Mundane World

What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are. — Epictetus

"When people say, ‘Powers’s novel is set in an alternate Middle East,’ I want to say, ‘It’s not goddamn alternate — it’s this Middle East!’ The whole point is not ever to contradict actual history. Add to it, sure; provide an unsuspected background, show the secret real story, but never give the reader the opportunity to say, ‘That’s not who was there, or where it happened, or when.’ I hope that, as far as you are able to test it, it all appears to be real. I’ll take a real character and give him motivations that we can be pretty damn sure he didn’t have — I’ll make Byron be afraid of vampires killing his children, or Bugsy Siegel trying to be supernatural King of America — but I also try — try, at least! — not to outright violate the portrait of any historical characters as far as we have them. I wouldn’t take a person who historically seems to have been very heroic and selfless and brave and say, ‘secretly he was a despicable coward.’ I might go the opposite way — I think I gave Bugsy Siegel a lot of slack, the way Robert Graves did with his hero in I, Claudius." —Tim Powers

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