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Talk To Xanth Creator Piers Anthony

Roblimo posted about 12 years ago | from the beware-of-the-invisible-giant dept.

News 439

Not only is Piers Anthony one of the world's most popular fantasy authors (his books have been science fiction and fantasy staples for decades) but he has been using Linux and StarOffice 5.2 for the past year. This is your opportunity to ask Piers about either the technical aspects of using Linux and StarOffice to produce fiction or about his upcoming work (new Xanth novels coming soon!) or almost anything else. We'll forward 10 of the highest-moderated questions to Piers tomorrow, and will run his answers (verbatim, as always) as soon as he gets them back to us.

cancel ×


put it first? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3843801)

what happened to this story....why is it down

And what are you supposed to do with a manically depressed robot...

Claimed (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | about 12 years ago | (#3844026)

Again. Claimed for me. Good pr0n to get it from me.

FAILED ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844116)

Dead Fart Warrior 2D+4 sexual power
AC faggot 9D+5 sexual power
AC casts gay lighting.
Dead Fart Warrior fails saving throw.
Dead Fart Warrior is surrounded by pink light.
Dead Fart Warrior is blinded.
Dead Fart Warrior is stunned.
Dead Fart Warrior is stumbles.
AC cast protection from FP claims.
AC is protected.
Dead Fart Warrior fires FP claim.
AC is not affected.
FP claim fails.

Re:FAILED ! (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | about 12 years ago | (#3844159)

Great, I've been waylaid by a frickin D&D dork.

You know what's funny, when some dude acts cool, and starts rolling his d20s, and someone big like me kicks their ass, and shoves 2 d20s up their nostrils until they bleed from the eyes.

The culture novels (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3843847)

What do you think of Ian M. Bank's writings, in particular the Culture series of post-scarcity sci-fi ?

Second post, fuckholes (-1)

Reikk (534266) | about 12 years ago | (#3843854)

Yes, bitches, bow down to me.

Re:Second post, fuckholes (-1, Offtopic)

ganiman (162726) | about 12 years ago | (#3843913)

posts like this are stupid, because by the time you click the submit button, you are no longer the second (or first post) but the third. idiot.

Re:Second post, fuckholes (-1)

News For Turds (580751) | about 12 years ago | (#3844102)

lol u r teh WROGN!

Computer? (0, Redundant)

cperciva (102828) | about 12 years ago | (#3843857)

What sort of computer do you use to write your books? And what operating system does it run?

Re:Computer? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3843994)

Windows or Mac, pal, you can bet on it.

That's how it goes and, you know, that's how it oughta be.

Re:Computer? (1)

joyoflinux (522023) | about 12 years ago | (#3844028)

The submission said Linux and Star Office 5.2..The 'what sort of computer' would be interesting, though..

Re:Computer? (1)

Steveftoth (78419) | about 12 years ago | (#3844040)

What is this? Are you from

Literature question (-1, Troll)

gazbo (517111) | about 12 years ago | (#3844061)

Having read many of your works, I must first thank you for such a stimulating read. Much better than the other crap we're bombarded with.

What I wanted to know was how did you keep the inspiration for such fascinatingly original works? In your third book for example, you shun the usual literary clich of sex between man and woman, instead choosing homosexual scat sex. As a coprophage myself, I was stunned by the remarkably true-to-life way in which you describe the involuntary coughing caused by a peanut scratching the inside of your throat as it pokes out of the side of a shit.

Another example would be when your character Maldaster Tacolion urinates in the face of Lunax Trovast, comes up his nostrils and then sucks the mixture out.

Please could you enlighten me where such inspiration flows from?

Motivations for the switch? (5, Interesting)

Corvaith (538529) | about 12 years ago | (#3843858)

Not that switching over to Linux is, of course, a bad thing, but what I'd like to know from Mr. Anthony is--What made him change to Linux, and how he progressed in switching over? What parts were most difficult?

Re:Motivations for the switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844042)

Just for the record, some years ago he switched from CP/M to MSDOS, and he had some choice descriptions of the situations in one of his Author's Notes. His first impression of MS and their product was pretty grim.

I'll admit I haven't read anything by him in five years or more, so it couldn't have been more recent than Xanth 12 or so.

