In Dale Bailey's short story "Lightning Jack's Last Ride," the United States broke after the NRA used a dirty bomb to destroy Washington, DC. And while the political subtext of the story seems clear, Bailey insists that his fiction is not so much about making a statement as expressing his fears about the modern world.
"I do not think of myself as a political commentator or anything like that," Bailey says in Episode 338 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "Instead of telling a story to express a political point of view, these are only those that are brought forth by the cultural environment in which I find myself."
Apocalyptic visions trace Bailey's fiction and his bibliography full of storytelling titles such as "The Rain at the End of the World" and "The End of the End of Everything." These dark prospects prompted James Patrick Kelly to call Bailey "The Poet of the Apocalypse."
"We're attracted to these stories, and I'm certainly drawn to these stories, whether they're Mad Max or written by JG Ballard," says Bailey. "And I've been thinking about why that's because I do not want the world to go down. Not me. So where does this attraction come from?
He says that one reason why we are attracted to apocalyptic stories is that they capture the way in which a personal tragedy can feel like the end of the world. "For someone, their world ends while we talk right now," says Bailey. "Somewhere a tragedy surrounds someone, and their world will be completely rebuilt as a consequence, and this can happen anytime."
Despite his love of world stories, he is worried So many of them make the death of billions a fun adventure. It's a topic he tackles in his drained, self-confident story, "The End of the World as We Know It."
"As far as I was concerned, the use of these tropics was without examining the moral consequences of this species from the tropics," he says. "This is a really horrible, horrible thing, and we tend to take it very easily in fiction."
Listen to the full interview with Dale Bailey in episode 338 of [Geek'sGuidedHomegalaxy (1
Dale Bailey on the publication:
" Starlog had a column for amateur auction, and I sold a story" sold "is the wrong word, since she does not I paid a story there when I was about 12 years old, shortly after Star Wars came out. I remember getting the letter saying that I had placed the story and my sister, who is three or four years older than me, came in the door and I am very excited and I have her and she said, "No," and she goes, "Talk to me when you get paid." That was my sister. … So I was very excited about it, but then about a month or two after that saying, I got a letter that the column was broken off. Therefore, my first placement of a story was unfortunately revoked.
Dale Bailey on Collaboration:
"Ellen Datlow had invited us independently to submit a story in this anthology with the name . Lovecraft Unbound and Nathan Ballingrud were visiting shortly before the deadline – I mean, a day or two before the deadline, and none of us had started writing anything. We sat on the quarterdeck and drank beer, and I said, "Do you have something?" And he says, "I have nothing." And I said, "I have nothing." Of course, at that time, I had nothing for several years , We started talking and eventually went down to my basement office, and I started writing this story, "The Crevasse," with just a glimpse of where to go. … We spent the night taking turns on the computer until we finished a story the next morning.
Dale Bailey on "Lightning Jack's Last Ride":
"I had to get rid of planes. Fighter jets would make the whole story impossible. I'm by no means a tough science-fiction writer, so that was a showcase. I do not know if air could actually get so polluted that planes can not fly – I think that's possible. I think you just need enough of this kind of storefront so that the reader can accept the world of history as she reads it. I think of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's quote about lifting her unbelief, and that's what I wanted to do with the planes and satellites that are unable to operate. It simply provides enough background or enough explanation for the reader to find a way to buy into history, and I hope it worked.
Dale Bailey on In The Night Wood :
"The fantasy of the book is that there is this forest that surrounds the estate, which is larger from the outside than from the outside – You go in and you almost go to another place, another kind of reality. This dimension of the book occurred to me on the way back from the World Fantasy Convention 2003 – I believe in Washington, DC – and there was a long section of Interstate 85 where there was nothing, there were only trees as far as you were on both sides could see the street. It was like nobody lived in this place for 70 miles or so. I was with my friend Jack Slay, with whom I collaborated on another novel, and I said to Jack, "I have the feeling that the trees are going on forever." And so did this fantasy-fancy, this huge forest, a way to focus on this story about a father who has lost his child.
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