Tim Powers, GOH speech, Arisia ’04

Tim Powers did the Guest of Honor speech at Arisia in January 2004. I’ve never read anything from him but I was really impressed with the talk. Here’s one little anecdote that I made sure to remember. As a background, he has written quite a bit of spooky/horror/sci-fi. He was talking about why people are afraid of spooky things in books even though we all KNOW it’s fiction.

I don’t believe in ghosts but I’m still scared of them.

They did this experiment. Some 30,000 chickens grew up indoors on this farm for generation after generation. They hadn’t seen so much as a tree or a bush or the sun in generations. So they took this cut-out of a hawk and ran it along a string across the top of the building. And all of the chickens went crazy, running for their lives.

So now if we could talk to one of those chickens and ask why she ran, she’d probably say, “I don’t know man. But it really freaked me out!”

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