The Golden Age of Francis Spufford

red plentyI recently had the pleasure of interviewing the brilliant author Francis Spufford for the Barnes & Noble Review. I suggest you go read our conversation, but I suggest even more strongly that you read his books, including Red Plenty (a brilliant fictionalized history of the Soviet Union) and the new Golden Hill (a exhilarating novel set in 1740s Manhattan).

A bonus exchange that we had to cut for space:

Have you thought about why Red Plenty is so appealing to science-fiction fans?

I have. For one thing, I am a science-fiction fan, so it’s appealing to me. But also it’s because I set out to build the world of the USSR in the early 1960s pretty much the same way you’d describe an invented culture on an alien planet. You have to assume your reader is sitting somewhere very different and the whole thing has to be built up from ground level in the heads of people reading. And the same skill set which will build interstellar empires turns out to work quite nicely on building the real historical USSR because it is freaky enough and works by different enough rules that you might as well treat it as alien–with the lovely, paradoxical kicker that it’s true.

posted 29 June 2017 in Articles and tagged , . no comments yet

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