Neil Stephenson Interview: Can science fiction help solve our biggest problems?

MC: Well, you did a great job asking questions, especially someone like Neil, whose books we’ve all been reading since we were teenagers. And as I said, his philosophy has kind of permeated our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. It must be great to interview someone who looks just like worms on their way into your brain.

With: Oh, well, that’s another thing entirely. I mean yes. I haven’t just read the whole thing… People ask me if I like the book or if I think the book is good. And the only thing I can answer is, “I can’t answer that,” because there’s no… What am I going to do? Didn’t you read it? I’ve read every one of his books since 1992. I still remember the moment I showed him in this interview I held in front of the camera was the copy I bought, because I was cutting my summer job to go to the library and pick the thing. I was like, “What is this?” as you read. The first 30 pages of 40 pages of snow crash are some of the best… They are one of the best threads in the history of science fiction.

It’s like, “What the hell is this?” I have read since then. It’s like when people ask me if I’m thinking about the new season Who is the doctor? Was it any good or something? Well, what am I going to do…there is no answer. I will not watch it. So it doesn’t really matter. I don’t know if it would be for you, but it is mine.

Indeed, Neil was one of the first science fiction writers I met when I was initially a journalist. I was talking to science fiction writers about the kind of culture of intelligence that was built in the ’90s. He was one of the first people who got really excited to receive the call. So it was kind of, oh my gosh, I was just about to say it was the kind of book that ended my career. I hope this is not true.

MC: Well, hopefully you’ll keep it up a little longer.

LG: Yes. I feel like what I just described are goals for this podcast as well, and that people are, “OK, what am I going to do?” Now listen to it.

With: Yes, how will that be?

LG: It’s Neil Stevenson with Adam Rogers and Michael Callor, and that person Lauren. We have to listen.

With: I don’t see people finding out how not to listen to this. No.

MC: Okay. Well, we have to listen to him. So we’ll take a break. And when we come back from break, we’ll hear Adam speak to author Neil Stephenson recorded on RE:WIRED earlier this month.


With: Hey, welcome to another session on RE:WIRED. I’m Adam Rogers, Senior Correspondent for Print, Magazine, and Website. And I’m thrilled to welcome one of my favorite science fiction writers, Neal Stephenson. Thank you for being with us, Neil, we really appreciate it.

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