Loïc Le Pallec considers himself as an author, not a writer. He has the secret ambition to stop writing, probably because writing is challenging, long and often frustrating. No Man’s Land, his first novel , was written in Les Contamines during winter 2011/2012. How did our village influence this amazing science fiction novel?
Hello Loïc, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
L.L.P: I’m 52 years old and I come from a small village in Normandy. I discovered science fiction at the age of 11 when reading a novel by Leigh Bracket. Immediately seduced, I explored this vast universe during my teenage years. Expelled from high school at the age of 17 years, for reasons that are still unclear to me today, I became interested in other types of literature.
For the past twenty years I have lived in Montreal. However, as soon as I have the opportunity I visit the Alps and sometimes for periods of several months.
I primarily write science fiction to provide readers with the opportunity to rediscover a type of literature that is often wrongly considered as a minor art form. Science fiction is a bit like jazz or classical music , it boasts a multitude of different styles.
What does Les Contamines-Montjoie represent for you?
L.L.P: Les Contamines has been my alpine base camp for some 20 years now. I appreciate the peace and quiet, not to mention the panoramic views. I like to start writing before sunrise when the atmosphere is incredibly intimate. I also hike regularly because a novel is not only written on a computer, it is structured during reflection whilst you walk. For me, there is a logical link between writing and the mountains. To decide to write a novel is a bit like deciding to climb a summit. You have an idea of the overall view when you reach the highest point, but as soon as you start the climb things often change. One can take the wrong route, underestimate the time it will take . One may be discouraged , taken by the urge to give up. The mountains are a school of tenacity and humility.
Today, I enjoy hiking. Mountain biking also gets my brain in gear. In winter, I often go snowshoeing or snowboarding (a sport that I consider as a form of accelerated Tai chi). Les Contamines is a small village. When I stop for a coffee, I always meet people I know and it’s nice to chat. Last winter, I stayed 4 months and devoted my time to writing No man’s Land.
Tell us about your book. Does the action take place in Les Contamines?
L.LP: No, it’s a science fiction novel. After the disappearance of humanity, a number of robots become alive. Isolated entities find themselves in a small abandoned town where they gradually establish a community. Will these robots, originally manufactured by humans ,be able to break free from their original programmes? Can a robot make friends, fall in love or ask questions about the existence of God?
I love the cinema and have taken a screenwriting course. I always try to create books which can be read as if you were watching a movie. The launch of No Man’s Land is scheduled for 28th August in France and Quebec.
Do you have other projects related to the publication of the book?
L.L.P: Yes, I am currently developing a website with the help of one of my Canadian friends. One can discover, among other things, the synopsis, illustrations, and the soundtrack for the book. We want to use this site to create collaboration and exchange, a network for contacts, both professional and amateurs, wishing to participate in a common project. For now the idea seems to please. What I’d really like to organize is a drawing competition to find out how my readers imagine the robots in the novel.