Midge Bork posed eight quick questions to Robert Charles Wilson,
Hugo Award-winning author of the science fiction novels Axis and Spin,
about parallels between his novels and reality, genetic engineering and morality.
Interviewer Midge Bork: Was Axis already planned when you wrote Spin?
Robert Charles Wilson: Spin is meant to stand by itself, but I was toying with the idea of a sequel as I wrote it. Two sequels, actually -- there will be a third book, called Vortex.
Was the continent of Equatoria based on Australia? The geography seemed similar to me.
Not explicitly, though I can see the similarity, especially as regards the climate.
Even though the Martians developed the process for becoming a Fourth, they came to reject in vitro genetic engineering of a fetus. Are manipulating the genes of an adult and those a developing fetus two separate moral issues, or just different degrees of the same question?
If nothing else, there's the issue of consent. An adult knows what he or she is getting into, or at least can calculate the cost/risk ratio. A fetus (or for that matter a child) doesn't have that option.
Was Turk becoming intrigued by Isaac and was that why he chose to stay with the group?
Turk saw himself as someone who deals with a problem by running away from it. His commitment to the group was a groping attempt to change that perspective.
Why was Turk accepted to be remembered when he wasn't even a Fourth?
In part, because the motives of the Hypotheticals (as manifested in Isaac, in this case) remain obscure...for a fuller answer, you'll have to wait for Vortex!
With Diane's background in religious fanatacism, why did she adamantly refuse to become part of the remembered?
She was suspicious of the process -- it was a kind of apotheosis, but not the kind she had chosen to believe in.
What held Lise to the New World? Why did she feel it was home?
Among other reasons, it was the last place in which her family had been complete and together. She adopted her father's love for Equatoria rather than her mother's rejection of it.
The publicity material states that Axis is a "direct sequel" to Spin. Do you feel that Spin can be appreciated as a stand-alone novel wihtout the background provided in Spin?
Probably not. Spin can stand alone without Axis; Axis depends on at least some familiarity with the material in Spin.
Robert Charles Wilson was born in California and lives in Toronto. His novel Spin won science fictionís Hugo Award in 2006. Earlier, he won the Philip K. Dick Award for his debut novel A Hidden Place; Canadaís Aurora Award for Darwinia; and the John W. Campbell Award for The Chronoliths.
Midge Bork is a freelance writer and contributing reviewer to curledup.com.
Her flash interview with Robert Charles Wilson was written in conjunction with her review of Axis.