Sylvester: Greetings, all. In
case you are one of the few who havent heard of me, I
go by the name Sylvester in your native tongue. I am, of course,
a visitor to these shores, nothing but a humble entrepreneur,
offering my wares for sale to you fine people of Earth. There
has, however, been somehow shall I put itmisunderstandings
about my motives for coming to your lovely, blue-green planet.
Upon the advice of my publicist, I am
undertaking a unique journalistic adventure, interviewing one
Russell Lutz, a writer of some note, who has recently released
a novel by the name of The Department of Off
World Affairs. So, lets get right to it, shall we?
S: You call this book of yours
fiction, despite the fact that I am, in fact, the main character.
RL: Well, youre one of the
main characters, thats true. There are also three major
human characters. Im telling the story of what happens
when Earth is suddenly thrust into the complex society of the
galaxy. The astronomer who makes the discovery, Vanessa Hargrove,
S: Lovely girl, lovely girl. Bit
pale. She should get more sun, dont you think?
RL: Well, I suppose with her complexion
its hard to
S: What I want to know, Mr. Lutz,
is why you portray me in such a bad light.
RL: I dont portray you in
a bad light.
S: You practically tell the world
that Im a terrorist! How this wounds me, sir!
RL: Im trying to build tension,
Sylvester. There is a terroristor, really, a seditionistwho
causes a great deal of trouble in the story, but the mystery
is that we dont know exactly who it is. You are one of
the suspects, thats true. But theres also a character
S: Ill have you know Im
considering taking legal action against you and Silverthink
RL: Its Silverthought.
S: Itll be Sylvesterthought
by the time my lawyers are done with you.
RL: Can we talk about the book,
S: I suppose you want to tell
them about your influences, and what not.
RL: Well, yes. I suppose itll
be obvious to many readers that Im a fan of Carl Sagans
Contact, as well as Douglas Adamss Hitchhikers
books. Ive also been intrigued by stories that try to
answer the question of why the skies are so quiet. I think the
solution Ive come up with is fairly
S: Brilliant, yes. Cocoon around
your little solar system. Very clever. Dont you think
you play up the negative aspects of us off world visitors a
little much? Are we really all so bad?
RL: I think that any change of
such magnitudethe introduction of aliens into Earth culture
so suddenlywill have positive and negative effects. There
are amazing technologies that we get from the visitors, but
there are also unintended consequences.
S: I feel it is incumbent upon
me to explain that the Junior incident was not my fault. I told
that Microsoft fellow to be careful with those embryos.
RL: Im not placing blame.
When Junior is set free and rampages through Seattle, there
are obviously some terrible consequences. In that chapter, Im
saying something about the role of public policy in
S: So youre a socialist
RL: What? Im not a socialist.
S: Thats why you didnt
title your book Off World Amalgamated or Visitors
Incorporated. Youre writing about a government agency.
Youre a socialist.
RL: I think government cant
help but be involved in a culture shift of this magnitude. And,
in any case, another major plot line in DOWA involves
an entrepreneurial company in India that builds the first translight
ship in Earths history. One of the main characters, a
woman named Keira Desai, is instrumental in that effort.
S: Oh, that one. I dont
trust her farther than I could throw her.
RL: Youre just mad at her
for exposing the secret of what you were exporting from Earth.
S: And look what that brought
you. Nothing but heartache, or I miss my guess.
RL: Okay, now come on. Im
getting a little tired of your attitude.
S: You have only yourself to blame,
Mr. Author. This is how you wrote me.
RL: I may have created a monster.
S: Youre the monster, Mr.
Lutz. Space stations bursting in flames. Race riots in New York.
The breakdown of the entire oil industry. What terrible things
have you not inflicted on your poor species in this book
RL: I also cured cancer!
S: I cured cancer, my good
RL: Six of one.
S: Well, our time is almost up.
RL: What time? This interview
is all in text.
S: The book is The Department
of Off World Affairs, subtitled Fabulous Snakelike Yarn:
The Story of Sylvester.
RL: That is not the subtitle.
S: The author is Russell Lutz,
who apparently won an award
RL: Two awards, actually.
S: Ooo! Arent we the accomplished
author, then? Two awards for his previous novel, Iota
Cycle. Thank you for your time, Mr. Lutz. Its been
an unalloyed pleasure.
RL: Right. Whatever.