pernicious link, I came across the excerpt from his latest novel Lost in Translation (no relation to the movie). And I read it. And I liked it.
And this is why I think Edward Willett should be darned to heck. When I start reading a novel, I like to finish it. Now. Preferably in one sitting. Sleeping and eating are optional. This is one book I want to finish. And I can't. It's not in the Ottawa Public Library system. Chapters doesn't have it in stock anywhere in town. So I have to order the book, plus shipping charges or wait until OCTOBER when the paperback comes out.
Those of you with better self-control are invited to take a look at the excerpt. Scroll down a bit to find the Prologue and Chapter One.
I also liked his musings on the relationship between science fiction and reality, scientific and other.
So why write these stories of alternate worlds? Because by doing so, science fiction writers are able to say things about our own world that, because of the unusual setting, sneak by the defenses and prejudices of readers and cause them to think thoughts they might not have otherwise thought.
Don't you just love it when somebody expresses clearly and concisely something you have been thinking for years?
An unrepentant Edward Willett defends himself against accusations of crime. This could turn into a flame war if I could stop giggling.
Technorati tags: Science fiction, Edward Willett