This Blog with a review and a Q&A session from George to celebrate the publication of the book.
I’ve already reviewed George’s first book , the Tower of Babel (see below), and I did wonder at the wisdom of writing a prequel, but it works in Starwars!!!!! At least the Tower, complete in it’s entireity doesn’t have any boring repeating references as to what went onbefore as I’ve moaned about in other blogs!
This story is the childhood of Austin in the Tower. George deals with so many issues: of mental illness, personal journeys, reconciliation and redemption in the frame of the out of world journey in a giant rusting intergalactic train to find God. It’s like a ghost from our subconscious. I don’t want to spoil it, but George’s gift with language, his incredible imagination that created this book once again blows me away.
I can see the Biblical parallels in the books of life giving the desires of our hearts and the journey to find God. Wanting him here again on earth. How we really do create God as we would want him in the perspectives of our times and ideologies. So what’s it all about George?
This isn’t a simple read and I think my second reading helped a lot, but then again my first read was of the first proof and there was so much work done in between. What struck me most this time was the ruthlessness of people on a mission to a goal. The book is out of worldly in form and content, it’s even literary Sci Fi and again I say, needs to be picked up by a publisher.
Tell us a little about yourself, your life, hobbies, work, beliefs, your background
I grew up in a home where exploration and creativity were encouraged. I felt free to dive into whatever world I had just discovered, whether it was a real-world body of knowledge or an imagined universe. World-creation was my main pastime throughout childhood and adolescence. My exercises in world-creation grew with me, from juvenile flights of fancy, to Tolkienian invention in early adolescence, to linguistic creation in my teens. The act of Making has always been my bread and butter, and the only thing other than Love that still makes me feel alive.
My primary interests are God, the Universe, and the Human Heart. I don’t have time for hobbies, but I do find cooking and hiking (whether alone or with a loved one) immensely therapeutic.
Have you always written?
I have been writing since I learned my letters. I used to take stacks of paper, fold them, and staple them down the middle into books. I would try to fill these books completely with stories, but I couldn’t. I remember realizing at a very early age how difficult it was to sustain a narrative.
I finished my first novel at age 9. It was called A Journey Of 40,000 Miles In Eight Months, and it detailed the 18th-century sailing mishaps of a certain Captain Wetthamson. I consulted our cardboard globe for geography (and for the mile calculation in the title). I finished the book at 109 pages and believed I was a novelist.
I have written about 700,000 words since then in ten or so novels. Most of that work falls under practice–the 10 years or 10,000 hours it takes to achieve mastery. (Not that I consider myself a master. I haven’t arrived.) These are not works that I feel a need to share with anyone, although I’d be happy to back up my claim with complete scans of every paper manuscript I’ve ever written. I still have all of them.
What made you write the books in this order?
Books I and II of the Vaulan Cycle were published out of order because I stopped believing in the work. I tried and failed three separate times to write what is now A Chair Between The Rails. I gave up on it eventually and decided that my newer book, The Tower of Babel, would have to be first in the cycle. Then I realized that the problem with the prequel was not the vision, but the author’s mindset and execution. So I rewrote the prequel. The narrator, James, became more narcissistic and psychologically twisted, probably as a sort of personal catharsis for the psychological anguish that two deranged individuals had been causing me for quite some time.
This means that when I first received the germ for A Chair Between The Rails in 2007, I had not yet experienced enough pain or psychological illness to write it.
Do you have an overall aim in your writing, for example to make people think about God?
My aim is to serve the work, to get out of the way of the vision. I can smell ego in art a mile away, and while I can’t claim to have eradicated the issue in my work (or even to have addressed it), I am learning more and more how to approach the vision of Beauty. I believe that God is the source of all beauty. I think my writing incidentally supports this claim, but I also think someone who doesn’t believe in God (or doesn’t know what to believe) may find something resonant in my work. I do struggle, however, with categorizing my work. I discussed that struggle in this article. [link: http://www.curatormagazine.com/george-anderson/like-a-cork-out-of-bottle/]
What are your future plans besides writing the third book in the cycle?
I have no future aims at the moment. If I can sort out 50 pages of conflicting notes, there will be a third book in the Vaulan Cycle. If not, I may give up literature. I’ve thought of writing a non-fiction book about being an artist in the Internet age, but I think I may have chosen that project to make myself look cool. Having spent a lot of time trying to look cool, let me tell you, it’s exhausting and has nothing to do with creating beauty. It’s also not very rewarding, because you’re never happy with the amount of public attention you have. That’s an addiction as dangerous as any drug.
So, for now, my future aims are to be sane, get my anxiety under control, and focus on loving my wife, whom I married in June 2013.