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A sneak preview of things that go bump in the night with Gerald Rice!

September 14, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

by Alex Mcdermott:

Alex Mcdermott: Your short story for DMC, Turn It Off, has a subtle big-brother corporation feel to it. Can you give us more insight into this angle? Is it deliberate or a sign of our times?

Gerald Rice: Deliberate. The main character is going through something horrific, but the true horror, at least to me, is what is commonplace. Torture is supposed to be something that goes on in some country with an unpronounceable name. But in Turn It Off, it’s someone’s 9-5 job. These guys have health benefits, snack machines, and cigarette breaks. And they torture people without a thought about right or wrong. A sign of the times? I sure hope not.

AM: Your new work Fleshbags is a zombie tale. You use the word “lost” to describe the walking dead. It was intriguing. Tell us more about your perspective of zombies as there are countless out there right now.

GR: I love the genre. But save for someone coming up with the idea of running zombies, they really haven’t ‘evolved’. I wanted a zombie the likes of which no one had seen before. I wanted to take the reader inside the mind of the zombie as well. They have memories and emotions. They feel. I want to remind readers they weren’t always this way.

AM: As a zombie novel, what socio-political themes does Fleshbags address?

GR: The fear of being deprived of the things we need most. Our homes, freedom, loved ones. Each character has his or her own struggle, whether he or she wants it or not. But it’s the fear of losing one of these things that drives them, sometimes into the face of certain death.

AM: Corporate control and zombies both have post-apocalyptic edges to them. How do you as a writer see the future and what do you want your readers to take away from your work on that theme?

GR: The future is an open field where any and everything can be built upon it. I want my readers to see the end as one of two possibilities: the end of mankind or of our being forged into a new creature, capable of surviving the wave of whatever threat poised to destroy us.

AM: How does your education at the GMI Engineering and Management Institute influence your work? (that corporate feel again!)

GR: Not much. I dropped out after 2 semesters. I did go back to school and got my BA in English a few years later, but my education was also from authors like King, Wilson, Black, Sarrantonio, Wong, and Brooks.

AM: Your first novel, The Ghost Toucher, seems a radical departure from your upcoming work on zombies. What made you move into the walking dead?

GR: Actually, the first story I wrote for publication was Night of the Loving Dead, pt 2. I don’t know what happened to the first one, I never finished writing it. It seemed like a natural progression to go back, though. I’d just seen The Road again and I wanted to capture the feeling it gave me when I’d first read it. My daughter was a little over a year back then and I was ready to leap out of my seat every other page.

AM: A reviewer described Fleshbags as a complex, sophisticated story with unpredictable twists. What do you want to tell the readers about this novel?

GR: Get ready. Fleshbags is something very new. Another reviewer wrote it made her physically ill how they looked. I want to share my unease with readers. Not just the things that frighten me, but the things that make me look over my shoulder even though I know there’s nothing there.

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(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission, excepting links to the interview.)

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