INTERVIEW: Matt Williamson, Author of “Sacrament”

What’s your story about?

Terrorism; torture; ad creep; the debasement of religion.

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

For capturing the horror, sadness, and absurdity of modern life, you can’t do better than the dystopian stories of George Saunders and David Foster Wallace. Saunders, in particular, seems to get everything: the way that isolated, onanistic, mechanistic pleasure-seeking has replaced human connection; the way that corporate values have replaced morality; the way in which our consumer preferences have come to completely define our identities; the way that marketing has perverted and corrupted language and culture, and pretty much rendered art itself meaningless; the profound hopelessness that you can feel while being entertained. That Saunders can write about this stuff and make you laugh is some sort of miracle.

Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier’s two collaborations, Robocop and Starship Troopers, still impress me as two of the smartest, toughest, and most prescient SF works in any medium from the last 25 years. They’re no longer ignored—Starship Troopers, against all odds, has started creeping into the canon—but they’re still underappreciated and frustratingly misunderstood.