m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...


Via del.icio.us sf again: Wired has an article about Neal Stephenson, his new book Anathem, his steampunk phase, and even his breakout with Snow Crash.

His early books, a satire about big universities and an eco-thriller, were well received but not huge sellers. In search of big sales and big bucks, he collaborated with an uncle on a couple of political potboilers. “We heard that Tom Clancy had made something like $17 million the previous year and thought if we could snag 1 percent of that, we’d still be OK.” They didn’t come close, and in 1991, Stephenson says, his career “was moving along at low rpms.” Then he wrote Snow Crash, a book that postulated the Metaverse, an exquisitely fleshed-out vision of a digital alternative world, and Stephenson found himself at the front ranks of cyberpunk authors. “I was sort of going for broke with Snow Crash,” he told me a few years back. “I had tried to write stuff that was more conventional and that would be appealing to a large audience, and it didn’t work. I figured I would just go for broke, write something really weird, and not be so worried about whether it was a good career move or not.”