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I always enjoy your books, both in print and electronically. Thank you so much.
Please answer the following two questions:
1. Since you are so well versed in the culinary arts, why is it so rare to see one
of your heroes cook?
2. Will there be a re-issue of "The Well"? Everyone keeps borrowing it, and it's
impossible to find it in stores.
Thanks for the question, considering you are the first participant in this interview.
Yes, I am a good cook, and I actually wrote a couple of "cooking" articles. And
sometimes, my heroes come across a "cooking" situation. In one of my early stories,
"Sergei Petrovich", the hero cooks oatmeal, and the story even offers the recipe.
In the story of "Apple from the Apple Tree", Yefim loves to fuss around the kitchen.
He cooks a variety of dishes, and a recipe for baked apples is included in the story.
We also have a Chef-Genius in the story of "Many-handed God of Dalayn". Of course,
his dishes can't be recreated for the lack of bread grass and tuivan fruit.
In medical chronicles "More Precious then Most" (not published, but in the files)
we have preparation for a feast for cardinal Tyron.
Maybe, it's not so much if compared with the rest of written by me, but I am
very afraid of self-repeating in my books. However, in the next novel, if I write it,
there will be an amateur cook. He is required for the storyline.
Unfortunately, I have no good news regarding "The Well". However, the contract
for that book just expired five days ago, and I haven't had a chance to think about
re-publishing it. I hope it will happen.
What hobby/job would you take up if writing didn't take up so much of your time? What are you
Taras Tir <
?, Russia - Tuesday, January 05, 1999 at 03:08:37 (MSK)
Sacrifices consist of walking in the woods and gardening. So if I weren't writing,
I don't know what I would do in winter! When I was a kid, I always counted seconds
left before summer vacation, the first morels. Since then, I'm in the habit of saying "Eighty six
thousand, four hundred", meaning "Summer will be here soon"
I am a man of a very bad discipline, the need to go to work every day kills me.
If it didn't, I'd probably be a school teacher. (Some of my students still call me sometimes)
Also, of my huge list of jobs I warmly remember the half of year I spent as a worker
in "Lenmelioration" trust. It is always good to work with soil.
Question: What would you say about my crazy idea of becoming a publisher?
What advice would you give regarding this subject? What is involved in being
a publisher? How about becoming an editor?
Taras Tir <
?, Russia - Thursday, January 07, 1999 at 01:15:25 (MSK)
A. A tricky question to answer. Ideally, a writer and publisher should have a common goal, however, now, it's more the case that everyone is out for themselves. My advice - hold on.
If a contract is signed, it means that both the author and the publisher are satisfied by the conditions. Then, it's a matter of "honor" that both parties fulfill them - completely and timely.
Can't really say much about an editing career.
Your first worry should be about selling books that are not out of the print yet.
Lots of great books haven't been sold because people didn't know how to sell them.
Currently, the price for a book is determined by the independent seller, which
increased serials' market and nearly killed the genre of short story.
You can understand the seller -- he needs to get his return.
So if you have an independent way of selling books, you can hold the
monopoly on publishing good quality books.
Question: So what are you writing now?
Moscow, Russia - Wednesday, January 27, 1999 at 21:11:32 (MSK)
A. Funny how the simplest questions can become the ones most hard to answer.
When I'm in a middle of a big project, usually I have no new story ideas, so when I
finish, I have somewhat of a creative "crisis".
To add to the dilemma, my previous novels were in the fantasy genre, so if I start
another project in the same style I'll be "rephrasing" myself.
Which I don't want to do, and frankly, am afraid of doing. So, here's four months
that I'm in limbo. I wrote a small cooking article, and am working on two more,
but in our times, no one pays anything for them. I wrote something called "Living
Souls" but it's not really a story, more like a philosophical essay. I'm also
working on another "weird" story idea. It will be very short.
I'm toying with two major ideas. One of them looks like a novel, but nothing
is definite yet, so it's hard to describe. It won't be Sci-Fi nor Fantasy, but something
so crazy that I haven't allotted it into a genre yet. A possible title is
"Light in the window".
