Interview – 1 book in 5 questions : The Affinities – Robert-Charles Wilson

An interview with Robert-Charles Wilson about his book The Affinities


           Original cover                                                                                         French cover

My review of the book (in French)

Do you think we can really classify people according to their affinities?

The Affinity groups in the novel are a speculative construction, not a prediction. I do think the 21st century is going to see a radically expanded understanding of human nature, human cognition, and human sociability.

Inevitably, new technologies (including new social technologies) are going to emerge from that understanding.

That’s a pretty exciting prospect, from the point of view of a science fiction writer – a whole constellation of possibilities to explore.

Should we really worry about the future of social relations, according to you?

I think we’re in for some radical change in the way we construct social relations and collective behavior. Those changes aren’t necessarily positive, but they might be.

Some of the characters in the novel – I’m thinking of Geddy Fisk and his perennial question about whether the world is « old » or « young » — see genuinely utopian possibilities rising out of the chaos and confusion.

You could focus your novel to talk more about technology. Instead, you are telling mostly the story through your characters. Was it important for you to take this direction?

I’ve always been more interested in the human consequences of technology than in technology itself, though it’s impossible to entirely isolate those two things.

We co-evolve with our technology. In a sense, we are what we make.

I always say that you are a great humanist author. This subject was ideal for you to talk about human relationships, right?

Exactly right.

You can’t talk about the premise of the book without talking about human relationships, how we form them, how they form us in return, and how they change and evolve over time.

This new novel is very realistic. Do you think, like me, that it could attract readers who do not usually read science fiction?

You don’t need a degree in science or a close familiarity with science fiction tropes to read The Affinities, so yes, in that sense, it’s accessible to a general audience.

Whether it will ever find such an audience is an open question.

Catégories :Interviews littéraires

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