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August 5, 2009 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Where I Write 'Fantasy & Science Fiction authors in their creative spaces' Photography by Kyle Cassidy
posted by fearfulsymmetry (42 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Joe Haldeman wins.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]




The Delany shot is interesting -- how was that taken?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:47 PM on August 5, 2009


Joe Haldeman wins.

How can you say that? Chip Delaney lives inside a zero-gravity sphere.

I'm feeling quite smug that I've never heard of any of the fantasy writers.
For the science fiction authors it was one 'my god, is he really still alive?' after another...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:50 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Alan Dean Foster told me he does a large portion of his writing at this desk. The IT geek in me desperately wanted to look at his computer but I felt very privileged to have been invited to see his studio in the first place and didn't want to overstep the welcome and so I kept my mouth shut.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2009


Previously on MetaFilter
posted by ColdChef at 12:54 PM on August 5, 2009


Piers Anthony writes at my desk????!?!

WTF PIERS ANTHONY?
posted by Mister_A at 12:55 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


mrbarrett, how great that he's signing Splinter of the Mind's Eye for you! I was a little disappointed when I heard a Star Wars sequel was coming out, and it wasn't Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The disappointment faded right after the opening crawl.
posted by Mister_A at 12:58 PM on August 5, 2009


Joe Haldeman comes off a quiet sexy for a mature gentleman - is there something wrong with me?

Would be interesting if that was the same black cat.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:59 PM on August 5, 2009


The Delany shot is interesting -- how was that taken?

I'm guess fish-eye lens and a poll... or antigravity.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:01 PM on August 5, 2009


Huh! I totally pictured Piers Anthony writing on a park bench across from an elementary school playground. Color me surprised.
posted by gurple at 1:04 PM on August 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's interesting, looking at Harry Harrison's layout, and thinking "yep, it would have to be exactly that way." His alternate-history books get to a phenomenal level of detail at times, and the kind of mind that would write them does indeed strike me as fussily, almost scarily neat.

Piers Anthony looks so normal; I'd gotten a very, very weird impression from his books. If he'd had an eyepatch and a leer, I wouldn't have been surprised.

I was struck by how old Frederick Pohl has gotten. It's great that he's still working, but it really startled me to see how long he's been at it now.
posted by Malor at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2009


A lot of the dudes have extra pillows on their desk chairs.

You know, when I was a kid and loved scifi I had grand ideas about the fabulous lives of writers. But none of these desks are gold-plated. Many of them appear to be in second bedrooms. None of them have gorgeous views or appear to be in the Empire State Building. They're all so damn normal!

Maybe it's just because these aren't the writers I follow. Where does Iain M Banks work?

Personally, I tend to be extra-productive and creative in a hotel room somewhere far from home. In my fantasy life as a Famous Author, my editor always budges for 3 weeks in a hotel somewhere around my deadline for me to finish up.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:08 PM on August 5, 2009


It's neat to see the writing environments of these old masters, but it'd also be neat to see the desks of some current writers.

I'm thinking Neal Stephenson's desk would be totally jam-packed with really cool stuff but would just sort of trail off to nothing at the end.
posted by gurple at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


(Oh, my Iain Banks question was answered in that previous thread.)
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:12 PM on August 5, 2009


I find it ironic that Delaney apparently writes in closet. (I'll be here all week, etcetera.)

The Guardian has a long running series entitled Writer's Rooms, and the photographs are always fascinating. Lately they've included other types of work spaces/studios. The more the better, I think; I love looking at the spaces people create for themselves in order to do creative work.
posted by jokeefe at 1:18 PM on August 5, 2009


Getting four hour's sleep last night hasn't improved my sentence structure, I see.
posted by jokeefe at 1:27 PM on August 5, 2009


I was all by myself in my office. I was doing an interpretive dance.
posted by gamera at 1:45 PM on August 5, 2009


Kyle's live journal is also full of great images. His frequently featured wife is my best friend from high school and an extraordinarily talented actor.
posted by The Straightener at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm surprised the Michael Swanwick one is as simple as it is. Considering how long it took him to write the Iron Dragon sequel, I would have imagined his workplace to have involved some kind of Rube Goldberg contraption designed to prevent him from actually putting pen to paper.

also: the more I see and hear about Chip Delaney, the more I wonder why I haven't read him yet.

also: what the fuck, writers? why are there so few young sci-fi writers of note? (not counting our own charles stross, of course.)
posted by shmegegge at 1:49 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


also also also: I was surprised that Piers Anthony only had one picture of a scantily clad woman on his wall. methinks there was some last minute redecorating.
posted by shmegegge at 1:50 PM on August 5, 2009


last thing for now:

Guy_Inamonkeysuit: "The Delany shot is interesting -- how was that taken?"

check the top of the frame. you can see the photogs legs and feet. it looks like it's an incredibly small room, so he held the camera up near the ceiling to get the whole thing in frame.
posted by shmegegge at 1:51 PM on August 5, 2009


After this and the recent Terry Pratchett FPP I figured I'd look him up.

He is the anti-Haldeman.
posted by CaseyB at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2009


Aww . . . Frederick Pohl is so old.

I love this. I can't wait until I can write full-time (or nearly so) at home again. Even though I might be as old as Mr. Pohl by the time it happens.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:04 PM on August 5, 2009


I notice lots of cats, a few dogs, and a couple of model airplanes. And some uncomfortable-looking chairs.

So pretty much all I need is a dog and an airplane.

Also: Piers Anthony once responded to a fan letter I wrote him.
posted by Shohn at 2:07 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm thinking Neal Stephenson's desk would be totally jam-packed with really cool stuff but would just sort of trail off to nothing at the end.