I hope the parent gets modded up, because I know he's an irascible old fart, and I'd like to hear the reasoning :-)

Publishers and StarOffice? (5, Interesting)

sparty (63226) | about 12 years ago | (#3843883)

With larger documents and the importance of formatiting in the publication process, have you had difficulty with publishers and document submission? If so, has your establishment (ie previously published work) allowed you to overcome opposition of the "we-don't-support-that" variety? Or did you find that publishers were open to alternate submission formats? Or were they already using other formats (I know some authors have actually typeset their works themselves, using LaTeX, but I assume they are few and far between).

In short, modern print publishing requires a lot of attention to detail and transmission of large documents electronically--how do you make it work with your chosen set of tools, when publishers probably don't expect authors to be using that paritcular set of tools?

How Do I Get Published? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3843923)

My question is, how can I also get whatever drops out of my butt published?

I've been trying for years to get a publisher to even *read* a manuscript, yet this guy writes books about unicorns humping the devil or whatever the hell bizarre little fetish is giving him a chubby at the moment, and it gets published.

And don't even get me started on Discworld "novels".

Sorry. I had to get that off my chest.

I have "real" questions:

How does using StarOffice compare with more "established" word processors like "Word" in terms of usability?

Do you worry about document portability in the future? What formats does StarOffice allow you to save? What format do you use consistently? How well does StarOffice import from, say, "Word" format?

Are publishers beginning to accept documents in electronic format, or are they still stuck in the paper-age? If so, what formats do they accept and does StarOffice produce them, or do you need to convert them first?

Re:How Do I Get Published? (3, Informative)

Pxtl (151020) | about 12 years ago | (#3844173)

Yes, Anthony sucks.... however, Discworld is Pratchett. Don't knock Pratchett.

What drove you to use Linux? (5, Interesting)

Faldgan (13738) | about 12 years ago | (#3843942)

You are a professional writer, not a professional computer nerd. With computer people, we try/run linux because we can. With people that are not full-time computer geeks, if they run linux, it's because something drove them to it, either something they disliked about their previous OS, or something they wanted from linux. Why did you switch?

Literary Scope (5, Interesting)

AlphaHelix (117420) | about 12 years ago | (#3843960)

I enjoyed many of your books when I was much younger, and I found that they had a fantastic impact on my vocabulary and imagination. However, at around age 14, I started to feel that the newer novels that you were producing (this was in 1990 or so) were much more commerically oriented (I particularly recall that making the Brown Adept a lesbian seemed out of character and gratuitously sexual.) I'm now a much more mature reader, and I generally eschew the fantasy and science fiction genres for their immaturity, prefering works with more developed characters. My question to you is: Where do you feel your work fits into the science fiction/fantasy genre, and more importantly, where does it fit into the greater literary scheme of things?

Re:Literary Scope (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 12 years ago | (#3844141)

However, at around age 14, I started to feel that the newer novels that you were producing (this was in 1990 or so) were much more commerically oriented (I particularly recall that making the Brown Adept a lesbian seemed out of character and gratuitously sexual.)

I don't think it has anything to do with the books he was writing in 1990 or any other date. I think it was the fact that you were 14. That is about the same age that many people seem to give up on his writings. It happened to me and my peer group around 1985 when were in the 14-15 year old bracket and it seems to have happened to a lot of people I have met since then, regardless of the actual year it happened, the one thing in common is that all of them grew out of Piers Anthony books by the time their 15th birthday rolled around.

Re:Literary Scope (2)

MisterBlister (539957) | about 12 years ago | (#3844144)

I'm now a much more mature reader, and I generally eschew the fantasy and science fiction genres for their immaturity, prefering works with more developed characters.

So true. For every Brave New World or SnowCrash, SciFi gives us thousands of novels that are literary diarrhea.

Re:Literary Scope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844214)

well, true. But then again so does mainstream fiction, or most other genres.

Re:Literary Scope (3, Interesting)

crumley (12964) | about 12 years ago | (#3844228)

So true. For every Brave New World or SnowCrash, SciFi gives us thousands of novels that are literary diarrhea.
Well, what you say is true, but you are too focussed on SF. As Sturgeon's Law [] says 90% of the novels in every genre stinks.

Re:Literary Scope (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844184)

I enjoyed many of your books when I was much younger, and I found that they had a fantastic impact on my vocabulary and imagination. However, at around age 14, I started to feel that the newer novels that you were producing (this was in 1990 or so) were much more commerically oriented (I particularly recall that making the Brown Adept a lesbian seemed out of character and gratuitously sexual.) I'm now a much more mature reader, and I generally eschew the fantasy and science fiction genres for their immaturity, prefering works with more developed characters. My question to you is:
Will using open source software help you become less of a hack?

