Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Behind The Words // Anthony Weller

I stumbled across author Anthony Weller's latest book on Amazon by accident. It was recommended through Amazon's suggestion algorithm, likely because I'd been looking at fiction books about life and death. I'd been pondering where my forthcoming book THE DEVIL'S RIGHT HAND might be placed on a virtual book shelf.

Weller's story is intriguing and it presents a wonderful narrative about a hero who goes forward into the great unknown in search of lost love. A noble act and the basis of a lot of literature. But Weller's take is different as he posits a wonderfully unique view of two very important things: life on earth both pre- and post-death, plus what it is to be in a relationship full of quirks and minutiae.

You can read my review of Weller's book, THE LAND OF LATER ON, here. I found it to be a refreshing departure from most of the fad-driven junk in the virtual book stores. And while it differs a great deal from my work in THE NIGHT WALK MEN world, I think Weller and I are treading some familiar ground.

Without more incidentals from me, here is my guest, Mr. Anthony Weller...

Where’d You Get That Afterlife?

by Anthony Weller

Every novelist loves what works. I’ve found that when fictionalizing a precise era and place I’m better off if I do my research first, let it sink through the mental muck, and trust that all I need will survive.

For several years I had an instinct I might write a novel about the afterlife. I felt, dutifully, that I ought to do a bit of research. You see the problem.

My favorite research involves stuff I don’t have to read. I could dismiss Dante’s Divine Comedy and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress; I’d encountered them in college, and I figured those two masterpieces of the hereafter would now only get in my pedestrian way.

More serious a threat were several superb cultural histories of Heaven or Eternity or The Afterlife or whatever you want to call it. Yet the closer I got to starting, the more I realized I didn’t want to coagulate my novel with anybody else’s ideas of what happens after we die. My guess was just as good as theirs, surely.

I also hoped to write a novel that with luck might prove as funny as it was poetic.

What clinched my aversion to homework was a lucky find at a flea market. For a quarter I bought a pamphlet from the 1930s, with a title like Is There Life After Death? Finally, I thought, we’re getting somewhere.

In fact, I’d just thrown away twenty-five cents. It took a while for the author to get to his point: there isn’t any afterlife, because there’ve been so many gazillion people since the beginning of time, there couldn’t be space for them all. He did the math to prove it, too. This argument had so many holes I didn’t know where to start.

So I wrote The Land of Later On. Here’s how my narrator first explains the setup:

“Infinite in space and time, its denizens are those who choose to stay. They can occupy any place and era they like, for as long as they like. You can set up headquarters in an idyllic Mediterranean port and stroll out across the cobblestones of 14th century Mecca, or 19th century San Francisco, or the airborne walkways of next century’s Singapore. You can have breakfast on one continent in one century and lunch on another in another. For some people this is heaven; others never go anywhere. Why risk an unpredictable journey? A lot can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Anthony Weller’s fourth novel, The Land of Later On, is published by AmazonEncore.

My thanks to Anthony for swinging by The Farthest Reaches and sharing this wonderful glimpse at his novel and its beginnings.

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