So, you’re never going to believe this, right, but I was interviewed for a TV show the other day. No, not as an eyewitness to/perpetrator of violent crime, but as a bonafide EXPERT on the field of FANTASY WRITING. I know what you’re all thinking, but wait, wait, it gets worse.
Contributors to the series include:
Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Guillermo del Toro, China Mieville…
And, among many eminent others, me.
Someone made a big mistake, right? Surely it was more of a vox pops, happened to catch me on the street with a camcorder sort of thing, right? NO. It was a full-on four-person-crew properly-lit and located hour-long interview. It was like WELL high-brow, and I used some of my best long and complex words like EXHAUSTIVE, ALLEGORY and IDEALISED.
As a video editor myself, and one who’s done a lot of documentary work, you’d have thought I’d have been expert at this, but it’s surprisingly different on the other side of the camera, I can tell you. It becomes strangely difficult to concentrate and articulate, or, at times, to come up with anything of value. It’s very hard to talk naturally, and you kind of drift into a parallel “serious pundit” personality. I’m not sure how much I like my “serious pundit” self. He’s a little bit of a pompous windbag, if I’m honest. It was not necessarily a performance replete with wit and humour. Of course, I know well from my own experience that of this hour it would be surprising if any more than a minute actually got used in various pithy soundbites, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it was less than that (or, perhaps, none at all). I’m counting on their editor to hone my bloated wafflings to razor-like insights and make me look like a fucking GOD.
Anyway, it’s a three-part series about Fantasy, and I’m going to be contributing (provided I don’t hit the cutting room floor, and HARD) to an episode about the creation of fantasy worlds. That’s right. Me, the anti-worldbuilding, non-map including, character-focused guy. Questions ran to Tolkein’s approach to worldbuilding and his influence within the genre and outside of it. Peake’s approach to worldbuilding and his influence on the genre. The New Weird and fantasy as a means of investigating the real world. Why authors feel moved to invent imagined worlds and the effect these efforts have on their lives. I know. Like I know SHIT about any of that, right?
Well, you shall find out, shan’t you?
The series will be airing some time in February/March on BBC4, which is a UK, cable or satellite based additional channel which carries a lot of high-brow artsy gear. I’ve been watching a very nicely made series about photography on there, in fact. Judging by the quality of interviewees (other than me) that they’ve got on there, it should be a fascinating watch for any well-cultivated fantasy fan. I’ll keep y’all updated as to exactly when it might be on as soon as I know myself, so you can tune in and wonder, when it’s just one massive Pullman interview with a bit of Pratchett spotted around and one quote from Mieville, “Hey, why wasn’t Joe Abercrombie in that documentary like he said he’d be?”