Would/do you recomend Open Source to others? (4, Interesting)

maddogsparky (202296) | about 12 years ago | (#3843966)

Would/do you recommend open source tools to others in your field? If not, what is holding you back? If you are already an advocate, have you convinced anyone to switch? Who?

Juvenile vs Adult fiction (5, Interesting)

MattW (97290) | about 12 years ago | (#3843968)

I must have read at least 20 of your books between 11 and 17, but over time, they seemed to lose their luster. A lot of people I know had a similar fascination, and a similar segue into other reading. Do you believe that your work in fantasy is targetted at the juvenile market? Is that intentional or accidental? Have you had pressure from publishers over the years to try to be 'more mainstream' or perhaps specifically write to the young adult market?

Re:Juvenile vs Adult fiction (5, Interesting)

dirvish (574948) | about 12 years ago | (#3844190)

You should check out the first Bio of a Space Tyrant book. It is targeted at a more mature audience and one of the best books I have read.

I would like to know what motivated Mr. Anthony to write books that are so different from each other, ie I enjoyed the Xanth series when I was about 11 or 12, but wouldn't read it now but the Bio of a Space Tyrant is still good today at the ripe old age of 22.

Interprobability (3, Interesting)

Streyeder (569869) | about 12 years ago | (#3843974)

How has your experience with transferring files between office programs and operating systems? Unless, of course, this never occurs between you and your publisher.

Interprobability - chance of a crossover universe (2)

count0 (28810) | about 12 years ago | (#3844010)

Hey Pier - what is the interprobability of a crossover series? Say Xanth and Incarnations? just kidding.

Any more Apprentice Adept? (2, Interesting)

Caduceus1 (178942) | about 12 years ago | (#3843977)

Piers, any plans to work in the Apprentice Adept universe again? I was a big fan of those books, although it seemed to get stretched in the later novels. I remember reading that you were moving to the Mode novels instead and had no plans for Adept, but that was years ago...

Re:Any more Apprentice Adept? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844157)

Piers, any plans to work in the Apprentice Adept universe again? [...] although it seemed to get stretched in the later novels. ...

s/Apprentice Adept/Xanth/
s/stretched/worn thin/

s/Xanth/Incarnations of Immortality/

s/Piers/Anne McCaffrey/
s/Incarnations of Immortality/Pern

s/Pern/Crystal Singer


Incarnations of Immortality (5, Interesting)

totallygeek (263191) | about 12 years ago | (#3843979)

I love that series of books. I always thought that they would make one great (2.5 hour) movie. Now that special effects are both a reality and inexpensive (thanks largely to Linux and computer pricing drops), do you see a movie of this series in the near future?

Re:Incarnations of Immortality (1)

sirgoran (221190) | about 12 years ago | (#3844119)

I whole heartedly agree. But the question could be expanded to ask if any of his books/series might now be moved to the big or small screen.

Re:Incarnations of Immortality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844124)

"On a Pale Horse" would make an excellent move, and you could get Whelan to do the movie poster!

Re:Incarnations of Immortality (2)

MisterBlister (539957) | about 12 years ago | (#3844126)

Now that special effects are both a reality and inexpensive (thanks largely to Linux and computer pricing drops),

Good special effects are NOT inexpensive. Look at Harry Potter. They poured millions into it and it had some of the shoddiest special effects ever.

While free OSes (like Linux) for rendering & workstation use are nice, the savings there is nothing compared to the time-costs of good human animators and programmers required to create custom software and scripts (if you want truly good special effects).

You really enjoy Xanth? Or is it the money? (5, Interesting)

count0 (28810) | about 12 years ago | (#3843980)

How can you keep your current and future work in the Xanth world from becoming commercially-driven drivel? I stopped reading Xanth books when they started to seem forced - written for the fans, written for the publisher, no longer written for yourself. Sure, they were still full of atrocious puns, and some ridiculously funny situations, but the depth seemed lacking. That was in the early 90s. Anything improved? Or am I mistaken, and you're still as engaged as ever, and not a victim (like Frank Herbert) of publishers demanding new books with an established fan base.

