AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Alan Dean Foster

This interview was conducted by Patrick Stephens.

What was the inception of “Seasoning”? How did you approach the story when starting?

The first thing I do when asked to write a story for a themed anthology is try to avoid the obvious. No matter how appropriate a story idea, if it feels obvious, then someone else has likely already thought of it. So I throw it away and strive to go off on another tack.

“Seasoning” has a very apropos message regarding how easily we can become accustomed to a culture that embraces a robotic uprising. Where would you draw the line in regards to machines taking over daily routines and activities?

I don’t mind machines doing something nice for me. I would dislike them doing something nice for me without my approval.

Following with Erikson’s statement of “our humanness is being bred out of us,” and relating it to the current standings of technology against humanity, what would you say has been bred out of humankind?

Take x number of humans, macerate thoroughly, add water and yeast, bake at appropriate temperature. That’s how you get bread out of humankind.

And that’s why we need to be very careful what we allow robots to do for us. The potential for misunderstanding is always present.

 

Along the same vein, what is something that the human race doesn’t question that you can see turning into something more powerful than we could imagine?

I thought we questioned everything, now. Problems arise when we stop questioning things.

What is the appeal of “robot uprising” fiction? Why do writers—or you yourself—write about it? What do you think readers like about it?

People like to be scared. The less human the thing doing the frightening (see: the movie Alien), the more we are scared.  Little is more frightening than something inorganic yet intelligent.

What are some of your favorite examples of robot uprisings (in any media), and what makes them your favorites?

COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT. Very underrated and half-forgotten film based on an actual SF novel. . .a real rarity for the time. Though it’s technically more of a computer uprising.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

The interactive Lovecraftian app THE MOANING WORDS, which I wrote for the French software company Byook. A novelette, VALENTIN SHARFFEN AND THE CODE OF DOOM. And a few other little things I can’t talk about just yet.