Sometimes when I write I know what it is I'm "obsessed" about. What it is, anyway, that I'm focused on. When I wrote DEMONS (Del Rey Books) I was focused on the idea that corporate culture is willing to sacrifice countless people for its profit margin, that they'll knowingly let people die to save a little cash. The book is a fantasy allegory about that problem. (I suppose I've always wanted to be the John Steinbeck of science-fiction or horror.)
But sometimes I don't know what I'm obsessed about till I've written the book. Only after I'd written my new novel BLEAK HISTORY (Simon & Schuster) did I realize how terribly upset I was about America's taking part in torture. The book is a paranormal fantasy but imagery involving American agencies torturing the paranormally gifted are integral to the story.
In WELCOME TO FREEDOM, a new novel, I write about the aftermath of a huge tsunami on an isolated California coastal town--and how the lack of emergency services, safety net infrastructure, police and other necessities, caused by local Libertarian antigovernment excess, cost lives, and created dangerous circumstances beyond the normal consequences of the disaster. The political meaning of the story did not really emerge into my consciousness till I was far along writing the novel. And that's how it is with me and my thematic obsessions--the story tells me about it.
Causes John Shirley Supports
Obama for President
The Gurdjieff Foundation