Tor.com content by

Matthew Cheney

Poetry, Rejection, and Looking Forward: A Conversation with L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Welcome back to the Tor.com eBook Club! December’s pick is The Towers of the Sunset, the second book in L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s epic fantasy series The Saga of Recluse. Below, please enjoy an interview with the author originally posted in June of 2011.

I hadn’t chatted with L.E. Modesitt in any depth since I last saw him a few years ago at the World Fantasy Awards. The recently released 20th anniversary edition of The Magic of Recluce offered a fine opportunity for us to catch up. (You can refresh your memory of that book by reading the free excerpt here on Tor.com.)

[Read more]

Discovering Fantasy Through Science Fiction: Mr. Modesitt and Me

Welcome back to the Tor.com eBook Club! December’s pick is The Towers of the Sunset, the second book in L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s epic fantasy series The Saga of Recluse. Below, please enjoy an encore article from June of 2011, detailing one fan’s initial dismay at Modesitt’s turn away from science fiction…

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. was the second professional writer I ever met. I first met the man I still mostly think of as Mr. Modesitt in, I think, the winter of 1990, or maybe the fall of 1989. He and his family had recently moved to New Hampshire, and his daughter attended my school. He came to talk to an afterschool club I was a member of, and eventually he and I started corresponding—I know it was before the summer of 1990, because he sent me an advanced copy of the cover for The Ecologic Secession, which was released in July 1990.

For a summer job, I usually worked at the Plymouth State College Bookstore, stocking the shelves for the coming semester. That fall, Modesitt would be teaching an intro to lit class, and I vividly remember putting his books onto the shelf—including, I believe, Gordon Dickson’s Soldier, Ask Not and Sherri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country. Seeing those books alongside big intro to lit anthologies and books by folks like Shakespeare and Kafka warmed my heart.

[And then came The Magic of Recluce…]

A Conversation with L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

I hadn’t chatted with L.E. Modesitt in any depth since I last saw him a few years ago at the World Fantasy Awards. The recently released (then upcoming) 20th anniversary edition of The Magic of Recluce offered a fine opportunity for us to catch up. (You can refresh your memory of that book by reading the free excerpt here on Tor.com.)

This interview was conducted by email during January 2011.

[Interview below the cut]

Mr. Modesitt & Me

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. was the second professional writer I ever met—as well as the second science fiction writer and second Tor writer, in fact which perhaps explains some of my lifelong fondness for both SF and Tor. (The other writer, by the way, was James Patrick Kelly, about whom I’ve written elsewhere.)

I first met the man I still mostly think of as Mr. Modesitt in, I think, the winter of 1990, or maybe the fall of 1989. He and his family had recently moved to New Hampshire, and his daughter attended my school. He came to talk to an afterschool club I was a member of, and eventually he and I started corresponding—I know it was before the summer of 1990, because he sent me an advanced copy of the cover for The Ecologic Secession, which was, at least according to ISFDB, released in July 1990.

For a summer job, I usually worked at the Plymouth State College Bookstore, stocking the shelves for the coming semester. That fall, Modesitt would be teaching an intro to lit class, and I vividly remember putting his books onto the shelf—including, I believe, Gordon Dickson’s Soldier, Ask Not and Sherri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country. Seeing those books alongside big intro to lit anthologies and books by folks like Shakespeare and Kafka warmed my heart.

[And then came The Magic of Recluce]

Dystopia on Stage: Caryl Churchill’s Far Away

Most people don’t often think of playwrights as science fiction and fantasy writers, and SF doesn’t really exist as a genre in the theatre world in the same way it does in the world of print and cinema. Yet from its earliest incarnations, theatre has reveled in the fantastic, and many of the greatest plays of all time have eschewed pure realism. Something about the relationship between performers and audiences lends itself to fantasy.

The British playwright Caryl Churchill has written a great number of extraordinary plays, many of them enlivened by impossible events. Churchill is a staunchly political writer, a writer who seeks to challenge audiences’ complacencies about the real life of the real world, but flights of imagination give resonance to her unblinking view of reality’s horrors, using the unreal to probe the deep grammar of reality.

[Read more]

Series: Dystopia Week