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Monday, November 24, 2008

Interview with Barbara Baer

This is one of a series of interviews with the authors whose work is collected in Wreckage of Reason, an anthology of experimental short fiction by women. To read the other interviews, click "Wreckage of Reason" at the bottom of this post.

1. This is the first piece of fiction that I have encountered that uses MySpace and other technological media as its setting. Do you know of others? why did you choose it? what possibilities did it open for you?

I suppose there must be others using it but I just got the idea because of hearing about it used so much, especially Second Life. Of course it opened possibilities, as it does for people who communicate and create personas there.

2. Is the title a play on 'girl germs'?

No, it is a play on jeans as well as being about genes.

3. I assume you consider this a satire. What do you consider are the objects of your satire? Why do you want to make fun of them?

Yes, satire or fantasy. My intent wasn't to make fun of them as much as enter into a possible world with them where I'd hope a reader would feel sadness, despite the grotesque nature of their afflictions.

4. What is your view on medical experimentation and so-called medical 'progress'?

Very dark. I'm glad people are helped by medical intervention, would hope the same for myself, but I envision all sorts of cloning. I used to be a reader of sci fi. Who can see Blade Runner and not feel the likelihood andthe tragedy of the mutants?

5. This story is in a tradition that goes back at least as far as MaryShelley's "Frankenstein" -- one that bears witness to the dangers of scientific experimentation. Did this tradition affect your writing at all? That is to say, did you feel stymied because of it, supported by it, or didyou not even sense it while writing?

As a former sci fi reaader, one interested in the fantastical, of course Shelley comes to mind. It's all out there, from the mutant movies to what seems very poppular on mainstream tv, all the alien and mutant shows, people with special powers. But to me there's always been the dark side. The human brain came up with nuclear fission and we can blow up everything. I've always felt that the thanatopic side would hold sway in the end, with a few survivors. Obviously others think this way, or want to immunize themselves from believing it will happen by creating horror stories. I once wrote an essay (Commonweal, but I don't remember date, cover story) about the differences between male and female apocalyptic scenarios, so the subject has fascinated me, probably most of all to try to understand what would be last-moment, last-moment-on-earth, strategies and sensations.

1 comment:

  1. insightful. The world of fiction is wide open I think for women writers, different settings and female leads at every level of writing. Thanks for posting this interview. TL Boehm