Q: From your point of view, how has the proliferation of online book reviews affected the publishing world?
Mike Resnick: Very little. They certainly haven’t affected print runs or distribution, and I doubt that they’ve had anywhere near as much effect on sales as the self-proclaimed cognoscenti think they have.
Q: How has the internet impacted your ability to sell books and what impact do you see it having in the future?
MR: It’s made instant contact and feedback with editors — especially foreign editors — incredibly easy, and it has presented endless new ways of marketing your books, both to editors/publishers and thereafter to readers/buyers. And it’s only going to become a more important tool in the future.
Q: With most television shows on hiatus due to the writers strike, it’s a good time to reflect on the quality of the genre shows of this past TV season. If you ran Hollywood, what changes would you make? What would stay the same?
MR: Can’t answer this. I gave up watching network series 25 years ago, and to this day I have managed not to feel culturally deprived.
Q: Everyone knows the “Old Guard” definitions of science fiction. As part of the “New Guard,” how would you define science fiction?
MR: Science fiction is that branch of literature dealing with an altered past, an alternative present, or an imagined future.
Q: Given the rapid pace of advancement in science and technology, are we headed for a technological panopticon or will technology allow the little guy to fight back?
MR: I think we’d already at a technological panopticon. Little guys — well, a certain smallish percentage of little guys — have always fought back. I don’t see a higher percentage of them winning now than before.
Q: Science fiction is often accused of being The Great Predictor. Which predictions did Golden Age science fiction get right? Which ones were way off the mark?
MR: In terms of essentially trivial things, it predicted plastics, night baseball, waldoes, and half a hundred other things early fans used to point to with pride. I think it missed most of our major breakthroughs: the fall of the Soviet Empire, the cure for polio, the huge influx of Hispanics into the USA, the fact that cancer is less of a killer these days and more of a chronic disease, the near-extinction of the passenger trains that made it possible for us to populate the continent, the emergence of HIV, even the proliferation of computers. The most important off-the-mark was the fact that almost no one predicted that once we got into space, reached the Moon, landed on Mars, the public would be totally uninterested and apathetic.