Guest Post: First-Time Novelist Darin Bradley on Noise, the Apocalypse, and You
First-time novelist Darin Bradley, guestblogging on Omnivoracious this week, has taught courses on writing and literature at the University of North Texas, Furman University, and East Tennessee State University. His short fiction, poetry, and critical nonfiction have appeared in a variety of journals, and he served as founding fiction editor of the experimental e-zine, Farrago's Wainscot.
Noise takes as its premise that, in the aftermath of the switch from analog to digital TV, an anarchic movement known as Salvage hijacks the unused airwaves. Mixed in with the static’s random noise are dire warnings of the imminent economic, political, and social collapse of civilization—and cold-blooded lessons on how to survive the fall and prosper in the harsh new order that will inevitably arise from the ashes of the old. Critically acclaimed writer Paul Jessup has called Noise "Little Brother meets Lord of the Flies meets Heart of Darkness meets Mad Max and the Road Warrior meets Letham."
Today, Bradley talks apocalypse, returning on Wednesday and Thursday with new posts...
We all think about the end of the world. Heck, we've been thinking about it for thousands of years. Many of our greatest, most beautiful religious and philosophic traditions are apocalyptic or "eschatological." As soon as we were cogent enough, along the evolutionary path, to realize we were here, we started to wonder about just how permanent "here" is.
These days, though, the "end of the world" has a slightly different feeling. Sure, some of us still worry about global nuclear annihilation, but that particular scenario lost most of its popularity in the '80s. These days, we're pretty concerned about the effects of global warming, and that may be even more terrifying because it'll be a gradual, painful, relentless End of the World. These days, we seem to wrestle-- artistically, at least--with defining "world." Do we mean all of it? A continent at a time? Your neighborhood? Your house? Apocalypse and "collapse" have become nearly synonymous.
So, we all think about it--some of us, perhaps, more than we should. I'm one of those. My name is Darin Bradley and this week Ballantine Spectra is releasing my first novel, Noise. Noise is about--you guessed it--The End of the World. Well, the collapse of it, anyway.
Let's just use "apocalypse" freely--it'll make the conversation smoother. Apocalypse stories are a dime a dozen. They're everywhere: television, the big screen, video games, role-playing games--you name it. They're fun, but they often rehash the same story arc: things are bad, everything falls apart, the future tells us how to celebrate/take care of what we have now. Presto! Easy story. If you're curious why the formula works, or how we may have come by it, you might check out my blog series "The Beginning of the End," over at Random House's Suvudu blog (particularly Episode 4, "Groups".
But here and now, why should Noise stand out? Why did I write it in the first place, if there is already a glut of apocalyptic fiction? Why should you read it?
Noise sprang from a few years of apocalyptic consideration. While I was finishing up some degrees in graduate school, I started wondering how literary theory, science fiction, and The End of the World all fit together. The end result, aside from the novel itself, was an apocalypse story with instructions for how to survive. Again, big deal, right? We've seen instructions like these before. Noise, though, concentrates on what a society is, what its (fictional) nature is, and how you build one. In order to understand how terrible, fascist, evil nations have come to power, Noise takes a look at their "good" beginnings, and it gives you the instructions for how to build your own post-apocalyptic nation-state.
The novel wants to know what kind of nation you'd build. Would it be a "good" one?
Are you sure? - Darin Bradley