SFRevu Feature: Jim Munroe Conducted by Ernest Lilley
Feature Book: Everyone In Silico by Jim Munroe
Previously in SFRevu:
US Book Tour: November 2002
sure to visit Jim Munroe's Website:
Announcer: Let me admit it. I'm jealous of our next guest. Having read his most recent book, "Everyone in Silico", zoomed over the vast lanscape of the web to pick up clues about your real identity, and even read a bunch of your webdiatribes...well, I wish I was Jim Munroe.
Thunderous applause and hooting as Munroe crosses the stage to sit in on our black leather couch.
Announcer: Say Jim, let's talk about your new book, Everyone in Silico. Heh, heh. Clever book. Kind of reminds me of what you'd get if you dropped Frederick Pohl's "The Space Merchants", Denis Danvers "Circuit of Heaven", Gibson's "The Matrix"...sorry, I meant, "Neuromancer" into a cyber-blender and added a lot of really fresh limes. No, not really. I just wanted to show off. Your turn. You show off. What's the book about?
Jim Munroe: Heh, well, that sounds delicious but I'm usually at a bit of a loss at how to describe the book. My previous book was easily summed up by "guy goes to another planet to teach English." This one's a bit harder. I usually just say that it's about Vancouver in the year 2036 and people are happy with that. Doesn't get as much of a laugh, though [ audience laughs anyway ].
Announcer: When is it actually out? How should folks get their own copy?
Jim: It's out now in Canada, it's coming out in November in the USA with Four Walls Eight Windows.
Announcer: In my review of Everyone in Silico, I said that you were like a young William Gibson, only funnier...and that your writing kept getting better instead of more boring. What do you think?
Jim: I never know what to think of comparisons, especially when I'm elevated above someone who's well-known and respected. I think it says more about the critic than me. I'm glad you think my writing's getting better, but I don't think about getting better that much. Just keeping myself interested and excited about the projects I'm working on.
Announcer: How did you get your first book published? How well did it do? Gosh, how can I get a copy?
Jim: Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask was published by HarperCollins in 1999, and I recently got the rights back. I've made the e-book available as a free download.
Announcer: So what did you do differently for AYS? How did it work out?
Jim: I left HC because of the corporate ownership (my site has the Dear John letter I wrote to Rupert Murdoch) and launched No Media Kings, my self-publishing house. It sold better and I made twice as much per book. I sold the non-Canadian rights to Four Walls Eight Windows.
Announcer: When you were a small boy on a farm in Minnesota, looking up at the stars, did you ever think you'd go this far? Were you ever a small boy on a farm?
Jim: In our case it would be Saskatchewan. And I had a vague idea I'd like to be a novelist from maybe the age of 13 or so.
Announcer: What was the first SF book you read? Who were your favorite authors? Did reading Robert Heinlein make you a man?
Jim: Actually, putting down RH made me a man ( shocked gasp from the audience). I was reading his book Friday in Grade Nine geography class and Paul Guilianno turned around and said to me, "Why are you reading when you could be talking to us?" I realized I had no good answer, so I put down the book and started to come out of my shell.
Announcer: Who do you love? Literally, no I mean, literarily. What's worth reading?
Jim: Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow was my last great SF read. Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen is really fresh too.
Announcer: Adbusters, rTMark.com, your checkered past. Tell us about it. How did you get involved with anti-advertising-activism? Are you on the run from the advertising police?
Jim: Adbusters was my favorite magazine, so when I was in Vancouver I had to stop by to worship at the altar. It turned out they needed a managing editor, so I ended up working there for a year.
Announcer: Media. Corporations. Consumerism. Brainwashing. Do you love this stuff or hate it? Would you actually want to live in a hunter gatherer society where no-one told you what to think? Is that possible? Aren't shamans and priests just early pitchmen?
Jim: Being a too-clever person myself, I can appreciate the best of the marketing culture. But I resent that we spend so much time as a society focusing on money and products and ignoring everything that can't be price tagged.
Announcer: Has anyone paid their Everyone in Silico Invoice yet? Has anyone reacted?
Jim: No one's paid, but four of the ten invoices I sent out got a response: see www.nomediakings.org/invoice.htm for the documentation of the form letters, e-mail and phone calls I received.
Announcer: Have you met Rupert Murdoch? Do you still work for him as Cultural Production Employee #XKJ93?
Jim: Gosh, no, I've never met him. He lives in a space station orbiting the earth, no? And I don't work for him any more, but I still have plenty of ties to corporate structures that keep me tainted.
Announcer: PDAs. The promised digital afterlife? I love PDAs, in fact, I write about them for Byte.com, Pen Computing and most anywhere else I can get column space. What turns you on about handheld computers? Which ones do you dig? Have you ever used any of the arcane lost platforms like the HP200LX or the Psion?
Jim: I wrote Flyboy on the HP100LX, AYS on a HP400(?) and half of EIS on a HP620. They're great because of their portability; they're awful because of their portability. My 100LX got coffee spilled on it and my 400 got pick pocketed from the Los Angeles Greyhound station.
Announcer: You've got Angry Young Spaceman available for free download. Does information want to be free? Or does it want someone to get paid for having collected/created it?
Jim: I think it's a great slogan, but I'm not convinced that there's anything innate about information. I like to share my knowledge about, say, book making, because by inspiring people I get inspired in return. It's the karmic black market.
Announcer: Is the world going to hell in a hand basket? Do you care? Whose job is it to save the world anyway?
Jim: I don't think the world can be ruined, or broken, but it can sure be made an unpleasant place to live. I think "saving the world" can become less of an obligation and more of a fun activity with a bit of creativity.
Announcer: What's your next project? Do you have a book in the works?
Jim: I've just gone to the presser with my next CD-ROM zine, Novel Amusements. Next up is the website, making a DIY Movies section that's as extensive as the DIY Books section. Touring the USA with Silico in October, planning to get back into writing the next book in November.
Announcer: Well, Jim...that was certainly interesting. I hope our readers enjoyed it as much as I did. Before you go, do you have anything you want to rant about for our audience?
Jim Munroe: I'm not that good at ranting anymore. [Crowd boos] Sorry!
Announcer: That's it folks! Give it up for New Media King Jim Munroe! You can get your copy of "Everyone in Silico" at www.nomediakings.org/IMadeMain.htm or pick up a US copy in November.