Inner Sanctum: You graduated with a degree in biology; how did
you become a writer and why did you choose science fiction?
I was fond of science as a secondary student. I began my career
as a scientist, not a writer, but I always admired Jules Verne, who is regarded
as a father of science fiction, and his novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under
I started writing my first work, Co Kien Trinh Sat (A
Scout Ant), in 1972 while I was studying at the university. Once it was
published it became very popular among children.
I chose to write science fiction because it combines my love for
science and literature.
Inner Sanctum: What was your most satsifying work? What
difficulties did you encounter on the road to success?
My book, Nguoi Dep Hoi Sinh (Beauty Revived), is the most
satisfying work for me. From a cell of skin, the dead beauty is revived. In the
book, I predicted that scientists would discover human cell cloning. I’m proud
that I wrote the book before Dolly the sheep was born. The book is respected in
Writing science fiction doesn’t mean basing stories on
imagination alone. I have to study science and find scientific evidence. Then I
work as a normal writer, finding context and making the stories interesting.
On the other hand, a writer must be creative and predict the
future. That’s the big difficulty. The writer’s role is to create what hasn’t
been invented. Writing on what already exists creates a story without value.
Inner Sanctum: Why was the VFSF founded? How does it work?
A young intellectual force is vital for both the present and
future. Being aware of this, the VAYSE founded the VFSF as a way to actively
support these young intellectuals.
Science fiction is an important aspect of this force. In the
future, the VFSF will focus on helping young authors and on developing its
The fund was officially set up in July and focuses on three
areas. First, we will publish literary works by domestic writers and translate
foreign works. The first collection of science fiction short stories will be
released soon. Secondly, we will launch creative writing competitions for
screenplays, stories and novels. Third, we will support other artistic forms
such as theatre, film and animated film.
We also intend to co-operate with other agencies to produce
creative games. The fact is that many famous games came from classic films like
Spiderman and Superman.
Our next plan is to publish two stories, "Hanh Tinh Ky
La" (A Fancy Planet) and "Qua Trung Vuong" (A Square Egg) by
veteran writer Viet Linh.
Inner Sanctum: Do you have any remarks on national science
Science fiction has its own large-scale world federation. It has
developed rapidly and created many promising authors. In Viet Nam, writers such
as Viet Linh, Pham Ngoc Toan, Pham Cao Cung and myself have created science
fiction for decades. We have attracted many readers, but so far the genre hasn’t
When VFSF was founded, a young writer from HCM City came to me
with three fictional books he had written. He wanted to get them published but
he couldn’t find a publisher. He has to work as an amateur writer, getting
money from other works to fund his passion for science fiction.
I realise that many young writers are in the same situation.
There are a lack of sponsors. With the support of VAYSE, we intend to launch
creative competitions to encourage youth.
Inner Sanctum: Do you have any advice for young writers of
Well, in my opinion, in order to write science fiction, an
author has to love both the social and natural sciences and be a skillful
writer. Moreover, you should have a deep knowledge of social issues. As a
writer, an imaginative mind is necessary to create interesting work. First begin
writing short stories, then try with novels. You must combine scientific
knowledge and literary skill.
Inner Sanctum: In your opinion, what attracts a reader to
science fiction? What do they gain from reading it?
Science fiction is based on scientific knowledge and
imagination. It’s not all impossible. Captain Nemo’s submarine in Twenty
Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was a prediction. The fact is that we now
make them to explore the bottom of the sea.
Readers are attracted to it because they want an intelligent
adventure. The stories make them think, imagine and deduce. The stories predict
the future of science and even suggest what scientists will invent. — VNS