Well, we know for sure there wouldn't be room for an editor's suggested revisions.
posted by srboisvert at 2:26 PM on August 5, 2009


Basically I need rows of bookshelves, a pet, and to let myself go a little and I can write science fiction!
posted by dopamine at 2:57 PM on August 5, 2009


also: what the fuck, writers? why are there so few young sci-fi writers of note? (not counting our own charles stross, of course.)

How young is young? Scalzi talks about why new novelists are kinda old, but he's counting 'old' as in your thirties. If your first novel is published in your thirties, I'm guessing it takes you a good ten or fifteen years to build up a body of work enough to make you a notable writer, especially when you're writing part-time around your day job. The authors pictured in this series are on the older side, yeah, but I don't think they're a representative sample of the field, they skew towards the better-known figures with long backlists.

Personally I want Gregory Frost's writing space, I wouldn't get any work done but it sure looks comfy.
posted by penguinliz at 4:11 PM on August 5, 2009


Interesting that two things seems quite common - wooden floors/objects, and subdued lighting. My own time freelancing definitely reflected the subdued lighting. God I hated sunny days back then.
posted by smoke at 5:11 PM on August 5, 2009


Lesser Shrew I met Joe Haldeman with Sparx at a convention when we were both just little nerdlets.

While I can't speak to his sexiness (quiet or otherwise) I can testify that he is a funny, funny motherfucker. His stories of working on the hilariously terrible ROBOT JOX!!! were awesome.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:39 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damnit where's my boy GRRM?
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:45 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


also: what the fuck, writers? why are there so few young sci-fi writers of note? (not counting our own charles stross, of course.)

There are tons and tons and tons. I'm not sure where you got this idea.

None of them are in this photography series but that's a problem with the set, not with the authors.
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on August 5, 2009


also: what the fuck, writers? why are there so few young sci-fi writers of note? (not counting our own charles stross, of course.)

There are lots of young sci-fi writers of note. Presumably this particular photoset is of longtime big names in the field who were sought out for their marquee appeal?

Also, MeFi's Own Charles Stross (TM), who is certainly a writer of note, is a couple of weeks younger than me, and I thought I was an oldster around these here parts. He just looks younger because of the clean living.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:03 PM on August 5, 2009


I'm feeling quite smug that I've never heard of any of the fantasy writers.

I don't think that can be attributed to an avoidance of fantasy novels - I read a lot of fantasy, and didn't recognize most of these people except for the classic SF writers . . . oh, and Piers Anthony, who I've not managed to forget yet.
posted by booksherpa at 8:30 PM on August 5, 2009


I don't think that can be attributed to an avoidance of fantasy novels - I read a lot of fantasy, and didn't recognize most of these people except for the classic SF writers

Yeah. I have a pretty dang extensive knowledge of the F&SF and a lot of those names are, well, obscure at best. I haven't even heard of a bunch of them. I won't name names but I don't even understand how a couple of them made it into the series; we're talking people who have basically self-published one novel.

Oh, heck, who am I kidding. Here you go.

People in this photographic series you should not feel bad if you have not heard of (frankly you should probably feel bad if you HAVE heard of some of them):

Bill DeSmedt
John Grant (but his ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FANTASY with Clute is excellent and important)
Tom Purdom
M. Alice LeGrow
Elizabeth Hull (she's undoubtedly an expert in the field but not an author)
E. E. Knight
Jennifer Stevenson
John O'Neill (little help here? I have no idea who this is even after googling)
Ysabeau Wilce

So almost half of the series are either virtual unknowns, people who only insiders would know, or complete unknowns. It's kind of like if I did a photographic series of where professional musicians rehearse their music, included a bunch of famous and important bands, and then figured this was too hard and filled it out with the guys down the street who practice in their mom's garage.
posted by Justinian at 10:46 PM on August 5, 2009


(I mean these people are in the same photographic series as Chip Delaney. Chip Delaney!
posted by Justinian at 10:47 PM on August 5, 2009


(Delany. fuck)
posted by Justinian at 10:47 PM on August 5, 2009


Damnit where's my boy GRRM?

Watching football, procrastinating... I'm here all week!

John Grant (but his ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FANTASY with Clute is excellent and important)

He's better known in the UK. For me, anyway - mainly as a mate/collaborator of Dave Langford.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:00 AM on August 6, 2009


I've read a Jennifer Stevenson novel but I suppose I could be counted as an insider. John O'Neill would be this John O'Neill (whom I didn't know, either, though I'm pretty sure I have at least one issue of Black Gate somewhere.)
posted by Zed at 8:00 AM on August 6, 2009


What's unexpectedly fascinating to me are the work spaces with barely anything in them (e.g. Harry Harrison), as if the authors are that much in their heads that they don't need much of a writing environment at all. (Harrison's setup in particular would drive me crazy)

(Also: this Bill DeSmedt knows a comfy chair. I just bought that one having tried it out, completely unable to resist)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:38 AM on August 6, 2009


Justinian: "also: what the fuck, writers? why are there so few young sci-fi writers of note? (not counting our own charles stross, of course.)

There are tons and tons and tons. I'm not sure where you got this idea.

None of them are in this photography series but that's a problem with the set, not with the authors.
"

I was just foolin', really.
posted by shmegegge at 9:58 AM on August 6, 2009


Cory Doctorow just posted this link over at Boing Boing, and of course couldn't help himself from adding a picture of his office to the post, which is so pitiful / hilarious / typical. Yeah, Cory, don't worry, you're one of the big boys, everyone loves you. You get nominated for Hugos and everything, just like a real writer.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:21 PM on August 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


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