AISFP 41 – Terry Goodkind

Terry Goodkind joins us to discuss his new novel, Confessor, the status of Wizards First Rule coming to your television, and his views about how scifi is committing suicide.

Show Notes:

– Publishing News: Christopher Paolini’s next novel has been announced and is available for preorder.

– The Philip K. Dick nominees have been announced.
– Terry Goodkind, Part One – All about Confessor.
– Terry Goodkind, Part Two – Is the publishing industry committing suicide?
– Shaun and Sam speculate distopias vs. utopias. Listener email from Matt and Fred. Voicemail from Kory.

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  1. Janice in GA says:

    Boy, the man can talk, can’t he??

  2. Chris Armstrong says:

    I really enjoyed the Terry Goodkind interview. When he got into the philosophical part about why he thought Sci-Fi had decreased in popularity over the years, I recognized some key terminology he was using at first, and then some more specific principles of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.

    I checked out his website and verified that he is an Objectivist and writes from that perspective.

    So, if you thought his ideas were “controversial,” you might wanna checkout Rand’s writings to see where he’s coming from.

    I’m definitely gonna look into his writings more deeply, now that I know that Objectivism is behind them, as I have read and enjoyed ALL of Rand’s books, both fiction and non-fiction.

    Thanks to the hosts for for bringing Terry to us.


  3. Shaun Farrell says:

    Yes he can, Janice. 🙂

    Thanks for the great info, Chris. For folks interested in learning more about Objectivism, Wikipedia has a large article about it. Here’s the first paragraph:

    Objectivism holds that there is mind-independent reality; that individual persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings gain objective knowledge from perception by measurement, and form valid concepts by measurement omission; that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness or “rational self-interest”; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform abstract knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and respond to with the whole of one’s consciousness

  4. Fred Kiesche says:

    I’m wondering if Goodkind has read much SF, though. I don’t recognize all those negative waves in the works of Arthur C. Clarke, for example. It seemed to me that he was describing much of the “New Wave” (thankfully dead…although some folks keep trying to bring it back!).

  5. Great interview with Terry Goodkind, but I was surprised with his reasoning for the decline in Science Fiction. I didn’t recognize it as Objectivism.

    But no difference, I disagree with his conclusions. SciFi fiction has changed over the past 30 years (the amount of time I’ve been reading it).

    Far too much emphasis on the hard science and not enough on the fiction. That has turned on the general public, they are bored with Sci-Fi.

    Give the readers good plot and interesting character and they readers will come back.

  6. I enjoyed the Terry Goodkind interview. I don’t find that I can agree with him without reservation, but he has clearly given the death of science fiction a lot of thought. It’s not often I hear someone state such passionately held views without it devolving into a rant, so I was impressed.
    And I can agree with the broad view that SF has committed suicide as opposed to being murdered!

  7. The Wolf Maid says:

    I’m wondering if Goodkind has read much SF, though. I don’t recognize all those negative waves in the works of Arthur C. Clarke, for example.

    Hm. In previous interviews, Goodkind has stated he doesn’t read much (hardly any time for it), seeing as he’s too busy writing the series. *shrug*

  8. so only happy, smiley opinions of goodkind allowed?


  9. Shaun Farrell says:

    Don’t know what you mean, Raul.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m afraid it doesn’t seem like Objectivism to me, more like a blind conservatism. He may be an Objectivist, but the examples of people that he used were liberal stereotypes.

    I also don’t see how someone that doesn’t consider himself well-versed in the field can claim to gauge not only the tone of the field currently, but who killed it and why. It feels a lot more like his pet theory without any facts to back it up.

    While I respect that he laid out his theory without any name-calling or any sign of ‘rantiness’, it still seemed a pretty off-based argument.

  11. cmthomas says:

    What a revealing interview. Mr. Goodkind’s broad-brush moralizing is definitely reflected in his work. As an academic philosopher, I am somewhat sympathetic with his concerns about a form of ill-considered moral relativism being rampant within our culture. Unfortunately, the simplistic alternative of absolutes that he proposes is an ideology foundational to any historical totalitarian state. From any observable perspective ethics simply are culturally bound. Unless and until neuroscience reveals some shared moral taxonomy lying deep within our cortex, any rational agent is stuck with the messy but necessary business of considering each moral case individually.

  12. Chas S. Clifton says:

    It seems that SF/Fantasy is always “dying,” but it keeps coming back. But thanks for the link to the interview — I’ll give it a listen.

  13. So, I just listened to this interview, and definitely recognized the Objectivism. Like Ayn Rand, Goodkind tends to write books that periodically bludgeon you over the head with his philosophy.

    To me, that’s totally fine. His books are even pretty good. Better than Ayn Rand’s, actually, at least as far as I’m concerned.

    What drove me crazy was that he didn’t have a good idea of what Kantian philosophy was actually about. He was talking about subjectivism, perhaps, or even emotivism, but not Kantianism. It just kept bothering me every time he said “Kantian” and then described something that has nothing whatsoever to do with Kant. I’m not even a Kantian myself, per se, but I wish he’d come up with a better example of the “liberalism” that so frustrates him.

    It was a lot like talking to my dad (a founding member of the Ayn Rand Society, or whatever they call themselves). So that was also probably part of my (by the end, significant) frustration.

    He also needs to check out some histories of Greek civilization and the Renaissance compared to the Dark Ages. But that’s another issue. He definitely has his Objectivist philosophy, and I think this interview illustrates where it limits his thinking.

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