I also started a fun space opera, got done about half a page. Which is too small
to know what's it is going to lead to. Working title - "The Player". Original,
Question: Slavochka, hello. Finally, we were able to reach you.
We have two questions, both about a beard.
Serezha's question: How does your lack of beard influencing your productivity? Do you perceive the world
differently? Your genre? Can we classify your works by presence of/lack of beard?
Marina's question:. Slava, you have such a wonderful singing voice. Where did you study singing? Did
you ever have to use your talent? Do you think if ever the hard times come, you'll
earn your living by singing?
Comment by Duches: So what if you have a beardů Now if you had a tailů
Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
Kiev, Ukraine - Saturday, January 30, 1999 at 22:45:43 (MSK)
Of course, the beard plays a vital role. Usually, presence of a beard signifies
longer stories, and lack of - shorter. I noticed, sans beard, it's easier to come
up with ideas, but with a beard - easier to write.
About singing voice - I have none! My Mom, in the late forties, sang in a Choir
of Sandler, and my sister... When she came to to Sandler's auditions, he came up to
her and asked her how she was related to my mom! Now that's a voice! I just squeak.
There is just a family tradition -- to sing. In weekdays and weekends, in evenings
instead of watching TV, during the day when doing common work. You'll appear to have
voice even if you don't want to
And the tail comment - what's so unusual about a tail? When I was a student I had
a whole bunch!
Question: I'd like to know what happened with Der-Nast, Hiyci who didn't like to wear clothes,
and other characters. Will they ever live again?
Since the novel is finished and I am not planning a sequel, these guys are pretty
much done. Of course, I have a huge chunk of a sequel laid out at the page, but 70% isn't 100%,
so until the story is published, the fate of these characters will be unknown. But, I'll
tell you this; Der Nast will live, though nothing good will happen for him. This powerful
mage has one human quality: he has pride, and won't bow even before the gods.
And gods don't like that.
Let the rest be a mystery. Otherwise, no one will want to read it.
A huge Thanks for "Of Grafs and Graphomaniacs"!
Writings of Tolstoy really are impossible
to read. (As are writings of Leninů)
Moscow, Russia - Monday, February 15, 1999 at 22:41:28 (MSK)
Thank you! I tried really hard. Sometimes, one does come across those negative responses.
In the almanac "Day and Night" (they published one of my articles) were printed letters
from two readers. Both of them suggested forced psychiatric help.
One was title "Medical Aid Necessary," the other "The Demon of Vanity"
As we can see, ideas of Lenin and Tolstoy are still aliveů
Question: What's up with "Black Whirlwind"? It wasn't in the bibliography, and the fragment
in "books" stops mid-phrase. Is it out or not? And if not, when is it going to?
Moscow, Russia - Monday, February 15, 1999 at 22:51:58 (MSK)
"Black Whirlwind" - as are other publishing projects in the country - is experiencing
a crisis. Actually, in the past couple of days, there was some movement. EKSMO gave a final
price, and Anri the illustrator drew some nice pictures. (I like especially the back covers).
Now we are just waiting for it to come out
Question: Your style - especially early works reminds me of works by Lev Vershinin. Is he
related to you? Are you even familiar with his works?
A. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint you: Lev Vershinin is not a relative.
He is a good friend of more then twelve years. So of course, I'm familiar and
very much respect his work. I never noticed our works were similar however.
But even if they are, we never know who influenced whom. I'm older then him by
ten years, and started writing fifteen years before he did, so a couple of my
early works were published when he was still in school.
I'd like to know what you would write if you were writing simply for pleasure,
for yourself? What does your heart yearn for? Will you have a sequel to one of
And besides, what do you prefer, fantasy Sci-Fi or historicals?
