Four sets of questions here:
I am buoyed up by a basic faith in humanity: that political leaders are, on the whole, not mendacious or even particularly greedy (if you are greedy, there are much better ways of making money than going into politics). And they are therefore susceptible to reasoned argument. Some are obviously more so than others; and some simply have very different world-views to mine. But in general, I feel that it is possible to make a small difference by my own efforts, so I keep on going.
Superhero, of course. I am basically a Good Person.
Unless total anonymity were assured, and I knew that nobody would ever penetrate my secret identity. Then – Bwa! Ha! Ha! – I could certainly be a super-villain!
Why, thank you. I would heartily recommend Ali and Nino, the great romantic novel of the South Caucasus, by Kurban Said.
(Do you feel fine?) Is it a thing of poetry or of prose?
If I am describing it, prose. Have never quite been able to discipline my thoughts into the poetic format.
I have always been deeply and utterly fascinated by Eleanor of Aquitaine. I don’t think I would learn much from her, but there would be a certain amount of overwhelmed fanboy in my demeanour if I got to talk to her.
Countries I have visited: I do like Macedonia, a small Balkan state which I feel I have very much got the hang of, and which I have not explored to my satisfaction. The most intriguing place I haven’t visited is Pitcairn Island, because of its bizarre and disturbing human story.
Crumbs, only three? Well, I’m leaving out Northern Ireland, and also the Balkans, because I think they are on their way to reasonably equitable settlement without my supernatural help. The three that worry me most are Israel/Palestine, which seems to have a pernicious influence all over the rest of the world; Cyprus, which seems monumentally intractable and has potentially huge geopolitical implications; and Armenia/Azerbaijan, which I think has similar wider destabilising potential.
The way her eyes dance when she is amused.
Good food, good reading, and a little culture.
My summary for the blog (actually written in response to an earlier interview question) says “Husband, father of three, Irish, European, UK citizen, liberal, Catholic, political analyst, science fiction fan, psephologist, lapsed medievalist, aspiring polyglot.” I think the Irish and liberal elements are the most important ones in making me who I am.
Very difficult. I envy all fiction writers. I also envy all writers of great non-fiction. I suppose I really wish I had had the time resources and intellectual application to write Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. As it is, all I’ve managed is to read bits of it.
I was not a total neofan in Belfast; I had a certain amount of form already through my website reviewing Hugo nominees from 2000 onwards, and from posting to rec.arts.sf.written since 1995. And I think my decision to start reviewing books on my livejournal, plus my attendance at the first P-Con, and then Pico-Con and a First Thursday last year, all helped. Also the fact that I do a lot of panel presentations at work can’t have done me any harm as an attractive Worldcon panel participant.
Living where and as I do, I don’t think I will be able to make much of a contribution to con-running in the near future. However, I would like to put something back into the fannish community, and will be thinking about that over the next few months.
Oh, almost all of them. Special hugs to Juliet McKenna though, who is awfully good fun to hang out with and actually writes decent books as well; I guess she is probably the only one who I got to know in person before reading her works!
Now, that would be telling. I must say the one co-panellist whose behaviour really appalled me – turned up late, reeking of his previous night’s activities and made an incoherent rambling contribution to the panel – isn’t especially known as an author.
Ecclestone is a very tough act to follow. But I have hopes of Tennant. As far as I know he is the first actual diehard fan of the series to get the job. He is certainly not the worst so far. But I confess my knowledge of Who is largely based on the Baker and Davison years, and I’m still catching up with some of the rest.
- What is the draw of politics for you? You seem to have been interested in it for years in various capacities and still maintain an active interest.
I want to make the world a better place; and I kid myself that by getting involved I can help to do just that. Also I am fascinated by voting and election results, which does sort of translate into politics fairly readily…
- If you could punch a single writer for their works who would it be and why?
I am generally a non-violent kind of guy, but I was most recently really annoyed by Rebecca Jenkins’ book on Fanny Kemble. Some of the political stuff I read on-line makes me angry as well. But in general it is not so much the fiction writers who irritate me for writing bad fiction as their publishers for inflicting it on the world.
- What three discretionary items would you bring to a desert island vacation, you know outside of things like keys, wallet, cellphone?
1) Lots of books
2) lots more books
3) massage oil
- Of all the languages that you have heard, which do you think is the sexiest?
I’ve said before that I love the sound of both Italian and Finnish. But there is something just a bit more earthy and sexy about Spanish! (Which I also do not speak)
- Your favourite tv show of all time? And why is it your favourite?
Hmm. I can’t really pick just one. Doctor Who and Buffy have both been great at different times; likewise, at a much earlier point in my life, Hill Street Blues. Anything with humour, drama, and decent characterisation. But to be honest, television has not been such an important part of my life.