Words from Watts

Ah. I see my interview is featured in this month’s Locus. I get second billing to Charlie Stross, but hey — who doesn’t, these days? There I am in the lower right-hand corner (and I’m actually kinda glad the picture is small because I look a wee bit goofy in it). Haven’t read the final product yet, but I’m told a copy is winging itself to me even as we speak.

Another interview, more intimate and low of profile, was with— no kidding — my bank. Evidently a couple of employees at the Citizens Bank of Canada are familiar with my work (one of them sent me this Christmas e-card — I dare anyone to find another bank that gives such personalized service)…

… and presumably put up my name as a candidate for a series of interviews with “interesting clients” CB is doing for their in-house newsletter. I actually thought that the interview went pretty well, even though half an hour in my interviewer blurted out, “How can you even get up in the morning? How do you even keep going?”. She also kept telling me she couldn’t use any of my quotes because they contained forbidden words. (They have a list. Did you know the word “ass” cannot be used in Citizens Bank documents?) I was actually unable to actually come up with a quote that didn’t contain any such forbidden terms, so we agreed that I would be sent a transcript with blanks that I could fill in, once I’d had a chance to think of more inoffensive terminology. But the deadline came and went, and I heard nothing back. So I finally e-mailed a follow-up query, and received this reply:

“…we are thinking that we want to profile people who are involved in activities that fit our values as an organization. … we regret that we took up your time on this.”

So I can only hope that someday, my ethical standards will rise to meet those of, well, the banking industry. But I admit it freely: it will be a long haul.

Finally, some of you whose comments and e-mails I have been slow to answer might want to know what I’ve been doing with my time. I wish the answer was “writing”, but no; I’m part of a weekly workshop being run by Jim Munroe (of indie movie, indie-graphic-novel, and indie-conventional-novel fame) which introduces basic game-building techniques to creative types with limited programming skills (evidently a smattering of Visual Basic coupled with dim memories of self-taught FORTRAN and APL comprise rock-solid qualifications for the whole “limited” part of that criterion). Each week, one of us is assigned to blog the minutes of the session. This week it was my turn, despite the fact that I nearly froze/bled to death during the course of the evening. If you’d like to follow our progress — or if you’d just like to have a disdainful chuckle at a bunch of adults trying to learn gaming principles using apps designed for toddlers — knock yourselves out. We won’t mind.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Saturday March 01 2008at 09:03 am , filed under fellow liars, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

16 Responses to “Words from Watts”

  1. Man PW, you love those headphones. That’s also a pretty awesome story about your bank.

  2. Toddler Gaming is actually called Casual Gaming. There’s a blog with reviews and design contests of games of the Casual Gaming genre called Jay Is Games. http://www.jayisgame.com

  3. I was watching a google tech talk on mindfulness meditation

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf6Q0G1iHBI&feature=user#

    At the very end of the talk the presenter gushed about a 3 year old with only one brain hemisphere and the wonders of human neuroplasticity.

    Hey!

  4. Off-topic warning:

    Hi Dr. Watts,

    Right now I’m watching you in an interview on TVO about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and the problems with the movie.

    Having just recently read the book, and never having seen the movie, I find this interview very interesting. Especially the parts where they cut between you and the late Mr. Bradbury, apparently footage of an interview on the subject of the film from some years (decades?) ago.

    One odd quirk of the interview is they list a different book or story you wrote every time you appear. They do the same for Ray Bradbury, but the effect is a bit strange.

    The piece ends (now) with a note that a remake of the movie is planned for 2009.

    How long until we get a movie from a Watts story?

  5. That final response from the bank… priceless. I think that’s the first time here I laughed out loud. 😀 (God I hate banks.)

  6. [if !supportEmptyParas]–> Alert!

  7. (1.) Ray Bradbury is still alive.

    (2.) Mr. Watts: any chance that you’ll post the Locus interview at some point?

  8. Ray Bradbury is still alive.

    Whoops! Yes, according to Wikipedia he’s 87 years old. I thought he was older and less healthy. Sorry! Perhaps the interview portions I saw were not so old. TVO’s image quality is often a little low.

  9. TheBrummell said…

    How long until we get a movie from a Watts story?

