Re: Att JMS: Your pending mainstream success...

 Posted on 8/27/1996 by to

"After season three's writing marathon, do you consider yourself a science
fiction writer, at least to the extent that you won't be annoyed when our
soundbyte media feels the need to pigeon-hole you into a single category?"

I don't tend to put myself into any one category, but generally don't get
bugged when I'm referred to one way or another. After my first couple of
horror novels, and a nomination for a Bram Stoker Award, and the Nightmare
Classics gig for Showtime, I was called a horror writer...I did The Real
Ghostbusters and they said I was a comedy writer...I went to conventions
while I was a writer/producer on Murder She Wrote and one person with whom
I shared a panel asked what somebody who just wrote TeeVee mysteries was
at an SF convention and why anyone should listen...and now people call me
an SF writer.

It doesn't bother me. It's actually kind of funny on one level, that
people feel they have to somehow pigenhole you by whatever you've done
last. But beyond that, as an SF fan, with a great respect for the genre,
if somebody calls me an SF writer, I don't mind.

"I think TNT will really establish this series in the mainstream culture
and wonder if you've ever had to fight the public's perception of you."

I think the mainstream public was for the most part unaware of me. Still
is, I think. And that's okay too. It's about telling a story, not
getting a certain kind of approbation.

"Do you think you'll be able to resist the gravitational pull of
"science-fiction" fame? Before your writing has been pretty much all over
the place and not giving anyone the opportunity to ensconce your name into
a genre. Do you see yourself writing science fiction for a long time or
being a guest at science fiction conventions every once in a while for the
rest of your life? Or will you purposely zig-zag away in another

I'll probably just keep doing what I'm doing. I've been playing around
with a notion for a series that could do something quite revolultionary
for mainstream TV, and that'll get me described as a manstream/intrigue
writer...if it goes anywhere. If not, I'll just keep going from genre to
genre as the stories grab me. That's the only real criterion I can apply.
I follow the story that interests me. If that happens to be a horror
novel, it's a horror novel; if it's an SF story, it's SF. I go where the
story takes me.