Chelyabinsk, Russia - Saturday, March 06, 1999 at 15:39:13 (MSK)
I myself often wonder the same exact thing. You see, I always write for "pleasure",
never anything I wouldn't want to write. Now, I want to write a little space operetta
- a genre no one really experimented before. Space opera is rather boring, but an operetta...
I really don't know what I prefer more - sci-fi fantasy or historical works. Historicals
require lot's of "technical" work, and sci-fi really works the imagination. It depends
on the mood, I guess.
Simple question: How do you feel about books in files?
Moscow, Russia - Tuesday, March 23, 1999 at 16:03:26 (MSK)
I don't really have any feeling about it. Sometimes, rarely, I read from the screen
- I prefer an actual "live" book.
About distributing my works online: a lot I uploaded myself, a lot were uploaded
with my permission. Unfortunately, now, it's impossible to publish anything new
that has gone through the Internet. Which means I have to hoard all my written works.
Hopefully, it will change soon.
In "The Many-handed God of Dalayn", the one published by Azbyka, there's an afterword by Balabukha
where a possibility is presented of a sequel. How do you feel about it - have you ever
seriously thought of a sequel?
p.s. By the way, what's up with Azbuka? Lately, they haven't published anything at all!
Perumov says it is on it's last breath, is that so?
SPb, Russia - 04/10/99 14:58:07 MSD
Actually, I did have a couple of thoughts about a sequel, and actually started writing
down a couple of things. Then I discovered that I was bored with it. The title is "Sitting
on the Edge" and though it's supposed to be fresh and new, it feels somehow stale. So I
put it off, and as it turned out, a lot of sketches were included in "Black Blood" and
"Earthly Ways". So, I may now definitely say that I won't have to walk the oroihons again.
Perhaps I'll put online that chapter that I wrote, but I'm afraid I'll be immediately
bombarded with "What happens next?"
Don't really know anything about Azbuka - I haven't been there for almost a year.
Can you clear up something? On the cover of "ManyHanded..." there's a blurb how you
won Beliaev's prize for the novel in 1994, yet, in the footnotes by Balabukha, it says
1995. Which one was it?
SPb, Russia - 04/10/99 15:00:49 MSD
The novel was published in 1994, and I received the award for it in 1995.
"Black Storm" and "Earth clouds" - are those fantasy and will they be published soon?
SPb, Russia - 04/10/99 15:05:14 MSD
Yes, both are fantasy, but I have no idea when they will be published. It was
supposed to happen last year, but haven't yet. For two months, all I'm hearing is
"They're coming out in a few weeks".
Do you have any plans to continue your partnership with Perumov and also, do you think you'll write a sequel to "Black Blood"?
SPb, Russia - 04/10/99 15:07:50 MSD
It was very interesting to work with Nik Peumov, and I would love to renew our
working relationship. Unfortunately, he has more projects then he can physically do,
so even though a sequel has long been though about, I was doing it solo.
(It's that same Black Whirlwind that somehow can't get published.
About your assumption that Socrates was poisoned with hellebore is not based
on anything. Somewhere I read that he was most certainly poisoned with hemlock.
It is more poisonous than hellebore and the taste is abominable - (konine alkaloid).
But it is not really important - one guess is worth another.
Stratmore, Australia - Saturday, May 01, 1999 at 19:28:05 (MSD)
The assumption that Socrates was poisoned with hellebore is not mine,
someone of the great humanists wrote about it - Rable or Erasm.
And since I don't consider hemlock a poison for many years, the words
about hellebore appeared to be a good ending for the article.
Question: This question has been asked for a hundred of times, but is "Black Blood/Black Whirlwind"
going to be a trilogy? At least after the Whirlwind I had an impression of the story stopped at halfword.
Moscow, Russia - Wednesday, May 12, 1999 at 20:31:03 (MSD)
No, there won't be a sequel. The story of Romar with no hands, and Unika with her
husband and son is finished completely. On purpose, I didn't elaborate how Unika
go back to her homeland- the reader now has to do the work and imagine it!
The book is over, I said all I wanted, now the reader has to work.
