The author of the Da Vinci Code and other Robert Langdon novels talked to Time Magazine about his latest book, The Inferno.
Watch the interview and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 Transhumanism studies designer babies, for example.
2 The population on Earth has increased one third in the last 85 years.
3 Dan Brown is in favour of some form of population control.
4 There are multiple references to the Catholic Church in Brown’s latest book.
5 The piece of art Brown mentions consists of diamonds and human bones.
6 To get inspiration, Dan Brown writes his books upside down.
7 Dan Brown is planning to write twelve more Robert Langdom books.
Hi, I’m Belinda Luscombe from Time. Dan Brown is one of the most successful authors of all time. More than 80 millions copies of his novel, The Da Vinci Code, have been sold. He’s got a new book coming out. It’s called Inferno. Mr Brown, welcome.
Thank you very much.
In your new novel one of the themes is transhumanism. Can you explain what that is?
Sure. Transhumanism is an intellectual movement that is growing very quickly right now. It is… essential it deals with the ethics and science of using advanced technologies like genetic engineering, for example, to improve human physiology. And some people consider it the most progressive and exciting philosophy out there. And some consider it the most dangerous idea in the world. The villain of Inferno is both a transhumanist and a Dante fanatic, and we find that those two that blend is actually a kind of chilling mix.
One of the issues you address in this book is overpopulation. Why that particular issue?
I’m not gonna say much about overpopulation, but I will say this. There is a statistic that I heard a number of years ago that horrified me, and I wanted to add it to this novel, and it is this. That if you know somebody who’s 85 years old today that person was born into a world that had one-third as many people as the world does today. The population has tripled in the last 85 years. Futurist don’t consider don’t consider overpopulation one of the issues of the future. They consider it the issue of the future.
Now, the book does not seem to me, and I could be wrong, to be entirely in disfavour of extreme population control measures. Am I reading it wrong?
I would say you’re reading it correctly. When it, when you say it’s not in disfavour I try very hard to argue both sides of every equation and let readers make up their own mind. Population explosion on this planet is a very, very serious problem, and could well require some serious solutions.
Do you have one that you favour in particular, like a one-child policy, like in China, or is there…
No, no again on this. That is for readers to debate. I certainly have no solution to that problem. If I did, I should not be writing novels, I should be in the Council of Foreign Relations right now.
Are we seeing a beginning of a… you feeling your popularity could be used for something other than just, you know, entertainment, but, but…
You know, that’s an interesting question. I, I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought of that. But certainly I am aware of that when I write something, a lot of people read it, a lot of people talk about it. And at some level I feel that if you’ve been given a podium of any sort you should say something meaningful and helpful.
You’re known for your, your first novel which took some, people felt, took some digs at the Catholic Church. And you do have one reference to the Catholic Church, in this book and their opposition to contraceptives. Is that becoming a trademark, like why go there?
It’s only one reference in a whole book. It is, and it all, I mean, I put that in there because I’m horrified of the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception. I think it’s dangerous. I’m a huge fan of Belinda Gates and what she’s doing. I mention her as well. And I was just sort of pointing out what had happened in Africa with respect to contraception. I think it’s something people should know.
In this book you make a reference to a Damian Hirst work, For The Love of God. He’s a little more modern than you normally…
…and why, why bring that work in?
I love the blend of old and new and Damien Hirst does that beautifully. The idea that this skull with the diamonds was in the Studiolo, in the Palazzo Vecchio was just an image of an object in space that to me was just very striking, and I’m a fan of his work.
People might say that you’re almost like the Damian Hirst of literature, that you know, you make this stuff, it’s incredibly popular, it’s incredibly lucrative, and it attracts, you know, a certain amount of criticism. Is that a fair comparison?
I would be flattered to be in the same line with Damien Hirst.
You know, I quote For The Love of God.
Oh, his mother said, For The Love of God, what are you making now?
Is that true?
I actually like the piece even more now.
Do you, as part of your process, sometimes you hang upside down? Do you still do that?
That is true. That has been reported and is actually true. I do use gravity boots, initially for physiological reasons, just coz I sat a lot, and I found that it made me feel better, and, and later realizing that hanging upside down can really make you think in different ways. It probably inspired all the ambiagrams in Angels and Demons. Lot of upside down in that book.
How many more adventures do you think Robert Langdom has?
That’s a good question. There are… I have a file of at least a dozen ideas. Well, we’ll see how much energy I have.
And there’s about two years per novel, right, so…
That would be nice. I think there’s a little more than that. I’ve heard a have a formula but I’m hoping somebody tells me what it is, cuz I’d like to write these a lot faster.
Mr Brown, thank you so much.
1T 2F 3T 4F 5F 6F 7F