I answer 12 or 20 questions
6 – Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?
It depends on the book. With Please, I was trying to write about the experiences of my generation — I should have subtitled it “Generation Temp.” But I also wound up writing a bit of a historical book in a sense, in that the characters are often longing for something from the past — a lost love, that suburban neighbourhood, the decision they failed to make — and they inhabit the ruins of the past. They live in their own memories, and in social memories, with suburbs and churches and OJ Simpson car chases and such.
The Warhol Gang is a little more sci-fi in nature, in that like all good science fiction its project is extrapolation. I took a bunch of trends I was starting to see emerging — neuromarketing, holograms, the viral video— and tried to normalize them. That is, I tried to imagine a society where they were the cultural norm. In some ways, I think I failed, because society has already become stranger than I imagined — anime news videos depicting Charlie Sheen rants? Twitter-fuelled revolutions in the Middle East? But we live in an age where the future is happening faster than we can keep up.
In my new book, I’m exploring the idea of the post-future. The characters inhabit a world where they’ve given up trying to keep pace with the future and turn to the past for meaning instead, searching for artifacts and memories that will save them. But that doesn’t stop the future from happening to them. I’m not sure how to discuss it conceptually, because we’re all still struggling to grasp the violent change we’re going through right now, and I think we’re largely unsuccessful at it.