Missed opportunities

Last week I was invited to a G+ hangout for three of my favourite SF authors, Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton. There was an open invitation to ask a question and the best would be selected and those people would be able to not only view the hangout, but also be part of it and ask the question live.

And I was selected.

The email from google headquarters (I imagine a well lit bat-cave) informed me that I would have to be online with a decent connection and webcam 2 hours before the hangout began. Since the event would go live at 6pm on Thursday the 27th in London, I quickly went over to The World Clock and after plugging in the numbers was informed that 4pm London time = 1am Friday Australian time.

So I went off on my merry way for a few days 'off the grid' at the beach with my lovely family, confident that I would be back in time for my question to be asked on Friday night...

See where I went wrong? I am a fool. I looked at the world clock and saw what I wanted to see: That Friday 1am was the night of my return from the beach. 

I woke up at 2am in our beach side apartment to the sound of my phone ringing. It was google headquarters and batman was asking where the hell I was. I fucked up. 

So here is the hangout with three brilliant writers and all the awesome questions from people who can tell the time.

I hate myself right now.

For the record this was my question:

Everyone lumps scifi and fantasy together (even in the same place in the bookstore) but there is such a fundamental difference between the two genres. In fantasy there seems always to be an element of fate or magic beyond the power and understanding of mortals. This essentially leads to a theme or at least a plot resolution where the hero must accept forces beyond his or her control and let faith guide their destiny. Even the grittier fantasy books have aspects of this, and some supposed sci fi too -- star wars is a great example: we all love Han Solo's rationalism, but in the end he is wrong. The force is real and Luke wins by turning off his targeting computer.What i love about your books (all authors here) is that your heroes have nothing but their wits (and a psychopathic drone or two) to help them.  So my question is, do you all like fantasy books or do they offend your atheist sensibilities?


  1. That is an excellent question. It has always bothered me that fantasy and sci-fi are lumped together in bookstores and such.

  2. Esther -- this is the elephant in the geek club. It has always struck me as strange that the same group who frequent reddit/atheism and memorise Star Trek episodes verbatim will geek out over stories like 'Game of thrones' or anything by Stephen King despite the fact that the themes of those books couldn't be more different.


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