Singaporean writer Anders Brink’s first collection of sci-fi stories, published by Ethos Books, was launched at WorldCon, Melbourne, Australia (2-6 September 2010). We bring you an interview with Anders on writing and his views on Asian Speculative Fiction.
Anders Brink is the pen name of a Singapore-based scientist, teacher and writer. He holds a Ph.D in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University and is a huge fan of science fiction stories, books and movies.
How did you get into writing Science-Fiction?
I have been writing from an early age. When I was in Secondary School, I would write story after story about mad scientists and space journeys, but my friends would laugh at them. And I agree – my stories at the time were atrocious. Now I am much better – I read more, practised, and learnt how to analyse my own writing for flaws. These days, I also plot more than I write, so my output is slowed down as a result. It’s the right thing to do when one has an important day job to do.
You named your collection of stories “Sufficiently Advanced?” Can you explain the title to us?
The title comes from a quote from Arthur C Clarke, who stated that any technology, sufficiently advanced, would be indistinguishable from magic. But there are two sides to the issue. Is the technology sufficiently advanced? I think it is. It resembles magic in so many ways. But what about us? Are we sufficiently advanced to guide it, harness it and bring it to fruition? The stories in the collection are an attempt to provide an answer – certainly not the final answer, of course.
You have a mix of stories with a very Singaporean voice (“Hard Port, Easy Money”) as well as a more international perspective (“A Gentleman of the Stars”). What is it like to toggle between the two?
There is no toggle switch. Singaporeans are naturally rather cosmopolitan (unless you talk to someone rather backwards looking) and so these are how the stories come out. The difference lies in the focus. When I choose to write on the universal themes, then the international perspective comes out. When I write about immediate human concerns, the Singaporean voice comes out.
Do you think there is a market for Asian Speculative Fiction?
Not right now. But the field is growing and Asian writers are finding a voice. The future has been predicted to be an Asian Century, and that means Asian Speculative Fiction can only grow in its presence and influence. I am happy that this is the case, but I wish there were more scientists writing.
Could you share with us more about the publishing process in Singapore? How does it work?
Singapore’s publishing scene is tiny. The primary difference is that the publishers are more immediately accessible, so you don’t need agents. But they are really busy people, so lots of patience in dealing with them is necessary. First, complete your book. Second, go to their
website and follow their submission guidelines! Then wait.
Where can we find more of your writing?
My collection “Sufficiently Advanced?” is available from the Ethos Books online stores:
Lastly, do visit my blog at my website: http://www.andersbrink.com.
Thanks Anders, and all the best with your book!