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Science Fiction Fantasy Blog

Interview with Ben Winters

You can click here for the full interview, but here's a highlight from it: 

What was the most surprising thing you learned about what could occur in the months leading up to Earth’s destruction?

Well, the projected physical devastation has been pretty well covered by disaster movies: the crater, the tsunamis, the cloud of ash, and so on. All horrifying and more or less accurate (depending on the size of the object). What I was most fascinated by was everything I learned about economic behavior in the face of uncertainty. I talked a lot with economists about, for example, what the Federal Reserve would do to encourage savings and keep the economy in motion if there was, say, a one-in-one-hundred chance of apocalypse. So I learned about megaton blasts and global temperature drop, but also about inflationary pressure and the interest rate and the stock market.

In a world where there are high rates of suicide, instances of martial law, and widespread apathy, how do you create a story that the characters and the readers will find important? It’s all about my hero, Detective Palace. He cares, so—hopefully—the reader will care. He would never say it this way, but he believes that every human life matters, that every murder is a diabolical act, even when all human life is about to end. When you see it that way, the stakes are higher against a background of suicide and martial law and apathy; the essential humanness that Palace clings to matters more—more than ever.

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