I finally started reading Black Storm. Didn't think you could do it without Perumov,
but you're really holding your own! I couldn't help it, I looked at the end to see
what happens, and immediately figured out that you cut it at the most interesting
part! Pretty sneaky. Meaning you'll have another "Blacků something". Just please,
don't touch Romar. Let him stay immortal. It'll be boring without him.
Aleksey Kolpikov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rostov-upon-the-Don, Russia - Wednesday, June 09, 1999 at 13:33:48 (MSD)
I really did work hard on this one. But just because it ends right at most interesting
moment, doesn't mean there will be a sequel. I really put down everything I meant to put
When you read something good, it doesn't end on the last page, you can still think about
what happens after the written story is over. I always did that when I finished reading
something. So no, there won't be a third story, but the second ended in such a way that
the reader can still "play" with the heroes, since their fate isn't at all finalized.
A rumor reached me about an atheistic project of fine city of Saint-Petersburg,
and someone called Loginov was going to participate. :-)
Please tell, at what stage is the project now and is it possible to see parts of it
PS: Anti-religious discussion from "The Well" does impress.
Not all rumors are true. As far as I know, there's no such "writers'" project.
Not everyone writing messages in Fido or Internet is a writer.
I really did receive some kind of an invitation, but very politely declined it.
My refusal does not at all mean a refusal of my own views. I was a militant
atheist and I remain one, but any propaganda has to find those to whom it is directed to
achieve its purpose.
And even in a nightmare I can't imagine anyone in our time read rotaprint atheistic
brochures. So, this kind of publication would be a waste of time.
I believe, a book written with atheistic or god-fighting position in mind
is far more successful, than the most rageous of the publicistic essays, but
I don't refuse to work on essays either. Anywaym all atheistic propaganda
of Soviet times is firmly forgotten, while the books of atheists like
Mark Twain or Leo Taksil are live and keep battling the obscurantism. Who
remembers atheistic articles of Vladimir Tendrakov now? And "The Marvellous" will
be read for a long time.
To the best of my ability, I try to act similarly. Atheistic position is
present not only in the novel "The Well", but in the "God of Dalayn...", in "Earthly
Ways" novels, in the "In your name", "Miracle of an ordinary day", stories, in
"Equal to a god", "Living souls" short stories. I think, such propaganda is much
more effective than writing articles for emaciated brochures. At least the
books will be read and the word heard by real people.
Question: So what is your profession? I read your bio - Cook, teacherů What do
you do, really?
Yekaterinburg, Russia - Monday, August 16, 1999 at 18:24:40 (MSD)
I'm really a writer. Meaning, I don't work anywhere, and live on the royalties.
They aren't too big, but I don't really need much. Plus, this way, I can write, write write...
Q. I just read a great article (Of Grafs and Graphomaniacs). How we all just accept popular
opinion. A hundred years ago someone decided that Lev Tolstoy is a genius. Fine, let him
be one. And no-one considered the fact that his books are impossible to get through.
I love Gogol (I even liked his stuff when I was young and he isn't exactly a writer for
youths!). In school, we read Turgeniev's stuff - didn't have much of a problem. Of people
I know, at least one loves Dostoevsky, some love Pushkin and Lermontov. But no one could
get through "War and Peace" ! Everyone tried butů
I thought it was because of his "geniuses" - not everybody. But after reading your article,
well, it made sense. One more "complex" I got rid of. Thank you so much!
I loved "Many-handed God..." The vocabulary there is just great! You can make a Tenger
dictionary. And it was such a great easy read (well, maybe except the first ten
or so pages). When I read Tolstoy, I never really felt for the heroes, I didn't
really care for them one way or the other. So not to take away attention from t
he "meaning" of the book, some would say. I can only imagine what Tolstoy would
write of fantasy Sci-Fi.
Thank god, he didn't live to see it!
By the way, Efremov the Soviet writer can hold up a candle to Tolstoy - i
n terms of hugeness and sheer boredom of works. (Andromeda Nebula... yuck!)