"A Spell for Chameleon" was the first book I ever bought with my own money (at age 11 or so). Somehow the early 90s Xanth work didn't stack up for me. It wasn't just that I have grown personally - I re-read "ASfC" just a couple years ago and still enjoyed it. Maybe I'll have to check out the latest opus and see if anything's changed (or if I have...).

Re:You really enjoy Xanth? Or is it the money? (1)

Lil'wombat (233322) | about 12 years ago | (#3844158)

Its the money. I read an article by Piers thats talks about his approach to the business of writing. Given that you have only so many years as a productive writer, he can't afford to write books that his publisher won't print. He does an outline first and gets the publisher to buy that. If they don't like the outline, he never writes the book.

Here's a scary thought, the drivel he writes was printed - what was the crap that never got past the outline stage like?

I have to agree-- Xanth got dumbed-down (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844237)

When I read A spell For Chameleon (and the Split Infinity series) I was totally blown away. But as I got older and kept reading the new books as they came out, it seemed that they started getting more sexual and less mature in some way.

Now don't get me wrong-- I LOVE immature, and I LOVE sexual-- just not from this type of book.. it starts getting a little creepy. After a while, I kinda stepped out of the Xanth series. I was SO excited at one time when the next one came out, and then all of a sudden I was like, "Blah, whatever."

Did I grow out of Xanth, or did Xanth just get dumbed-down? I think the latter, because upon rereading the originals, I was astounded by how good they were. Not so "here's a pun for a pun's sake" and more plot and character driven.

Well, I guess this is more of a comment than a question. If P.A. ever reads this-- please write towards an older audience-- you're such a fantastic writer, I mean really a legend, and when you're pandering we can feel it. Let the kids read up to your level.

Thanks, and thanks for the great reads.

What tools? (5, Interesting)

_Quinn (44979) | about 12 years ago | (#3843985)

I imagine that the publisher has its own ideas about how the printed books should be formatted, but WYSIWYG seems to the dominant paradigm in word processing today. I remember reading (a while back) about (geez, was it wordstar?) some custom macros you had so you could keep comments in-line with the text, but skip over or locate them easily. Do you do something similar now? Do you do some sort of markup for things like chapter-opening quotes, or whatever? (I suppose that means: can you mark a block as some StarOffice style and the publisher will read that and Do The Right Thing w.r.t. to its formatting in the book?)

Do you have a really nice monitor, or do you get hardcopies to do your revisions?


Re:What tools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844175)

WYSIWYG seems like it would be completely useless to a novelist. It seems like the ideal environment would be a smallish black and white (or other soothing combination) monitor. It seems you'd want pretty much just your text on the screen, and a quick way to navigate through what you've written. Publishers shouldn't care what the format is as long is it's not proprietary. Probably the less formatting, the better.

About the best editor I've seen for this sort of work was the Story Editor in PageMaker around 1994. Your text in a window with a column on the left showing paragraph style for non-default paragraphs.

Being such an active practitioner of wordplay... (5, Interesting)

mcarbone (78119) | about 12 years ago | (#3843991)

what's your favorite pun?

Re:Being such an active practitioner of wordplay.. (1)

bernz (181095) | about 12 years ago | (#3844241)

I don't know about his, but the other day I heard a most delicious one:

I once had a boat and I named it "Unthinkable".

As a writer (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 12 years ago | (#3843992)

A really simple question...

As a writer myself I am curious how you go about writing...I read the notes you had in the in the "incarnations"(Your best in my opinion BTW) series so I guess I am looking to see if time and/or new technology has changed any of that....

Top Fantasy Publishers? (4, Interesting)

MattW (97290) | about 12 years ago | (#3843995)

If you were giving advice to a first-time author who wanted to shop around a fantasy manuscript -- and it was vibrant, original, compelling, and entertaining -- what publishers would you recommend? Assume the goal of this author is to be as widely read as possible, and the author is willing to do their part. (Grueling signing tour, visit tons of cons, etc) What publishers would be best at polishing the work and promoting it well?

Which OS? (3, Funny)

Art_XIV (249990) | about 12 years ago | (#3843996)

Which operating system do you feel is most suitable for automating the summoning/conjuring of demons?

So.... (-1)

govtcheez (524087) | about 12 years ago | (#3843999)

So Anthony uses Linux, so what?

Does this mean slashbots will bitch if he doesn't give his books away for free along with the way to write them?

