The Author Hour: Your Guide to Fantastic Fiction hosted by Matthew Peterson


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Joe Haldeman
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Joe Haldeman   Joe Haldeman is best known for his hard science fiction novels, including The Forever War and Camouflage. He has served twice as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and teaches creative writing courses on occasion at MIT. His books and stories have won 5 Hugo Awards, 5 Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and a Locus Award, plus several Hugo and Nebula nominations.

Buy Joe Haldeman's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 01/07/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Joe Haldeman

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

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Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you the bonus question. So the bonus question: I know you teach creative writing at MIT. Whatís some of the most important advice that you give your students?

Joe Haldeman: Hmmm. Iíll tell you one thing that everybody should keep in mind whoís a beginning writer, and thatís that most editors will say that the problem with beginning writersí stories, most often, is that the story begins too early or too late. That is to say, either the writer starts too much of a build up, too much preparation for the story, or the writer jumps into the story sort of en medias res without enough preparation for the reader. And knowing exactly when to start a story is sort of an unconscious skill I think you get from careful reading. And of course, if itís at the wrong place, well, finish the story and then go back and look at the beginning again and see whether you can adjust the time forward and backward.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. I think thatís really good advice because when people pick up a book, a lot of times theyíll just read the first page or two and see how interested they are in it.

Joe Haldeman: Yeah. The first page should be a killer page no matter what the rest of the book is like.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah, I agree.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it (you'll need to fast forward past the bonus questions).

Matthew Peterson: Any dates? Oh, youíre working on it right now, so it could be another year or two.

Joe Haldeman: Yeah. It should be next July, it comes out, if I stick to my schedule.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Just because he found this time machine, heís going to take credit for it. [laughs]

Joe Haldeman: Well, yeah, he was trying to build a different kind of machine and it didnít work. Instead it turned into this odd time machine.

Matthew Peterson: Okay.

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: Youíve mentioned to me a couple times that youíre not the greatest fan of fantasy. You did win the World Fantasy award, but you donít write a lot of fantasy, but I was looking back, back, back, back in your earlier books and I noticed that there were a couple mermen books.

Joe Haldeman: Oh, yeah. Those were interesting. That was kind of science fantasy.

Matthew Peterson: Uh, huh.

Joe Haldeman: It was a series character that didnít pan out. This guy hired me to write under a house name, Robert Graham.

Matthew Peterson: Okay.

Joe Haldeman: And it was an absurd premise. [laughs] I tried to make it a little more like hard science fiction.

Matthew Peterson: Uh, huh.

Joe Haldeman: But it was this caped crusader type who is fighting for oceanic ecology and the protection of siltations and this and that and the other thing. All very far out contrived stuff.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, I thought that was interesting.

Joe Haldeman: But, you know, Iím not ashamed of them; theyíre pretty good books for what they are.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah.

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