stevehimmerGood morning. Your novel Fram is about people at work, more or less, but by the end of the story I wondered if some of your characters might need to seek new employment. So I’m going to ask you what Forbes says are the most difficult job interview questions.

Oh, um… okay?


Why is there a gap in your work history?

It hasn’t been that long, has it? What’s the usual time between books? I guess it feels like this one took a long time because the research for it and some of the ideas have been in my head for years. So I’d say I’ve been working on it in one way or another all along, even if it’s not clear on my résumé.


Tell me one thing you would change about your last job.

I don’t think I’d want to change it. My last book, I mean. There are things I sometimes wish I’d done more of or less of, like any writer, probably. But at some point I guess a book is as close to what you ideally want it to be as you’re capable of making it at the time and you have to accept that even though there might be another level to go to maybe you’re not going to get there. At least not this time. Does that sound defeatist? Like an apology for bad art? I don’t mean it that way.

frambigUnderground again and out of the heat so more comfortable for it, on the platform and shoulder to shoulder with other government employees at his own grade and above or below, Oscar awaited a train. Across the tracks on a wall hung a huge poster advertising the TV show Alexi had mentioned, To The Moon!, with its big silver slogan, “Who will conquer the greatest frontier?”

He shook his head, sighed to his scuffed shoes, and wondered how anyone could get so excited about something that’s all automated, the work done by computers, while women and men who could be anyone or even no one sit in a box and wait to arrive so they can turn around and go home. There’s the science, of course, he wouldn’t disparage that, the behind-the-scenes unsung work of professionals like himself, but why pretend there’s more to it? Why pretend it’s real exploration when it’s mostly a video game? The astronauts mere avatars for self-directed machines.

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Daniel Pinchbeck:


I followed Smithee down through the house and out the back door to a veranda. The long green lawn sloped away before me, and the cave that would be my home was just visible through the thicket of bushes and trees. A white rabbit was mounting a brown one a few yards away in the grass until the butler clapped his hands and they scampered off. “Sir,” he said, and it wasn’t “Sir, whenever you’re ready” so much as “Sir, can we get on with this,” so I walked down a short flight of steps and crossed the morning-wet lawn toward the outcrop of stones I’d seen from Mr. Crane’s window.

I have to confess, I’m concerned about this self-interview. You’re a long-winded guy, and I’m a long-winded guy, and we both tend to get easily distracted and ramble.

We’ll do our best.


Your protagonist takes a vow of silence early in the novel. Did that present a challenge as you wrote the rest of the story?