Movies (0)

cmdr_forge (588346) | about 12 years ago | (#3844001)

What was your opinion of total recall the movie? Do you feel that your books "translate" well into movies?

Re:Movies (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 12 years ago | (#3844096)

Um....he wrote the novelization of the movie, based on a short story by an entirely different really the translation goes in entirely the other direction....

Philip K. Dick (2)

crush (19364) | about 12 years ago | (#3844197)

was the original author. The story was "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". Good movie, well realized, but IMHO the short-story was better, there was more than one level of uncertainty about whether or not the whole experience was a hallucinatory holiday. IIRC the short story ended up with the revelation that the hero had saved mini-space aliens that could destroy the earth. They were grateful to the hero so the Govt. couldn't kill him. Still, a good movie.

Question for PA (2, Interesting)

Ransak (548582) | about 12 years ago | (#3844016)

Running an 'alternate' OS as your main system for producing your works, have you ran into any incompatablities with distributing your works to publishers? Have they been willing to work with you on any incompatability problems? Are you happier writing on a free OS (in terms of flexibility, over all 'feel')? PS: Love the Incarnations of Immortality series!

dirty, dirty xanth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844019)

Why do your books always feature sex and manufactured situations where the character has to think out of the box to solve a problem? Ex. On a Pale Horse (breathing through the scythe) and countless others, particularly in Xanth. I used to be a regular reader of your books but the repetitiveness got to me. I knew most of what was going to happen after reading the first couple pages. It is like reading the same book 10 times from different angles.

Source of Inspiration (2, Interesting)

gilly_gize (470403) | about 12 years ago | (#3844020)

So has Linux ever served as a source of inspiration for any of your writing?

(Maybe naming a character "grep" or incoporating recursive acronyms into the title or something)

not a question, but interesting factoid (2)

loosenut (116184) | about 12 years ago | (#3844031)

FYI: The name for the Xanth novels is derived from Piers' name: Pier _Xanth_ ony.

Re:not a question, but interesting factoid (0)

CableModemSniper (556285) | about 12 years ago | (#3844148)

No it isn't. He was looking thru a baby names book for a name for his daughter and came across Xanthe. He didn't name her that, but later dropped the e for the name of his little world.

Is Fantasy blasphemy ? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844035)

Fantasy authors create imaginary "universes"
where other rule than the ones in our universe
But should they do that ?
Isn't this making mockery of the Lord's creation ?
Don't they put themselves in the place of Allah ?
Their "world" are usually terribly logically
flawed - not surprising.
Terrible thing always happen if mem put himself
at Allahs place. Just look at Palestine.

Also these Fantasy books contain often references
to witchcraft and satanism.
Shouldn't be banned for children because of this ?

Many Fantasy authors are also often rumored to be
members of the OTO like Marylin Mason.

Re:Is Fantasy blasphemy ? (1)

iamchaos (572797) | about 12 years ago | (#3844230)

I did not realize that Marlyn Manson was a member of Ordo Templi Orientis [] . Interesting indeed. Now, does that make the OTO bad or Manson bad? What ever happened to using the human imagination? I guess Allah wants to ban that to, while making people suffer and making women's life horrible. My question would be: Do you have to put up with blind ignorance like this on a daily basis?

publishers and electronic formats (2)

MattW (97290) | about 12 years ago | (#3844036)

How eager are publishers to get your work electronically when you submit it? Do you believe they'd feel the same about work from first-time authors? And do they try to insist on getting proprietary formats, or are they ready to handle formats like StarOffice?

Incarnations series (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844039)

Though you are most well known for Xanth, I would say that some of my favourite books are the Incarnation series. What inspired you to write these books? Is there/are there reasons other then ones expressed in the appendix at the end of each?

Inspirations? (4, Interesting)

kasparov (105041) | about 12 years ago | (#3844049)

First, I just wanted to say, "Thank you," for releasing your version of "But What of Earth." The "co-authored" version that they put out was horrible in comparison.

I know this isn't a Linux or StarOffice question, but I'm very curious about who your inspirations were in the Sci-Fi realm. Who are your favorite authors?

opinions changed (2)

Mynn (209621) | about 12 years ago | (#3844050)

Does he still think computer manuals are scripted by demons in hell, or has he grown up a bit (along with our industry's improvements).

