Excerpts from the interview:
“All fiction is lies, and all writers are liars. Dave Duncan's a writer, so why do you want to listen to what I've got to say? My wife sometimes asks, 'Won't you ever grow up?', and I say, 'Well, I couldn't do what I'm doing if I ever grew up!'
“I'm reasonably smug in this second career. I didn't become a writer until I was 50, and nobody goes right to the top if they wait that long. I went from being the new kid on the block to the grand old man of Canadian science fiction in about two books. I cannot speak for French-language SF in Canada, which has its own vibrant community. Speculative Fiction always suffers from too many writers and not enough readers, and this is especially true in Canada. By and large Canadian SF writers survive by selling to US markets, in both book and film. I don't mean that there are no good Canadian markets, but they lack the economy of scale to provide a living for a full-time professional SF writer, which is what I have been for twenty years now. An unfortunate side-effect of this situation is that SF tends to be seen as un-Canadian. Margaret Atwood goes into denial when accused of writing SF; even when she confesses to the crime, she sounds repentant. By and large, newspapers do not review SF. Most Canadians would be astonished to learn how many of our SF writers are acclaimed in other countries, and how often their work is translated into foreign languages. When my first book was published, I joked that Canadian SF writers were outnumbered by the nine justices of the Supreme Court. Now the membership of SFCanada exceeds the 105 members of the Canadian Senate.”
“It's interesting to try something new within the same genre. I find if I leave fantasy out, I'm not interested. The basis of all fiction is that life is just one damn thing after another, and fiction is our attempt to put some logic into it. We say 'That's not fair!' Well, life isn't fair. So you make up stories where it is fair. There's some god running things, or there's magic powers. And a lot of fantasy comes from 'These idiots can't possibly be my parents! One of these days, my real father and mother will drive up in the chariot and carry me off.'
“The label 'fantasy' can be like a stamp of approval for the view that you don't have to take the book seriously. It isn't going to lecture you on history or morals or whatever. It can, since good writers usually teach you something, but the lecture will be hidden behind a real good rattling story. I probably couldn't write anything entirely unserious, because I'm me. Only two writers or literary artists in history disappear totally in their writing: Shakespeare and Homer. You know nothing about them, by the time you've read everything they've created. They disguise themselves beautifully.”
“Like anything else human, religion has its good and its bad. It still does good work. I don't know how you measure evil, but it probably does as much evil as good. An awful lot of trouble back in the 17th century culminated in terrible religious wars. The reaction was to separate Church and State, like in the United States. That was a big step forward. Now the line is getting blurred again, and it's scary. Ultimately it leads to persecution.
“As for anyone who doesn't believe in evolution, ask them how they got there -- because they probably came in a car, driven on gasoline, which comes from oil. I was an oil geologist, and I know they couldn't have found that oil without using stratigraphy, which is based on index fossils, which require evolution. So they shouldn't drive cars if they don't believe in evolution, right? If God created everything all at once, then God was lying.”