Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Mares in the Night Author's Notes: "Dark Side of the Heart"
Dark Side of the Heart
This one didn't come easily, but the idea was yet another that took hold and downright refused to be ignored. It was a rather simple one, at that: basically, take ERB's classic John Carter of Mars and treat him as Kurtz from Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, with a former comrade sent across the stars to properly... deal with him. The actual execution of bringing it to life took a bit more legwork, spanning roughly four years to pound out this single 12,000 story. But the initial idea was so compelling, I wanted to take my time and get it right.
Aside from the two most obvious influences, I was also greatly inspired by Norman Spinrad's excellent The Iron Dream, which tells of an alternate history in which Adolf Hitler immigrates to the US after WWI and becomes a pulp science fiction author. Spinrad wrote the novel to illustrate the underlying fascist tendencies present in so many "Boy's Adventure" stories, and that was something I was itching to explore, but reconfigure to fit through the framework of post-9/11/War on Terror anxieties. The title also lent itself to comparisons with the seminal Pink Floyd album, and considering Dark Side of the Moon dealt heavily with coping with a friend's mental illness, it wound up fitting rather nicely with the story's themes. I tried reading it while putting the album on simultaneously, hoping for a little Dark Side of the Rainbow action... I'll leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not that leads to any interesting results.
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