In collaboration with editors John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey, A Dribble of Ink is proud to introduce a series of interviews with the authors of The End Has Come, the final volume in the The Apocalypse Triptych. Following on The End is Nigh, and The End Is Here, The End Has Come contains 23 stories about life after the apocalypse.
Interview with Sarah Langan about “The Uncertainty Machine”
“Prototype” shows us a drastically changed world. How did this story evolve over the course of writing for a triptych?
I was really glad John contacted me, because I’d already written a couple hundred pages of a YA series (KIDS) set in the post apocalypse, but needed to more firmly build the mythology and rules of my strange world.
I got that opportunity– with The End Is Nigh I wrote “Love Perverts” which covers the basic themes of the YA series (parents selling out their childrens’ futures; survivors tending to be the least moral of a particular group), and also the nature of the apocalypse (asteroid). My story in The End is Here shows how the villains of my world came into existence (cyborgs!). And in The End Has Come, “Prototype” shows the world itself, and sets up the rules. Writing these stories has really crystalized things for me. I’m CRAZY excited to dig back into KIDS with this new perspective.
The presence of sand and the difficulties of living in a sand-clogged world have dramatically shaped the people, their personalities, and what drives them. What was the idea behind this apocalypse?
It was an asteroid called Aporia that changed air quality. I guess I had the dinosaurs in mind, but also 9-11. I worked downtown in NYC when all that went down, and went back to work soon afterward. I wore a mask and got bloody noses and breathed little pieces of building for months. It’s affected most everything I’ve written since.
The characters here are, say, varying degrees of human. What are the real human costs of living in this world?
I’d venture to say that the characters here aren’t human at all.
What about post-apocalyptic fiction appeals to you? Why do readers come back to it so often?
I think the country’s in decline and we’re aware of it. But decline isn’t necessarily bad, particularly if our standard of living doesn’t decline. We’re looking more and more like Europe, which is both good and bad. I think we retell stories of our own demise in order to reassure ourselves that it won’t be so bad as we think, and in some ways, it will be a reinvention. After all, every generation tears down what came before.
Finally, what’s coming up next for you?
I’m working hard on my fourth novel The Clinic.
I’ve got a 50-page short story (the longest thing I’ve published in years!) called “The Old Jail” coming out in the Blumhouse Anthology, Blumhouse Book of Nightmares.
About Sarah Langan
Sarah Langan is the author of the novels The Keeper, This Missing, and Audrey’s Door. Her work has garnered three Bram Stoker Awards, a New York Times Editor’s Pick, an ALA selection, and a Publishers Weekly favorite Book of the Year selection. Her short fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Brave New Worlds, Fantasy Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and elsewhere. She’s at work on her fourth novel, The Clinic, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.
About the anthology
Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.
But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.
Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, The Apocalypse Triptych is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. The End Is Nigh focuses on life before the apocalypse. The End is Now turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And The End Has Come focuses on life after the apocalypse.