QUESTION: I'm enrolled in a class teaching aspects and ideas behind Aerospace Art and all its derivatives (namely Space Art). What were your influences and driving ideas behind the ansible, the art conveyed in and on the covers of your books? More to the point, how is it you have been able to imagine detailed plans of the battle school, the ships flying near relativity, mid-flight reanimation from suspension, and the ability to "float down the wire" of the "ansible" to any world instantaneously? The new worlds the "Buggers" left for the Human Species to develop and cultivate surely brings new ideas and scenes of futuristic societies with different suns and other planetary bodies as backdrops. What were your "mental images" also trying to convey to us?


Alas, I barely visualize at all. I have sketchy maps and the odd scene here and there, but what goes on in my head when writing is mostly the sense of what a community is and how a person fits into it. Everything is maps; scenes are few and far between, and only when I need to describe something in order to help the reader understand what's happening. I have description or visualization for its own sake. I don't even remember my dreams ...

As to the cover art for the Ender books, they are chosen entirely by the publisher's staff, and while I have liked many of the covers TOR and others have created for my books, the Ender series covers are not among the ones I liked. Indeed, I still don't understand why anyone who would like a book of mine would ever pick up something with a cover like that. But ... in this as in all things, the publisher knows best .