    How long until Hollywood decides that it can make money from sermons about the nonutility of sentience, or lectures on rift-vent microecology?

    I’m given to believe that some kind of agency specialising in movie adaptations was interested in looking at Blindsight before it even came out, but I’ve heard nothing since then so I’m guessing they probably bailed after the prelude. Prior to that you have to go back to some guy who worked on South Park, who wanted to option Starfish but didn’t want to pay anything for the privilege. There’ve been a couple of other nibbles, but nothing close to real interest.

    Got any money?

    arpnpch said…

    That final response from the bank… priceless. I think that’s the first time here I laughed out loud.

    This makes me sad. I try so hard to be humourous on a regular basis.

    Anonymous said…

    [if !supportEmptyParas]—> Alert!

    Where? I can’t see a problem in either browser.

    WTRK said…

    Mr. Watts: any chance that you’ll post the Locus interview at some point?

    I’d have to clear it with the Locus folks — I don’t know what their policy is on such things. At the very least I’d expect they wouldn’t want me to print the thing while the issue was current. But after that, if they don’t mind, I don’t mind.

  10. I’m given to believe that some kind of agency specialising in movie adaptations was interested in looking at Blindsight before it even came out, but I’ve heard nothing since then so I’m guessing they probably bailed after the prelude. Prior to that you have to go back to some guy who worked on South Park, who wanted to option Starfish but didn’t want to pay anything for the privilege. There’ve been a couple of other nibbles, but nothing close to real interest.
    Though I love Blindsight, as a whole, I think it would be supremely difficult to adapt for today’s audiences. I’d almost rather see a television series, but it would probably end up being dumbed down to the level of that strange movie Supernova starring James Spader so many years ago or Event Horizon with Sam Neill.

    Still, there are a lot of great elements in Blindsight that would be great seeds for Hollywood viable productions. My favorite would be the idea of the resurrection of vampires who then are so intelligent that they strategically start to take over the world from the foolish humans who brought them back and cured their cross weakness.

    The vampires in Blindsight have to be some of the most unique in literature. The only other novels that have anything comparable are Mimoru Oshii’s surprisingly dense adaptation of the Blood Manga/Anime series Night of the Beast and Dan Simmons science horror novel Children of the Night.

  11. I’m like Beetlejuice & the Exorcist when it comes to Event Horizon, as in it gets funnier every time I see it. The first 50 words of dialogue in the movie are about the incredible power of their…wait for it…ion engine.

  12. Got any money?

    You know I’m a grad. student, right?

    How long until Hollywood decides that it can make money from sermons about the nonutility of sentience, or lectures on rift-vent microecology?

    Yeah, I forgot. I don’t interact much with “normal” people, so I sometimes forget not everybody thinks the Alvin is one of the coolest inventions by humans of all time (not the coolest, but in the top-10).

  13. That final response from the bank… priceless. I think that’s the first time here I laughed out loud.

    Maybe Citizens Bank should contact Conrad Black for an interview. He should have plenty of free time, when he’s not protecting his back side, and his values and ethics may be more in line with what they are looking for.

  14. TheBrummell said…

    You know I’m a grad. student, right?

    Yeah. And you know I’m writer, right? I win.

    Got any money?

    … I sometimes forget not everybody thinks the Alvin is one of the coolest inventions by humans of all time …

    Those oil-filled buoyancy bladders? Sheer genius.

  15. Yeah. And you know I’m writer, right? I win.

    Got any money?

    You’re also a post-doc, so being a writer is apparently not your day-job. Post-docs make more money than grad students.

    I’d be happy to lose this contest, but it seems unlikely. Are you a full-time writer now?

  16. The PD ended last summer. I’m slotted in for a couple of small consulting gigs, but mostly the writing’s full-time now. Which is another way of saying I’m living off advances for overseas translations of Blindsight while plugging away on other novels not yet sold, and waiting for Tor to fork over some royalties. (Tor actually owed me quite a bit as of their last statement, but they stick this clause in their contracts which lets them withhold moneys owed “in reasonable amounts” against returns. As of their last statement, they’d evidently decided that “reasonable amounts”= 100%, so they didn’t have to pay me anything. Hopefully they’ll only withhold 80-90% next time around…)