On the Uses of Torture (3, Interesting)

medcalf (68293) | about 12 years ago | (#3844059)

What was your inspiration for "On the Uses of Torture," and do you find that your fans are more or less interested in this kind of story than in your more well-known works?

Practicing (1)

Alan Livingston (209463) | about 12 years ago | (#3844060)

If you're a master uber-geek, woulkd it be possible to "practice" Windows into Linux?

Re:Practicing (2)

jd142 (129673) | about 12 years ago | (#3844220)

Are you confusing him with David Brin? He wrote The Practice Effect, which actually reminded me much more of Stasheff's the Warlock In Spite of Himself than anything by Anthongy.

Your a linux user right? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844063)

That means your gay! How does it feel to have a long hard cock coming in to your anus.

Is the source of PUNs going to increase? (1)

dawime (29644) | about 12 years ago | (#3844065)

You have made several puns that relate to windows, and I guess with GNU/Linux, do you think the number of PUNs will increase? And will the audience get those?

Why did you switch to Linux for the desktop? (1)

crispenigl (456776) | about 12 years ago | (#3844077)

Most people, including myself, use Linux for mail,dns and web servers and MS for the desktop. Why did you switch to Linux for the Desktop?

Thanks for writing "The Iron Maiden" I have been waiting for this book for years :)


Handheld PDA (4, Interesting)

robbway (200983) | about 12 years ago | (#3844081)

I've shamelessly stopped reading your books awhile ago, but I've always been fascinated by your commentary on writing, your choice of computers, life with macros, and your insistance on portable computing so that you could write whenever the ideas hit. Have you ever tried, or even switched to a PDA for your remote writings?

Child Molester-sounding book titles? (5, Funny)

tommck (69750) | about 12 years ago | (#3844091)

The day my friends came over for a party and pulled The Color of Her Panties off my shelf and started taunting me (it still hasn't stopped and its 8 years later), is the day I stopped reading the Xanth novels. It didn't help that there was a little girl of about 7 years old with plaid panties on the cover!

My Question: Can you continue to write novels so that nerds can read them without the title causing them to get their asses kicked more than already happens?


Through the Ice (1)

dhclab49 (567553) | about 12 years ago | (#3844113)

I went to high school with Robert Kornwise and just wanted to say that it was a wonderful thing you did finishing his book.

He was a great guy and you did a fantastic honor to him.

A technical question for Piers. (2, Funny)

Doktor Memory (237313) | about 12 years ago | (#3844115)

As you appear to be a fan of Open Source Software, when are you going to release the code to the perl script you've apparently used to crank out the last fifteen or so Xanth novels, and will the code be GPLed or BSD-licensed?

Technophilia (3, Interesting)

epepke (462220) | about 12 years ago | (#3844121)

About a decade and a half ago, I recall seeing you speak at a convention in Florida (according to rumor, the only con at which you ever spoke, though I don't know if this is true). As I remember, at the time you said you were reluctant to use a computer because you were already so fast on your Dvorak typewriter. Moving to a Linux-based system seems to me to be a rather dramatic switch, especially as Linux is generally thought of as a system of technophiles, the same sort of people who eagerly used CP/M systems with ADM 3-As twenty years ago. What prompted your switch, and what adventures (both pleasant and unpleasant) has it entailed?

Re:Technophilia (1)

RDW (41497) | about 12 years ago | (#3844224)

Looks like he may well have been one of these people:

"I remember when I started with CP/M..."

I also vaguely recall him mentioning his preference for CP/M over MS-DOS in the Afterword to some paperback or other.

Total Recall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844125)

Was the movie based on the book or vice versa?

Re:Total Recall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844242)

Was the movie based on the book or vice versa?

The book was based on the movie, which was based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, entitled "We can remember it for you, Wholesale"

roblimo.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844128)

You're a faggot roblimo.

Personal Authors Notes - Bare feet don't stink. (5, Interesting)

emptybody (12341) | about 12 years ago | (#3844140)

In high school I read and re-read three series, Xanth, Apprentice Adept and Incarnations of Immortality. In 1988 my first son was born which drew most of my attentions away from your novels. In 1991 my second son and the real world drew me the rest of the way.

I see that there are now 10 more Xanth novels that I do not have. I guess I have some catching up to do!

Your authors notes were for me almost a series of their own. These, combined with your autobiography, "Bio of an Ogre", made me feel like I knew you. And gave new meaning and insight to most of your novels.

