March 14th, 2010

Dan Simmons on Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins

Wow. You have got to listen to Rick Kleffel's 2009 interview with Dan Simmons regarding Simmons' novel Drood. The interview concerns Dickens and his friend Wilkie Collins, author of the The Moonstone, the grandfather of all detective novels. It also concerns Collins' staggering drug habit, his lifelong belief that he had a doppelganger (whom he believed had written all his best material), the race to invent the detective novel, Dickens' public readings that were so powerful they were guaranteed to cause a dozen women in the audience to faint, and his belief that mesmerism is what allowed him to accomplish this, and also the horrifying train accident that killed everyone except aboard except Dickens, his mistress, and her mother, and the endless mystery surrounding Dickens last, unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which Simmons believes would have cemented Dickens' place as the grandfather of the detective novel in place of Collins. (Simmons also talks about how Drood will be the next movie directed by Guillermo del Toro after he finishes The Hobbit.) One of the most amazing interviews I've ever heard. Here's Part 1 and Part 2.