Friday, September 21, 2007

SF/F Influences on a Literary Writer

By Nancy Jane Moore

I haven't read Junot Diaz yet, but a profile on him that appeared in Thursday's Washington Post got me interested in his work. I am partly drawn to him because I get the impression that he is writing very honestly about what The Post interview called "the myth of hypermasculinity, the notion of how real men are supposed to behave."

He's also clearly an SF/F reader: In the interview he talks about how time travel stories do a better job of explaining the immigrant experience than realistic novels (he's Dominican by birth) and makes the observation, "Some of the myths that nation-states hold dear are no less absurd than Hobbits." Apparently he likes to throw Tolkien allusions into his work, too.

But perhaps what most intrigues me about Diaz are the other authors he loves. He discovered The Borrowers as a child and it changed his outlook. And his choice for the greatest living American writer? Samuel R. Delany. He specifically recommends Dahlgren.

How can I not read someone who likes the same writers I do? Alas, my local library seems to have only the audiobook of Diaz's new novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and I'm damned if my first exposure to a new author is going to be through a recording.


Alex Wilson said...

I'm only familiar with his short fiction (and didn't even know this piece...

... was expanded to a novel). Good on him, though.


Nancy Jane Moore said...

Thanks for the link. I enjoyed the story.

Anonymous said...

Although I can't find it online, NPR (Fresh Air, I think) did a lovely interview with Mr. Diaz, talking about his love for speculative fiction and his efforts to write strong women.


Maria said...

Hi, I'm the co-founder of Slice, a new print literary magazine debuting this month. Our first issue features an exclusive interview with Junot Diaz about his beginnings as a writer -- check out to learn more about us.