Have you ever thought of collecting them together into a book of their own? Sort of a Peirs Anthony self retrospective or 'The Ogre Speaks Through the Ages.'

world building (5, Interesting)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | about 12 years ago | (#3844145)

when starting off creating a new world for your stories, do you concentrate a lot on historical and geographical background, or get right into your main story timelines? basically, what process do you find to be the best when setting the stage for the depth required for epic fantasy?

Large scale documents (2)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | about 12 years ago | (#3844153)

If you write or edit your novels on you computer. Have you noticed any difference between how different word processing programs handle the reletively large document size, and does the format it's in affect how well the program can manipulate the document?

(as a subnote, do auto-spell checkers go nuts with all the puns?)

Xanth Question (1)

Entropy248 (588290) | about 12 years ago | (#3844162)

Do you ever feel that the Xanth playground (gotta love Larry Niven!) has been broken by the abundance of magic and related plot twists? I've often felt that the Xanth universe was much better and more fun to read when it was simpler.

Changes in technology... (3, Interesting)

carpediem55 (157989) | about 12 years ago | (#3844163)

I've read just about every book you've written, and through your author notes, its pretty apparent that you're not afraid to change with the times and technology. My question for you is, through all of your years of writing, what was the hardest change in technology that you ever did? And what was the best change-over that you did?

Gratuitous sexuality (2, Interesting)

knodi (93913) | about 12 years ago | (#3844171)

I got hooked on your stuff when I borrowed "Man From Mundania" from my Dad. I read it in a weekend and devoured all the published Xanth books, the Adept books, and the Incarnations. They were all great, and as a young teen, I didn't mind the completely gratuitous and explicit sex in the Adept books.

My mom was the one who had to drive me to the library, however, and I was unwilling to check out "The Color of Her Panties" with her looking over my shoulder. I already had to hide all the nude-covered xanth books under a big plaid hardback or two.

I checked out Tatham Mound because of your name, but I couldn't get past a main character named "Bear Penis". Good lord man, why all the sex? Would it be so hard to make your stuff PG-13 instead of XXX or R? It's hardly a major literary compromise.

Your Sig (1)

shepd (155729) | about 12 years ago | (#3844212)

>My computer's longest uptime is 12 hours. I've tried windows, redhat and mandrake. Windows has performed the best

Maybe you have hardware trouble?

Zealots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844176)

What do you have to say about the religious/righteous people who try to force books like yours off the shelves of secondary schools and public libraries, citing their fantastic nature as promoting all sorts of sin and lawlessness?

On A Pale Horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844177)

I only really have one question (ok several but they are all somewhat related) but I imagine it's something that is on the minds of a few readers of yours.

Is there any possibility that we will ever see "On a Pale Horse" turned into a movie? I've been wanting to see this adapted for the screen since the moment I read it.

Does anyone own the rights to it other than yourself?

And finally what do you think about the idea of having your written words adapted to film. Do you this book (or for that matter any of your books) would make good material for screenplays or do you feel like they might lose some of the character if given some sort of "Hollywood treatment"?

Hope this question gets selected. It's something I've wanted to know for some time.

Why Linux over Macintosh? (5, Interesting)

toupsie (88295) | about 12 years ago | (#3844178)

Seems like a successful author like you would be able to afford one of Apple's high end systems like the TiBook or the PowerMac G4. Mac's are always touted as the "Creative Artist" machine. So why would you, as a creative person, pick to run Linux, XFree86 and Star Office over Mac OS X, Quartz and AppleWorks/M$ Office? You appear to be bucking a long standing trend.

Also, do you feel you are more productive using Linux and StarOffice?

StarOffice - (1)

Rock (16836) | about 12 years ago | (#3844179)


When you transition from StarOffice 5.2, do you plan to use StarOffice 6.0 or 1.0?

Thanks for your many wonderful books.

-- Rich

Switch to FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844182)

Now that you've made the switch to StarOffice, you should consider switching to FreeBSD, the free OS with the stable VM system, not the OS that's still trying to re-invent basic OS systems in the year 2002.

Other authors.... (2)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 12 years ago | (#3844186)

I am curious if you read/enjoy other authors works. There are several I read that have very solidly stated that they do not, notably Terry Goodkind.

