SWORD AND LASER INTERVIEW WITH TAD WILLIAMS
19 September 2011 — S&L Podcast #76
Today, we get the pleasure of talking with Tad about what he writes, how he writes, and why he’s become the godfather of Sword and Laser.
RICK KLEFFEL’S THE AGONY COLUMN PODCAST NEWS
In our short interview, Tad and I talked about his work as a musician. He told me that he’d been in a band that was going to open for Edgar Winter back in Winter’s Frankenstein heyday, thus completing the circle of monsters. We also talked about the influence of California’s landscape on his fantasy fiction.
When he read at SF in SF in August, he sat down, told us he hadn’t even so much as looked at Caliban’s Hour in years and then proceeded to deliver a truly outstanding Shakespearean reading. It’s powerful stuff of the sort that sends me, at least, to my computer to order the ebook even before the reading is done. It’s that good.
I have to admit, I was intimidated, and I didn’t know the half of it. I did know that Tad Williams was a huge bestselling writer, and I’d thoroughly enjoyed The War of the Flowers. I have friends here who have read every word more than once — and that’s a lot of words! And had I known what I know now about Beale, I would have been properly terrified instead of merely intimidated…. All my foreboding was of course groundless, because Williams and Beale are as charming in performance as they are talented on (and behind) the page.
RICK KLEFFEL’S THE AGONY COLUMN COMMENTARY
And back in what seems to be the dawn of time, comparatively speaking — the early 1990s, in the heyday of a series of books I loved called the Legend Novellas — one Deborah Beale commissioned Caliban’s Hour (The Beale-Williams Enterprise ; July 25, 2011 ; $9.99) by Tad Williams. It must have been a daunting project, but Williams proved himself up to the task. Now available as an e-book, it’s a fine use of electronic publishing to bring back an obscure but ultimately rewarding story that gives one of literature’s most famous and entertaining monsters time to strut and fret upon the stage.
Deborah Beale and Tad Williams seem to have my number because The Dragons of Ordinary Farm (HarperCollins ; June 2, 2009 ; $16.99) and the sequel The Secrets of Ordinary Farm (The Beale-Williams Enterprise ; August 18, 2011 ; $9.99) transpire in precisely the sort of places I imagine just beyond the hillsides I can see. These are very real places, mind you. It’s very easy to imagine stopping the car, striking out into the grassy hills and walking until you find Ordinary Farm, which is, of course, not ordinary at all.