April 26, 2017

Greg Bear

Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books, spanning thrillers, science fiction, and fantasy, including Blood MusicEonThe Forge of GodDarwin’s Radio, and City at the End of Time. His most recent book is Take Back the Sky  (Orbit, 2016), the last volume in his War Dogs TrilogyGreg’s books have won numerous international prizes, been translated into twenty-two languages, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. He has served as a consultant for NASA, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of State, the International Food Protection Association, and Homeland Security, on matters ranging from privatising space to food safety, the frontiers of microbiology and genetics, and biological security. In the late 1960s, he helped found Comic-Con; as a journalist he covered the first Voyager planetary encounters for the San Diego Union. Greg is the father of two young writers, Erik and Alexandra, and is married to Astrid Anderson Bear.

Made of Words

“Any communications between living animals are alive, in the sense that all communication is at the heart of living processes. We exchange genes… those are words, phrases, descriptions, that make sense to the mechanisms that make us who, and what, we are. On a higher level, the words we use day to day also help structure our relationships and our environments. We’re made of words, so we use words.

“I don’t much think about the words I’m using as I write. After I write I revise and refine – but the actual process is pretty much instinctive now, like holding a conversation with good friends. We’re enabled, empowered, in the dark without the light of words – and talk and communications overall. Sometimes words are inadequate, but then, sometimes genes don’t fit the bill either. So we might imagine better languages, better codes, to improve us in the future.

“My work absolutely has a texture, pattern, character. The creation of fictional beings in their own world and milieu is very much a weaving process – and sometimes, some felting is involved as well!“The right word, the right phrasing, shines for the moment, but there are so many more to move on to…”

Textile Message

“In the winter, I live in fleece, but come summer, Hawaiian shirts and silk. It always depends on the temperature and the weather… Since our cold conditions in the NW U.S. are not usually severe, I’m able to stick to one fabric or style for weeks at a time – not the same item, of course!”

1960s cotton Aloha shirt made by the Kamehameha Garment Company. The University of Hawai’i at Manoa Historic Costume Collection. Photographer R. David Beales

Greg Bear’s portrait by Astrid Anderson Bear