INTERVIEW: M. Rickert, Author of “Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment”

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

The actual inspiration came from the quote by Randall Terry. I wanted to write a story where the world imagined by Terry had come to pass. Though it’s been broadly read as science fiction, I consider it a fantasy, an imagined reality formed by the genesis of a particular desire rather than by the logical manifestations of an idea, which, in my mind, could not be contained by logical structure as the desire itself is based in a distressed foundation, which, upon extrapolation, reveals its internal flaws. It was also meant to take a sort of sideways look at what has already happened to women in countries where their freedom is denied.  At the same time as I came across this quote, there was a good deal of discussion about the feminist voice in genre and its ability to find publication. I set about to write a feminist story in response to that concern.

What is the appeal of dystopian fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers love it so much?

I do not feel qualified to speak to the broad appeal of dystopian fiction, as I have never been good at measuring the common quality, but I can speak to its personal appeal for me as a literature of the ultimate fear of what the worst aspect of being human can wrought if not balanced by the best aspect. The big struggle with good and evil, as it turns out, is not with a force outside ourselves, but a force within, which I think makes for frightening material, worthy of consideration within fiction, too often forgotten as a force in itself.

What are some of your favorite examples of dystopian fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

One of my favorite works of dystopian fiction is Carolyn See’s Golden Days. See’s story, more fantasy than science fiction, works for me because of its emotional resonance.