Compliment, or Crazy?

My husband G. Grod, my friend Blogenheimer, our friend EJ, and I attended Neal Stephenson’s reading at the Barnes and Noble Galleria on Friday night. NS read from his new novel, Anathem, and signed books after.

NS seemed game to be there–not his favorite thing, but he was polite and funny. The question session went well; no one asked where he got his ideas, or told him how cool Snow Crash or Cryptonomicon were. He has no plans to write again about Enoch Root. He didn’t want to go back to the Baroque Cycle world because it would be like falling into “an event horizon.” And he chose to set Anathem on a fictional world, rather than Earth, because historical fiction is like “darning a sock” and making things up requires much less interpolation. He was stumped when a woman asked what the first bedtime book he remembered was. He said he couldn’t, but that he had great affection for D’Aulaire’s book of Greek myths, and found it funny how Zeus was always “marrying” other women.

For his signing, in addition to Anathem, I brought a copy of Quicksilver, the first novel in his Baroque Cycle trilogy. I handed him the trade paperback of Quicksilver, and explained that my husband had advised me to bring the hardcover copy, but I’d chosen the trade paperback instead. That was the copy I’ll read, and I want the inscription in the one I’m reading, not the one on the shelf.

“You must have interesting conversations in your house,” he responded, with only the slightest emphasis on “interesting.” Was it a compliment, or a polite way of saying he thought I was crazy? G. Grod and I both think the latter. And G. remains adamant that the hardcover was the way to go.

2 Responses to “Compliment, or Crazy?”

  1. weirleader Says:

    funny! That’ll be an *interesting* memory. ;-)

    He was out here a couple of weeks ago and I probably should’ve taken advantage. I guess I have this reverse-fame thing going. I always imagine how irritated I would be at people wanting autographs and end up talking myself out of it. :-)

    For instance, one time in college I saw Magic Johnson walking along campus all by himself and I did nothing, just kept walking — regret it to this day!

    And the hardcover is much more durable and collectible… my vote is with your husband.

  2. Dani in NC Says:

    It would take me so much to screw up my courage and approach a favorite author that I would definitely want to get the autograph on a durable copy of the book. I would have gone with the hardcover.