The Ruin of Angels Author Max Gladstone Talks Bankruptcy and Necromancy at Google

During a recent installment of Talks at Google, Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence is introduced as the kind of series “where we all really enjoy what we’re reading because we’ve never read it before, but it has all of the bits and pieces that we’re already familiar with, so we don’t sit there and go, ‘I am confused,’ and instead go, ‘What’s gonna happen next?’”

Some of those bits and pieces, as Gladstone explains in his subsequent talk about The Ruin of Angels, include applying his Dungeons & Dragons vocabulary to real-life structures: bankruptcies that work like necromancy, corporations that work like gods, the like. “We have a very long-standing vocabulary for dealing with enormous invisible forces that guard our destiny,” he says, “and it’s the vocabulary of magic and religion. So much of what changes the material conditions of our lives these days transpires in a world we can’t touch or feel but is nevertheless the same world—it’s a world that sort of directly affects us, directly shapes us.”

This is not Gladstone’s first Talk at Google; in the last two years, he has popped in to talk about both Last First Snow (with other Tor Books authors) and his Serial Box project Bookburners. This particular talk runs almost an hour but is engrossing and charming, good for both longtime fans of the Craft Sequence and those who are looking for a way into the series. Gladstone reads from two chapters in The Ruin of Angels, then begins his talk around the 18-minute mark:

Talks at Google has a whole “authors” track, including talks from Ann Leckie (Provenance), Cory Doctorow (Walkaway), and Neal Stephenson (The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.).

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