Neal Stephenson

Last year Todd and I went to see Neal Stephenson at the Bagdad. He was reading from his latest and thickest book “ReadMe.” The book sounded intriguing, and I would have been happy if he kept reading for the entire time. After the reading, he moved on to Q&A, which turned out to be incredibly entertaining. One woman thanked him several times for writing “Snowcraft,” and he said “Thanks. I know what you mean.”

He was asked if the rumor that “Snow crash” is currently being made into a movie is true; he said that’s just bad information. He was asked if he could please make his own MMO, which is an awesome question because MMO’s are partially the result of what he dreamed up 20 years ago. One girl asked him if he had any tips for aspiring writers. He said he’s not the best person to ask because he hasn’t been an aspiring writer in a long time, but he attempted an answer anyway. He said the best thing to do is to write; write 10,000 pages and then throw them away. Writing isn’t some magical ability, you get better at it by practicing and getting feedback.

He was asked several times to speak to his books being so accurate in certain aspects about the future. He responded with a measure of humilty and also a certain amount of disregard for the the question. He said something to the effect of “like so many people standing on a stage being asked questions, I’m going to take this opportunity to just talk about ¬†whatever I feel like talking about.”

He talked about the current state of affairs with the government and financial industry. He said he didn’t see our current situation coming, our leaders turned out to be more¬†Byzantine, more twisted than he was capable of imagining. He said that right now is a really dark time; progress is slow. There’s no one out there that’s really inspiring or leading the masses and if there were, it would scare him, because who knows what they would lead people to do.

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