Home Writing Writing within the Shadow of “V”: Adventures in Speculative Fiction with Stephen Graham Jones

Writing within the Shadow of “V”: Adventures in Speculative Fiction with Stephen Graham Jones

by Maurice A. Miller

GROWING UP ON the arid West Texas plains of his start, amid cotton fields, pecan orchards, cattle ranches, and pumpjacks, Stephen Graham Jones gives an exceptional narrative perspective knowledgeable by way of the human beings and places that he is aware of. While such revel in may also seem an extra fitting concept for Westerns than speculative fiction, Jones attracts at the dangerous occurrences of this type of life to infuse his tales with unexpected scenes, uncanny conditions, and a cast of freakish characters which are uniquely his very own. From the disorienting vision of records, trauma, and local survivance found in his debut novel, The Fast Red Road (2000); the metatextual novelization of a fictional horror film trilogy in Demon Theory; the account of a detective’s pursuit of the tornado-following killer in All the Beautiful Sinners; the slipstream story of an Indian agent assigned to the Blackfeet in Ledfeather; to even extra notable or weird-er stories inhabited via estranged rabbit-headed fathers, chupacabras, pile-using zombies, slashers disguised as pop singers, very last women, teenage werewolves, and malevolent specters, Jones relishes inside the narrative freedom and creative opportunities of SF.Adventures
While an outstanding portion of Jones’s paintings lands securely within the realm of literary fiction, his explorations in style have ended up increasingly more frequent and sustained over the past decade. In reality, his position as a vast voice inside the realm of style has become greater prominent together with his latest receipt of a Bram Stoker Award. His ultimate 8 books consist of numerous slasher/detective novels; two collections of horror shorts; novels on a zombie apocalypse, werewolves, ghostly hauntings; and an experimental superhero graphic novel. Jones’s destiny portends greater of the same: his next ebook, Elk Head Woman (Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), marks a return to the realm of the slasher. Given those interests and persevered work in this course, the timing seems apt to capture up with Stephen. Our dialogue took place in person at a Denver coffee shop [1], and we observed up via electronic mail.

BILLY J. STRATTON: Considering your career as a writer, did you spot or should you anticipate writing the wide variety of books you have got ― particularly in the genre and speculative fiction that sincerely challenges readers’ expectancies of you, as well as of style and shape extra broadly? Did you usually need to write down such books, or did you come to be writing in experimental methods in which you amazed yourself?
STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES: Oh yeah. I continually notion all I desired to do became write V, you realize? I just wanted to be the dude who wrote the next V., But that didn’t quite a training session.

Though V is largely the lead-in to Gravity’s Rainbow, through The Crying of Lot forty-nine, and yet it does appear that what you had been getting at in The Fast Red Road and The Bird is Gone, and labored out, as you’ve formally said, [2] with Ledfeather, are all grounded in that narrative realm, especially Lot 49. Is this correct? Maybe. I imply, lower back then I was studying forty-nine on a quite everyday basis, and pretty lots residing in V, and riding six hours to buy a mag from a pawn store that could have something Pynchon in it, so I’m guessing that something I ended up writing from, I don’t recognize, from how I became, it’d be all hopeful approximately looking to be what I cherished.

Where would possibly Demon Theory fit into this dialogue? Is that e-book closer to the supply? Yeah, for me, Demon Theory could be closer if something is, but extra. That one was just me proving to myself that I should do something opposite or not like Fast Red Road. For some cause, I became terrified of having the writer version of typecast, yeah? Guess I thought, like, every person changed into watching, I don’t recognize. Fast Red Road turned into the first novel I ever wrote, though. I assume Demon Theory, in 1999, was both … 2d or 0.33. Maybe fourth. But I never sent the ones different out — a vampire novel and a werewolf novel. Anyway, speaking V and Pynchon, my agent returned then — this is probably 2000 — knew Pynchon’s agent, and, I guess, spouse, proper? My agent changed into capable of getting the Demon Theory manuscript on Pynchon’s desk; I imply that is a big highlight for me because I held him chargeable for the entirety I become on the web page. Owed him, I imply — not blamed him. But I wager to blame him.

On the impact of Pynchon, considering his fusing of genres — fact and the fantastical, records and speculation — I’m thinking how his work bears on your improvement as a reader and author, especially in the geographical regions of style fiction. Isn’t Gravity’s Rainbow sort of seventy-one one-of-a-kind genres? Each segment break, we type of blip to another style. That actually and usually is … I changed into going to say “controls me,” but that seems weird. But it’s actually there. Joe R. Lansdale’s there too. He writes what he writes; we could use the market parent out what shelf to put it on. While asked what genre he writes in, I’ve heard him say that he writes in the “Joe R. Lansdale genre.” That’s the intention, guy. Just write the testimonies that can be exact to you and get dressed up, but they need to be dressed up.
Yes, Pynchon has an excellent ability to barter paperwork, voice, style — and all so seamlessly. And that is a sincerely cool manner of looking at the genre, and one’s authorial identity, which type of pushes back towards the difficulty of having typecast, which you cited earlier. I wager overthinking what one is meant to write or worrying approximately how readers view you as a writer may want to surely get in the manner of the act of writing itself? And besides, critics introduced the “dying of the writer” quite some time in the past, and writing is something you have to do and allow the pages to fall wherein they may.

Yeah, who knows what I’m supposed to write? However, the mode I’m in proper now, I like to write 70,000-or-so-phrase novels that you could get in and out of quickly. Maybe that phrase cap keeps me from having what I assume is room for headaches, which always breed even extra headaches, and I bet that’s usually my impulse, what I usually have to try to resist — over-complicating things. It’s like I didn’t research something from George Costanza. Or, that character on Superstore who additionally makes the whole lot more complex … Amy, yeah. That’s the component I’ve had to research and analyze over and over again, writing novels. Direct and simple is good. Complications are okay for a man or woman interactions — even necessary, I guess — but you need to keep the plot comprehensible.

You may also like