The real reason to write fiction, after all, isn’t to make money, nor to show the human heart in conflict with itself, nor to give a picture of one’s time, nor to call attention to the plight of any oppressed classes, but to show off. You want to be able to say to visitors, “Sit down, let me clear that stuff off the couch, it’s copies of my new novel.” And to show off effectively, I want each book to be as close as I can get it to what I want it to be. It’s like making six-foot-tall replicas of Gothic cathedrals out of toothpicks in your basement—you might as well get all the saints’ faces right.
( Read the full interview here.)
I love Tim Powers. I first came across a description of “The Anubis Gates” in Aldiss’s “Trillion Year Spree”, and thought the extract and the conceit were fantastic. Then to discover he was a friend of Philip K Dick’s. And then to come across “The Drawing of the Dark”, a title with many levels but an important one is simply pouring a glass of stout. I own a lot of books, but I’m not a collector, however by dint of eagerness in my purchasing I had two first editions of his, both loaned out never to be returned. I have recently read “Hide Me Among the Graves”, which I have to re-read to digest properly, but first I’ll re-read “The Stress of Her Regard”, a hard cover purchased when I had little money for such things, but otherwise I would have had to have waited another year to read it, and it wasn’t the sort of thing my local library was ever going to get in (it wasn’t a large print romance or Sven Hassell war porn, after all). If you disagree with this quote, remember that even Orwell (an early hero of mine, thanks to my mate Stephen) included in his “Why I Write”,
Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one.
I prefer the way Powers said it, though. “…copies of my new novel…” *sigh*