Lev Grossman - Aug 2011

 
Lev Grossman
 
Some of you may have read our interview with Lev Grossman two years ago (and if you didn't you should have.  Go do that.  Now.)  His latest book, "The Magician King" has just come out and Mr. Grossman took some time out of his busy schedule writing amazing novels, and doing a little side work as a senior writer and book critic for Time magazine to answer another set of questions for us.  As before, we've got 10 general questions and then 10 "spoiler" questions that you shouldn't read before finishing "The Magician King."
 
 
 
 

Drew:

You mentioned during our last interview that you were answering those questions on a train (very cool form of travel, by the way).  If you could choose one form of unorthodox travel for a vacation – river barge, camel back, trimaran, carried-by-sherpas, anything but car, plane, train, or cruise ship – what would you choose? 

 

 

Lev Grossman:

 

I’m going to go with a dirigible. Make it the one from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Grand, elegant, silent, comfortable. As long as you have a ticket.

 

 

 

Drew:

 

So, which is most awesome, the cover design for the original Magicians, or the design for the Magician King?  Don’t lie, now: there can only be one ‘most awesome’.
 
 

 

Lev Grossman:

 

I would never lie to you. I like the first one better. I like the second one too, and it’s lovely fit for the book, but it wasn’t my first choice. It’s a bit dark. But everything by that artist is genius. His name is Didier Massard and he builds these little scenes as models in his studio, then he takes photos of them. It’s insane.

 

 

 

 

Drew:

 
We asked you last time for your list of the top five best novels of the year, given that 2009 was shaping up to be a great year for literature.  As 2011 is headed that same way, what are your favorite novels this year? 

 

 

 

Lev Grossman:

To be honest, I haven’t read that much this year that I’m wildly excited about. A Dance with Dragons was absolutely worth the wait, and Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes is very much in the same vein, a sort of Kurosawan tragedy set during a single brutal three-day battle. But I have yet to fall in love with a literary novel this year, though I’m doing my best. Kate Christensen’s The Astral came close. Oh, and need it be said that I’m immoderately excited about Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE? No, it need not be said.

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Drew:

 

Speaking of that list of top five best novels from 2009, how excited are you for The Hunger Games film?

 

Lev Grossman:

 

Pretty excited. The casting’s a little bit of a mixed bag – Lenny Kravits? Why didn’t they just call up Terence Trent d’Arby? But then again: Wes Bentley. Anyway, it looks great, and they got a real director to do it too.

 

 

 

Drew:

 

Tattoos play a pretty large role in both books.  Got any ink yourself?

 

Lev Grossman:

 

No. I’ve come close often. I think I’m overthinking it.

 

 

 

Drew:

 

How different was it writing a sequel, having to stay true to both characters and concepts you created in the original Magicians, rather than being able to start everything fresh?

 

Lev Grossman:

 

You make it sound like that's a bad thing. It’s so much easier! All the exposition is already taken care of. You don’t have to explain all the rules. Plus now readers have all these expectations about the characters, which one can gleefully confound.

 

 

 

Drew:

 

….seriously, have you listened to ‘Fur’ by Blitzentrapper yet?

 

Lev Grossman:

 

Is that seriously a real thing? You’re not just trying to get me to Google something inappropriate?

 

(They're real, we promise!) 

 
 
 

Drew:

 

In our original interview, you mentioned T.H. White, J.K Rowling, and C.S. Lewis as major inspirations for the original. 

Anyone to add for the Magician King?

 

 Lev Grossman:

  

Homer. Raymond Chandler.

 

 

 

Drew:

 

Man, when is Austin going to come out with another novel?

 

Lev Grossman:

 

2012. And then 2013, I think. He’s got a two-book deal. Showboating, I call it. 

 

 

Drew:

 

Top five villains of all time – can be from film, from books, abstract puppet theater, it doesn’t matter. 

 

 Lev Grossman:

 

1.     GlaDOS from the Portal games

2.     Darth Vader

3.     The  Monarch from The Venture Brothers

 

4.     CHUD

5.     CHUD

 

Spoiler Questions...

 

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