[N.K. Jemisin x Haneko Takayama]About the ambiguity of things and the world of novels: A conversation with science fiction writers from different cultures_#4 | WIRED.jp Latest


*From the magazine “WIRED” Japanese version VOL.50 special feature “Next Mid-Century”. Click here for details.

[About writing a big story]

TakayamaThere are not many novelists in modern Japan who write stories on such a large scale, not to mention their length. Please tell us a little bit about how you came to write a saga-like work like “The Destroyed Earth”.You have also written many excellent short stories (the Japanese translation will be published at the end of August).Published in “Nightland Quarterly” vol.33“On the Riverbank of Lexington Street” (Translated by Mitsushu Kai / Shoen-Shinsha) was also wonderful). I would also like to know about the differences in efforts depending on the length of the story.

JemisinI think stories often tell us how they need to be told. When I first came up with the idea for “Destroyed Earth,” I instinctively thought, “One book is not enough; it will tell a complex story in a complex world.” Other stories require a few thousand words, but when I have a big story idea, my intuition whispers to me pretty quickly.

[About writing urban stories]

TakayamaI think some of your works are often referred to as urban fantasy. It’s quite a spectacle to see a fantasy-scale setting take place in a modern city. I would like to ask you about the narrative nature of cities.

JemisinI realized that when I write a story about a particular place, I take responsibility for it. I also did a lot of historical research, especially regarding New York.

On the other hand, I also felt that writing about a real city is more difficult than writing a story about a fictional city. A story about a real person has a different weight than a story about a fake person you created from scratch.

But in the end, I believe that every city is made up of stories. In other words, it is a story about how the city was created in that place, what happened to the city, where it is going, etc.

[Writing fiction and blogging]

TakayamaYou have described yourself as a blogger, and have been writing blog articles for a long time. Are there any differences that you should be aware of between non-fiction writing and fiction writing?

JemisinFor me, blogging is a way to casually share thoughts that might be a little too personal or immediate for a formal essay. It’s a way to share a part of who I am now. When writing novels and essays, I start writing them more intentionally, taking more time, and examining things from multiple angles. I think blogging is about treating the world like a friend on the other end of the phone.

[About analog games and TRPGs]

TakayamaI heard that Mr. Jemisin likes games. It seems that “The Fifth Season” will also be made into a board game. I myself have experience with board games and TRPGs (I once worked at a board game cafe), and I also work on game scenarios.

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