Teaching with your books. (1)

marbike (35297) | about 12 years ago | (#3844189)

In the notes included with your book Steppe you stated that you were sneaking a history lesson past your editors. And in the Bio of a Space Tyrant there is quite a lot of history that can be extrapolated about the United States. Do you try to give a lesson in history with all of your work? I cannot find it in the Mode series, but it has been quite some time since I read those books.

Keep up the great work!

Sensitive Issues (5, Interesting)

WNight (23683) | about 12 years ago | (#3844198)

Does your frequent focus on nakedness and panties of your very young female characters indicate an attraction on your part, or is there a good reason for this? (Re: _The Color of Her Panties_ which pictures (among other things) two mostly-naked young women.)

Do you feel this is appropriate for books aimed at 10-14 year olds?

Are there penguins in Xanth? (2)

cheezus (95036) | about 12 years ago | (#3844201)

For most Mundanian creatures and things, Xanth tends to have magical (and very punny!) counterparts. I would imagine that a conversation with Com Pewter would go something like:

"You're soft where?"
"Open Sores"

You've incorporated mundane technology into the Xanth world before. Will the idea of open source software make it into a future Xanth novel?

What do you read and find interesting? (2)

hrieke (126185) | about 12 years ago | (#3844202)

Do you perfer fiction over non-fiction, historical novels, science books, any authors of note (or hidden jems that you'd like to mention), subjects which have made you stop and rethink issues?

Open Source Novels (1)

swamp_water (208334) | about 12 years ago | (#3844204)

Dear Mr. Anthony,

What a pleasent surprise to see my favorite author ever answering questions on my favorite web site. My question is:

Your Xanth novels, as we all know, are full of delicious puns that you get from your fans/readers. In a way your books are the colaboritive efforts of your fans and yourself. Do you feel that this contributes to your success as a novelist? Do you feel your fans are a good source of inspiration? Have you considered that this form of writing is unique and makes you a pioneer in Open Source Novel Writing.

Thanks, Paul.

2 questions: (1)

CarrionBird (589738) | about 12 years ago | (#3844205)


Would you recommend fiction writing as a carrer to someone else? Or is it one of those things that that one can be successful at but wouldn't recommend that anyone else who valued thier sanity should try.


As you may know, Apple has started a new media campaign aimed at gaining converts to the Mac. The predominant theme of these spots seems to be creative types (writers, musicians), expounding on how they couldn't grasp Windows but felt much better on the Mac.

As a creative person who has (we assume) mastered the daily use of Linux, what do you think of the message of this campaign & do you feel that any particluar desktop is too "unwieldy" for non-techie use?

Piers Anthony Fanfiction (5, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | about 12 years ago | (#3844207)

Mr. Anthony,

From your in-story commentary and author's notes, we have a glimmering of your opinion on people who don't pay for books.

What is your opinion of people who borrow the books you've written from libraries. Also, what is your opinion of fan-authors who write fanstories based on your work?

How much longer... (0, Flamebait)

ShawnDoc (572959) | about 12 years ago | (#3844221)

Dear Mr. Anthony, I was just curious as to just how long one can keep beating a dead horse (Xanth)?

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844229)

How many kinds of fish can you name?

Voice Recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3844234)

Have you ever done any book writing using voice recogntion software. If so, what are the pros and cons? How accurate is it? Which software is the best? Does anything work with Linux?

Women in Xanth books (5, Interesting)

SlashChick (544252) | about 12 years ago | (#3844247)

Hi Piers,

I've had the chance to enjoy several of your Xanth books over the years. However, I find it disappointing that, like many sci-fi authors, you choose to include lots of "naked women" imagery in your books. This makes your books unappealing to the female side of your audience (including myself), and it makes it hard for me to recommend your books either to younger children or other women who might be interested.

I don't mind sex in books; what I (and a lot of other females) mind is the clear delineation of women as either sexual objects or as somehow "needing" a male to rescue them from various plights. Your earlier books did not have much of this imagery, and indeed the Xanth series seems relatively free of it, but I've noticed that some of your books do draw this conclusion. Unfortunately, the fantasy category seems to have more of this type of book than most other categories.

In a world of fantasy books dominated by male fantasies, what is your suggestion to the relatively few females who do enjoy fantasy and sci-fi books?

As a point of reference, I enjoyed the Phule series by Robert Asprin, as well as The Hitchhiker's Guide and, of course, several of the Xanth books.
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