Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Aurealis interview 2009 - Greg Egan

By Russell Blackford :-

"7. Blackford: Is it similar when you deal with advanced scientific and mathematical concepts—concepts that might “lose” even readers with reasonable levels of scientific literacy—or do you see that as a different kind of problem? Again, I'm interested in how it feels from the inside to an author writing this kind of work that could be challenging to an audience and must be extraordinarily challenging to create.

Egan: When scientists and mathematicians think about “advanced” concepts, what they're really doing mostly just involves some relatively simple manipulation of ideas that happen to be unfamiliar to the wider population. There are plenty of card games whose rules are more complex than the rules for doing tensor calculus! So depending on the context, I'll sometimes just try to give the reader the gist of what those manipulations are, even if they're going to be a little bit hazy about the things being manipulated. At other times, I'll do as much as I can to unpack the whole process and demystify it completely. It's impossible to write about every topic in modern science in a way that absolutely anyone can follow, but I'm not afraid to transcribe characters having detailed thoughts or conversations in which they make sense of scientific ideas, and by eavesdropping on those conversations the reader gets invited into the loop."

Originally “Aurealis interview”
Aurealis #42, August 2009. Interview by Russell Blackford.

5 out of 5

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