Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Open House Day One - William Meikle

What attracts me to stories about the end of the world?

There's something cathartic about seeing everything being torn down. It also makes for amusing daydreams when the boss is being a tool or when the commute seems to take forever. And who doesn't think they couldn't do better at building a society if given a chance?

So there's that, and there's also the sheer spectacle of the thing... the same reason people like to slow down to look at car crashes. There's a "there but the for grace of God" vibe you get when watching or reading the world being torn down. Emmerlich and Devlin hooked into that early and have made a pot of money out of those very same vibes.

I started my fandom of the genre young and at first it was from a Science Fiction perspective. The British ones from the '50s and 60's got my attention, in particular John Wyndham's DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS and THE CHRYSALIDS. Them, and A CANTICLE FOR LIEBOWITZ were my earliest introductions to the form. After that came tales of cosmic disaster, mainly Lieber's THE WANDERER and Niven and Pournelle's LUCIFER'S HAMMER. My interest was further piqued by Terry Nation's TV show THE SURVIVORS, and Stephen King's THE STAND, the first to being real horror to the genre IMHO. But my favorite in the genre is by Robert Macammon. His SWAN SONG is a roller coaster blockbuster which eschew's King's religious trappings for non-stop action and gritty realism mixed with a slug of the supernatural. My kind of tale.

There is much that is good about civilisation that I'd certainly miss if it went, such as books and entertainment, central heating and modern medicine. But on the whole, civilisation as mankind defines it is hell-bent on destroying the ecosystem and we're too stupid to stop shitting where we eat. I don't think it's a matter of why or why not. We're now at a stage where it's only a matter of when. I just hope it's a few more years yet.

But I have a small island off the coast of Newfoundland in mind. It has an artesian well, plenty of fish and seabirds to harvest, and some run down buildings from an abandoned settlement that could be made habitable quickly. I'd have to dig up the small graveyard to make sure nothing's coming up out of the ground, but it's been disused for many years, so any revenants will be a bit brittle by now :-)

In the meantime, I've got more stories to write. I destroyed Southern England most recently in THE CREEPING KELP, Manhattan in CRUSTACEANS, and most of North America in THE INVASION so I think it must be Scotland's turn next.

THE CREEPING KELP - available now on order at Dark Regions Press here 
Follow William' blog here


  1. Nice one William/Steve,
    BTW William, I have a title for a book if you decide to set one in Wales - 'Attack of The Lavarbread People!'



  2. Nice one guys. If you're going to destroy Scotland, Dundee goes first

  3. Jimbo - that goes without saying :-)

  4. I read THE CRYSALIDS for the first time about eight years ago - found a copy in a charity shop not far from where I worked (at the time). Read it during my lunch breaks; loved it. Steve Volk mentioned sometime ago that he wrote an adaptation which has been languishing in production hell... would make a great film or TV series.