THE END IS NIGH Author Interview: Tobias S. Buckell

 Tell us a bit about your story.  What’s it about?

A pair of skip tracers with a close bond try to seek out a man obsessed with changing the world, by any means necessary.

What was the genesis of the story—what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

The prompt came from a number of articles I was reading about neo-reactionaries in Silicon Valley. Upper middle class coders spending time online advocating that feudalism would be something awesome to turn the US into. Honestly. It sort of blew my mind that so many ostensibly well educated people in technology were taking this seriously.

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

It was challenging because the rewriting took place after I’ll taken a particularly nasty spill on ice which wrenched and badly bruised my lower back. I was unable to sit, or stand for too long, without heavy-duty pain medication. I don’t write well under the influence, so in order to put in the time on it I had to stop taking the medication a few days early, which left me in a fairly odd mental place.

 Most authors say all their stories are personal.  If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

As an immigrant I always have this fascination of people who despise the very system that has given them such an amazing, rich life compared to the one I grew up in. Poking back at this tends to engage me on some deeper level, even if there are proponents of something I believe in (and the character of Haswell is not espousing anything I believe in) I still want to poke back and examine that impulse.

 What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

A series of long form articles about people arguing Haswell’s beliefs, mainly. And I did reading about skip tracers, how they went about gaining bounties. The history of bounty hunting in the US is something I picked up via cultural osmosis, but finding out the details really fascinated me.

 What is the appeal—either as a writer or a reader—of stories that take place BEFORE an apocalypse?

You know, it’s trying to figure out what may have caused it. The red flags. A sort of ‘if this goes on’ look at the future.