Your books are wonderful! But we can't buy them anywhere! I downloaded an abstract from
"Earthly Ways" from the Net, but I can't find "The Well". Can you publish more in the Net??
1. Where do you work now?
2. Hard to formulate what I want to say: great bulk of fantasy consists of good vs.
evil, good winning, evil stepping back only to return. Yet, your books are very
original. Really make you think about live, and the meaning of it, and
3. How do you come up with different worlds and heroes like Dalayn, Many-handed, Shooran?
Thank you for the letter. I'm glad I was able to get rid of a childhood "complex" .
I'll try to answer your questions.
The history of "Many-handed God Of Dalayn" is documented in the article by Andrey
Balabukha. A lot of it was child's play, and the Mongol Dictionary. That world
took thirty years in the making.
"The Well" was a paradox: no-body could find it anywhere, but they sold it for
two years here in St. Petersburg. So we couldn't publish more because they weren't
out of stock, but no one else could find it. I'm trying to get it republished.
We'll know the answer in a few months.
How does a book combine sound plot and work of thought? I don't think it can exist otherwise. If a
hero get's up and runs away, I'll need to know why did he and where is he running. I don't believe the villains
are simply villains - they need something human that pushes them to do those
villainous deeds. And a hero being a hero simply because he is "good" is boring.
So you need to feel for both and understand what drives both.
About where I work: I don't really work anywhere other then being a writer.
Finally, the question I don't really know how to answer: I don't know where
those worlds and heroes come from. All of a sudden there's a bunch of people
talking about something and getting into such mess you don't know how to get
them out. So you don't really "make up" stuff - you simply write the truth
about them. In this case, sci-fi and realism are very similar.
Question: I love your books. Where are your parents from? What kinds of songs did they teach you?
Both my parents were born in Leningrad, with my mother's roots in Volhov, and father's in Riazan and Austria.
About songs: no-one really taught me, they were just sung a lot in my family.
We sang everything - ballads, soviet lyrical songs, college amateur songs. Mom
did some arias from operas, and Grandma and Grandpa sang Russian Folk Songs. I
still like to sing, especially when I mess around in the kitchen.
If you really think that, you don't really understand anything. And if that's your
way of getting attention, you're a bastard.
It's always interesting to note the politeness of those who defend Tolstoy.
Question: I read your articles - pretty interesting. The "Graphomaniacal" essay even inspired to throw
a little stone into your garden. And if it's really necessary to observe the purity of a
language, please note your spelling of "Fantasy" as you have written it in the Cinderella
article. Excuse me, it's a bit nit- picky, yet very noticeable. Or is not your error? If
I remember correctly you did some translations of T. Dish and he is an English-speaking
I fully admit it - the mistake is mine. I'd like to correct it but I don't know how to
do it on an internet published article. As for my translating career - I don't understand
a single word in the English language, having studied French in school and getting a C at
The real translator in the work you are referring to was Misha Pchelintsev, and I just
"prettied" it up. Marshak once said that "Translations are like women - they are one of the two:
true or beatiful. It was my job to see that the translation was
written in a normal language, so choosing between "ugly" and "flighty" I chose pretty.
Some readers, especially those very familiar with English and not so well in Russian don't
like those types of translation. To appease these people, I'd like to note that I haven't
done any sort of translations in a while.
And finally a Russian proverb from Dahl - "it's not a thief who steals, but who translates".1)
(In Russian, "to translate" (a text) and "to shift the blame" are the same word. - D.L.)
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(˝) 1999 Layout, Preparation Eugene Smirnoff.
(˝) 1999 Editor-in-chief Dmitriy Vatolin.
(˝) 1999, 2002 Design, pictures Aleksey Andreyev.
(c) 2002 Design, pictures Vladimir Savvateev
(c) 2002 Translation into English Faina Khait
(c) 2002 Editing and proofreading Denis Lianda
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The page was created in October, 1998.