Michael Pryor, author of 10 Futures, The Laws of Magic Series, and the Chronicles Of Krangor series, answers Six Sharp Questions:

by |March 30, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Michael Pryor

author of 10 Futures, The Laws of Magic Series, and The Chronicles Of Krangor series

Six Sharp Questions


1. Congratulations, you have a new book, 10 Futures. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

10 Futures is a series of linked stories looking at ten different, possible futures for humanity over the next hundred years. The stories are linked by the presence of two friends who have to cope with a world often dramatically different to our own.

10 Futures is a return for me to what might be called science fiction. The stories deal with major challenges to our species: climate change, overpopulation, the impact of medical miracles and the biological revolution. We know these things are going to happen, but what is the impact going to be? The best way to prepare for the future is to imagine it.

Click here to buy 10 Futures from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

2. Time passes. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

I spent a month in London last year, which was an extraordinarily magical time. The worst time I had last year was missing out on the Booker Prize – AGAIN!

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

‘The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.’ It’s the opening line of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and it’s one of the great opening lines. It’s evocative, mysterious, moody and a warning to the reader: you’re stepping into a strange, strange world here.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

I’m a pleasure to live with. In fact, if I had to live with someone, I’d choose me. I cook, I wash, I clean. I walk the dog. I garden, producing fresh vegetables for the table. I play music that is soothing and perfect for any occasion. I entertain in a way that people talk about for days. I return books that are lent to me. I banish mould from the bathroom. I change fuses before they burn out. I keep the carpets clean.

And I daydream a lot.

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

I’m aware of the market, naturally, but I’ve learned a long time ago that you can go crazy trying to pick the next trend. I understand the need for a writer to promote themselves, judiciously, so I do what I can, especially in the world of the web. I’m more conscious of what my fans are interested in than in what the market is interested in. There is a difference.

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle). Because it’s just about perfect in the way it tells a story in so few words.

Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak). Because it’s subversive and shows the power of the imagination.

The Collected Works of Shakespeare. Because we could put on plays, and that’s fun. Also, these plays are about what it means to be human, and civilised, and aware.

Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes). Because it never fails to move adolescents. And grown up.

Batman: The Killing Joke (Moore/Bolland). Because it’s shocking, graphic, complex, multi-layered and it’s a comic. Pow!

Michael, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy 10 Futures from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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