“The two novels represent a rethinking of how apocalyptic threat affects the world: these texts reject the idea of immediate doom represented by, for example, fiction focused on nuclear destruction.”
~ Conrad Scott
This analysis of my first novel, The Rest Is Silence, from an academic at the University of Alberta, comes almost four years after my book was published. After an exciting year-plus of openings, readings, award ceremonies, and interviews, interest subsided, leaving me to listen to the crickets as I work on my next novel. So it was lovely to receive an email this week from Conrad Scott, a PhD candidate who works on dystopian literature set in North America, and in particular, environmental issues therein. His critique of The Rest Is Silence, along with Nicholas Dickner’s novel Apocalypse for Beginners, appears in his article “The End of the Beginning”, published in UnderCurrents.
Conrad describes environment as a social and natural ‘co-production’, one for which we must take responsibility. We alter the natural world while we are being molded by it. We change the temperature of the world with our industry; the increased global temperature affects us by altering weather patterns, raising sea levels, and allows the migration of disease vectors like mosquitoes into habitats overlapping with humans. (If you feel you need any more bad news about our place in the world these days, check out this NY Times piece on Zika virus). Fiction allows us to explore how this interplay might affect us.
Making a living writing fiction might be fun – one day I hope to find out. But for me, the best thing about publishing has been the many new people I’ve met. When you put a creative bundle into a basket and lay it in the rushes at the edge of the river, you never know whether some kind soul will give it a home or not. I have been lucky that my book was picked up and read, and that many who read it reached out to me.
You can read Conrad Scott’s article by clicking on the image above or “The End of the Beginning.”