Excerpts from the interview with science fiction author PB:

‘‘In any universe where we as human beings were focused on being rational and effective, Trump would not be as successful as he is. Maybe what’s happen­ing is we’re seeing how dumb we are. Society needs expert technocrats to run everything, because clearly we as a mass are just a mob.

‘‘I think a lot about mobs, and the excitement people get from being a part of mobs, across the political spectrum. I’m struck by our need to cre­ate mobs to reinforce our own values, so we feel extremely virtuous as we rip the fuck out of whoever we define as being outside of our in-group. I’m fascinated by that, and I feel like it’s getting uglier.

‘‘I think there’s something about social media that’s acting as gasoline for these big mob gatherings. The anonymity and the distancing that happens with the Internet is lubrication for viciousness. People like being able to look to their left and their right and say, ‘I’ve linked arms with others! I am part of something!’ Then everybody goes charging off to rip the fuck out of whoever doesn’t march down their particular moral corridor.

‘‘Armor up, because bad people are out there, and they will fuck you in many different ways, and some of those will be career-ending ways. You won’t even see it happening until your career is just destroyed. Look around and see how many predators there are in the water around authors. It’s really important that authors start being aware of those things.

‘‘I want to emphasize that to authors. Make friends. Be kind to others. Ask questions. Share information. Always be willing to ask for guidance or another perspective. Be generous to others.”