The good folks over at LL bought a copy of The Thieves of Nottica (woot! one dollar closer to buying my iguana!), liked it, and interviewed me. Here’s the interview.
Be sure to check out this awesome blog for the entire interview.
I really enjoyed the fact that the humans were the antagonists of your story. Can you tell me a little bit about your thought process there?
I’m a sucker for those stories where “humans are the monsters!” Kind of like The Day the Earth Stood Still, where this peaceful alien came to Earth and then all the humans instantly tried to kill him and went nuts. I guess I was just following in that “trope,” one I love dearly.
I think it’s because the hardest thing for a person to do is to look in the mirror and acknowledge their own ugliness, and stories like that are an attempt to do so.
You know Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story? In that story, in order to reach the Oracle, Atreyu has to go through three tests (I think it was three?). One of the tests is for him to look at his true self in the mirror and have to face himself. It’s said that most people can’t get past the test because kind men look in the mirror and discover they are not kind, etc. When I was a child, I didn’t understand why this was so difficult. When I grew up, I watched clearly racist and sexist and homophobic people claiming adamantly that they weren’t racist and sexist and homophobic people. Then I understood.
We can’t acknowledge that we’ve done bad things. We all have a burning desire to be decent people, and yet it still takes a certain kind of bravery to admit that you aren’t perfect and that you’ve made horrible mistakes. So I guess this is why I love stories where humanity is put on trial for all the atrocities we’ve committed. And we have committed them.
And what’s sad is that we can sit here and admit it through science fiction (Planet of the Apes comes to mind) but we can’t admit it in moments that count. Like when we’ve said or done something insensitive to hurt someone else. Our first response is to insist that we meant well or we aren’t racist, sexist, homophobic whatever. Our first instinct is to think about ourselves and instead of acknowledging that we have done great harm to another human being, we’re quick to ignore and dismiss the feelings of the person we hurt.
When all we have to do is say sorry and actually mean it.