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Atlas shrugged and kept writing?

I was checking out the Books section of The Guardian again, and noticed a "Why I write" segment by David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and number9dream, among other novels. When he talks about how and why he writes, he mentions his childhood favorite books, The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula le Guin, and The Dark is Rising books by Susan Cooper. Interesting that all of them are fantasy, and two of them are Arthurian retellings. Well, heck, he is a Brit.

He sounded so interesting, I Googled him and found a Washington Post Book World article, too. There Mitchell cited some of his other influences, including other "experimental fiction" and the idea that "...there is nothing inevitable about civilization." A cool idea.

Although he doesn't use standard spec fic settings, Mitchell still adopts the spec fic precept that reality is not a boundary that a story must respect. He also lives in Japan, which must be an interesting experience for a Westerner. Being visually and culturally different from everyone around you must be good practice for writing about people, disaffected and otherwise. Being the alien gives you a different perspective.

Let's face it; writers are neat people.

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