Last Friday SMS Guys Read and the good people of the Raleigh Durham area were treated to a visit from the great Scott Westerfeld.
Sorry about the somewhat crummy images. In both presentations the rooms were darkened to see the great slide show that went along with Westerfeld’s talk.
I was honored to welcome and introduce Mr. Westerfeld at his school visit, and because of a schedule change, that neither of us knew about we had about 30 minutes to sit and talk. What a cool opportunity for a Guys Read leader…to sit with Scott Westerfeld for just a few minutes…HUGE!
I did ask him a question put forth by Carlman over at Boys Rule, Boys Read…which was did he feel more like a Clanker or Dawinist. The same question was offer up at later at the presentation and in both cases he claimed to lean toward the Darwinist side mainly so he could fly in an airship. After thinking about it myself, if have to say I think I would be a Darwinist as well, but I also want some of the strange animals like the thing that lets you breathe underwater from Behemoth and the message lizards.
The presentation put forth was an excellent history of illustrations in literature and how a Japanese translation of his Uglies book got him thinking about why we do not have as many illustrations in modern books. One hundred years ago almost all of the fiction produced in the Western World was illustrated some. He took this idea to his next project and told us how he wanted to work with an illustrator to create a book that had a lot of rich illustrations. He found Keith Thompson and boy did he get that collaboration right.
Two big things came out of his two presentations.
The first came from a question put to him at his school presentation. A student asked about the American involvement in the world of Leviathan. His response was a bit of a spoiler for the next book, Goliath, so I will give it to you in code.
Remember that the American North was industrial and the South was more agrarian. Does that tell you anything about the Americans?
The second cool fact came from his presentation at Quail Ridge Books later on Friday night. At that presentation he talked more about the cut away drawings that Keith Thompson had done to help them both see the world of the Leviathan books. Westerfeld showed a few of those illustrations and I wondered if they would ever be out there to see in a book. Just a second after that thought started rolling around in my head Westerfeld said they were planning on putting all of the drawings together in a big full color book to be released with Goliath goes to paperback. The drawings were so cool and that book will be a great companion to the trilogy.
Friday was a lot of fun for the guys from our club who got to visit with Westerfeld a little. Not many book clubs in a middle school are going to get the opportunity to chat with big time authors like Scott Westerfeld. For that we are all grateful and jazzed.
To Mr. Westerfeld himself…We had a gift planned for you and unfortunately it is still in the grip of the US Postal Service, but not to worry…when it arrives we will make it up to you!
If you have yet to pick up a copy of Leviathan or Behemoth do yourself a solid and get going. The are both fantastic stories full of adventure, suspense, history and just plain awesomeness.