Bob Bob had a few questions concerning my last post about Chasing the Moon. I thought about answering them by replying to comment itself, but then figured it might be better to answer them in their own featured post.
Bob Bob asks:
What inspired a) a Lovecraftian story, b) about the nihilism and absurdities of life? Also, is this book the answer to a question asked by another writer or fan?
To answer the first part, I’m not really sure where it came from. I had the idea of a protagonist getting stuck with a cursed apartment and a monster that came with it, but other than that, not much else. I think themes of nihilism and absurdity pop up quite frequently in my books. I just tend not to focus on the depressing aspects of these themes, which for many will probably seem like a contradiction. Once Chasing the Moon started exploring strange concepts like monsters from beyond time and space and the limits of human perception, it sort of drifted in a Lovecraftian direction. It wasn’t a calculated decision. Just a natural progression.
I suppose if the book is a reply to anything, it would be to question why we assume that human beings will automatically crumble when faced with the incomprehensible. Really, we face the incomprehensible every day. We’re constantly reminded of our own limitations and powerlessness, and while it’s true we tend to ignore that, its influence is everywhere. Almost everything we do and believe could be as attempts to cope with, deny, or accept our our own insignificance. It’s such a universal theme that I’m not sure you could write a story without it.
I could write a whole blog post about this idea, but we’ll save that for later.
It seems as if you’re suggesting Moon might not be a traditional, whatever that means, A. Lee Martinez novel. How have pre-readers reacted — what’s been said?
It’s weird to consider that there is such a thing as a “traditional” A. Lee Martinez novel, but Moon will be my eighth novel. I’m somewhat past the “Who is this guy?” phase of my career and more into the “I think I’ve heard of this guy” stage. I don’t know how I would consider the novel in comparison to my other novels. It’s similar in many respects. The same guy wrote it who has the same style and certain philosophical views of the universe. I don’t think Moon is terribly radical from what I’ve written before. But it is different in that I think it’s more horrific than anything I’ve written before. Gil’s All Fright Diner had werewolves and vampires, but it was a fantasy adventure story. But Moon is less about adventure and more about dealing with the strange stuff that comes our way. It’s more nebulous, less black and white.
Pre-readers have enjoyed it, but you can never really know how people are going to react. That’s why you throw it out there and see what happens.
On Twitter and this blog, you’ve been talking about changes in perception, how likes and dislikes change. Is this a warning in advance about the style of Moon?
No. It’s not like I wrote this one with a more “literary” mindset. The book is not intended to be a huge shift in what I’ve done before. Stylistically, it’s very similar. It has a cast of weird characters, many of them not quite human, dealing with a strange situation. Cliches are broken or tweaked in a manner that is often mistaken for satire or parody when really it’s just trying to do something different.
Just as in my previous novels, I don’t consider it a parody of the genre. I think of it as a variation. So the Lovecraftian themes aren’t meant to be refuted or denied. They’re just explored from different angles. That’s my bread and butter as far as I’m concerned. It’s always been my biggest strength as a writer, the ability to try something different without having to tear down the entire concept. At least, that’s how I see myself as a writer. It doesn’t mean I’m right. I could very well just be a silly fluff writer with delusions of grandeur.
Either way, I feel confident in saying if you liked my previous work, you’ll most probably like Chasing the Moon. I’m not just saying that because I want you to buy it (although I do really want you to buy it. May 25th. Store near you. Check it out.), but because I have seven books out there and so far my publisher keeps paying me to write them. So somebody has to be buying the damn things.
I’m fairly certain that if you bought my previous books for the comedy, you’ll find plenty of humor to like in Moon. And if you like them for the theoretical deeper themes and ideas I have to offer, then you’ll definitely find those in there too. And if you just want to read a weird book where a woman armed with a claw hammer fights a giant beetle and baking is revealed as an excellent way to ward of insanity, then you’ll be glad you read it too.
Thanks for the questions, Bob Bob. Hope this clears some things up.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,