British author tells of medieval Romanian moonshot

Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:25am EDT
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By Martin Roberts

GIJON, Spain (Reuters Life!) - Ian Watson, the doyen of British science fiction writing, has made what he terms "transgressive" interpretations of history in his most recent book of short stories, "The Beloved of my Beloved."

Born in 1943, Watson began writing while working as a teacher in Japan in the late 1960s and has since published countless SF, fantasy and horror novels, in addition to poetry.

A finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and widely anthologized, Watson is also credited with screen story for U.S. director Stanley Kubrick's final film, "Eyes wide shut," which starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

He spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of the Semana Negra (Noir Week) crime-writing festival in Gijon, northern Spain:

Q. Tell us the true story of "Vlad the Impaler," the man who inspired the Dracula myth.

A. Now history relates Vlad Tepes impaled thousands of people because of sadism and to scare the Turks, for example.

This is not true. He was trying to discover which people in Romania had most capacity for levitation, because he wished to go to the moon and they did not have moon rockets at the time, so he would have to use the powers of levitation.

Those people who survived the impalement by using levitation powers, he used as the boosters for the Romanian space rocket which went to the Moon in the Middle Ages. This is a little-known fact.   Continued...