In a lengthy interview with The Guardian, uber-writer Neil Gaiman offers up an interesting insight about creativity, science fiction and the Chinese economy, reinforcing what I’ve long suspected:

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

I believe I write today because I read non-stop as a kid. And with two young kids in the mix and a long, long history of reading science fiction (often under the covers at night with a flashlight to escape mom’s notice), this kind of statement intrigues me.

Keep writing (and reading sci-fi), Tom Chandler.

Neil Gaiman/The Guardian

Neil Gaiman talks libraries, creativity and science fiction.