I cannot personally recommend this interview I did with the Washington Post because I haven’t read it, but I’ve been told that it’s OK (by which, of course, I mean that it’s sympathetic, and thorough). I stopped reading anything written about me a long time ago. It wasn’t just that I was no longer interested in anything I had to say (I seemed to have heard it all before somewhere); I also got absurdly irritated by mistakes and misinterpretations that nobody else would notice. But I liked the interviewer, Bob Thompson, very much, and he also took the trouble to contact people who know me professionally.
Bob also recommended a YA book that I have just finished, MT Anderson’s ‘Feed’. This is an amazing novel, as good as anything I’ve read in a long time, and maybe the best science-fiction novel I have ever read, if Vonnegut doesn’t count. It’s set in a future in which everyone has a ‘feed’ planted directly in the skull, through which they receive shopping recommendations, music, movies, news, shopping recommendations, text messages and shopping recommendations, and it’s not so much that Anderson’s vision is plausible, more that it’s a metaphor for what’s already happened. This is one of several great books this year that I would never have come across if I hadn’t written SLAM – novels like ‘Feed’, Francesca Lia Block’s ‘Weetzie Bat’ and David Almond’s ‘Skellig’ should, it seems to me, be swimming about somewhere in the mainstream, and stocked alongside ‘adult’ novels in bookstores, but they become ghettoized, and unless you have children the right age, you’re never likely to come across them. The books listed here are all major works of contemporary fiction, and it’s ridiculous that they are almost invisible to a lot of adults.