Every time that Sirens Call Publications releases an anthology, we ask each of the authors to provide us with a guest post; something that speaks to the inspiration for their story that you will read. With the release of Carnage: After the End – Volume 1 &Volume 2, our inspiration series may run a little longer than our other anthologies. But that’s okay, we love Post-Apocalyptic Horror and both volumes have a fantastic mix of tales. Continuing on with our inspiration series, today we feature Madga Knight, author of Knock, Knock, Who’s There? in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2.
The founder and editor of popular alternative feminist website Mookychick.co.uk, Magda Knight regularly writes in the realms of horror, speculative fiction, steampunk and YA. Her work has been featured in a number of anthologies and publications including 2000AD, the home of Judge Dredd. When she grows up she would like to be a sword or a bear. Or something dangerous with teeth. More teeth than is, perhaps, strictly necessary. You can find Magda on Twitter, Facebook at her personal page or her fan page, or on her blog.
Let’s dive right into Magda’s guest post…
Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
It’s said to be the question that writers fear most of all: What’s your inspiration?
It could be that…
A – A writer is a terrible thief, a nasty little rascal, a dirty-cheeked sneaking pickpocket. Asking where a writer got their ideas is a mean thing to do. It’s like asking where the train robber hid the spoils, or demanding to know what the thieving little hobbit has got in its pocketsies. The truth is we get our ideas from sources we’d rather not admit to, if it’s alright by you. We get them from The Hunger Games, from 50 Shades, from Simon Cowell, from the last thing we read, from the last clever (uncredited) thing our friend said. What… you really want to know what pilfering little buggers we are? Gee, thanks. Swell of you. Dispel the glamour, why don’t you. Just ask us to tip out our pockets while you’re at it. Yes, that is a rather embarrassingly old and unused condom, and yes, we did steal those sweets.
B – A writer is hugely articulate in some areas and woefully (or perhaps strategically) tongue-tied in others. They’ve mapped certain regions of their imagination. They KNOW where be dragynnes… or some of them, at least. The writer needs to play sleight of mind, however. They find it useful to trick themselves into not knowing a thing’s source; that way they can re-imagine the same old story they subconsciously tell again and again in new and fresh and interesting ways that actually mean something. Much of the map must remain unknown, at least to the pioneering writer, or else the urge to discover new territory will vanish like the colony at Roanoke.
And, let’s face it; no-one really wants to know what happened to Roanoke.
Where did I get the inspiration for Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
Well, some of it came indirectly from a friend’s website, In Case of Survival. It is dedicated to all things apocalypse… the minutiae that people forget about, like the mundane difficulties of going into labour in a post-apocalyptic scenario. The ickyness and grittiness of that made me think…
As a woman, I’ve always been greatly afeared that menses during an apocalypse would be HORRIBLY awkward. Just awful. Far worse than fighting gribblies, quite frankly. Dispatching monstrous horrors is glamorous and gung-ho and appealing, but there’s nothing appealing about feeling a bit sticky, yearning to find a working washing machine and knowing that all remaining tampons reside in supermarkets which are all controlled by the toughest and most organised survivors. Which, let’s face it, won’t be me or you.
Apocalypse is brought to life by the little things. The big problems are fun, but the little problems are the true monstrous reality. We understand the little things. And oh, how we fear them.
I was also hugely influenced by old British myths. On reading the likes of Susan Hill and Alan Garner as a child, I never forgot that I was living in Britain, with its dark, green, moist wealth of myths and legends. I never forgot that King Arthur made a PROMISE that his sleeping knights would rise once more to defend Britain in its hour of greatest need. And I’ll hold him to that promise, dammit. Whether he likes it or not.
Lastly, my influence was the seminal dystopian sci-fi film, Children of Men. I loves it bleak, I do. And that is one bleak film. So I took a tale full of the most joyous things a child could think of – dinosaurs and beach balls and shining knights and adventure and all the sweets you can eat, forever and ever – and mixed them all up in a Hadron Collider, then bleached all the colour out until the end result was about as joyous as Children of Men.
And you know what? If you’re holding a copy of Carnage: After the End – Volume 2 in your hands (and you are. Of course you are) you probably love it bleak, too.
Welcome to Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
Welcome to my little corner of the Apocalypse.
It’s a place where fear is all about the little things…
The ten stories in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2 tell of the frighteningly horrific and cruel lives the survivors must face. Each one takes us to a place where humanity’s stragglers are forced to battle for their very existence against their own grim reality; creatures from different worlds or times, individuals or groups of miscreants who feed on the fear of the weak, and even the terrifying threat of unknown bacterial organisms. Their will to go on diminishing among the tatters of the civilization they once knew.
In a world where society has collapsed and terror lurks around every corner, no one can be trusted and nothing can be taken for granted.
The Apocalypse has come, leaving in its wake small pockets of survivors battling to stay alive; each carving out a new beginning for mankind…
Contributing Authors in Volume 1 include:
Kimberly A. Bettes, Shane Cashman, Shane R. Collins, Laura Diamond, Rodney James Galley, Michael Griffin, Russell Linton, Adam Millard, Christofer Nigro, and Julianne Snow.
Contributing Authors in Volume 2 include
Angel D. Callido, Charlie Fish, Harper Hull, Magda Knight, Jason Lairamore, Harry Manners, Zachary O’Shea, Wednesday Silverwood, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and L.E. White.
Interested in picking up a copy of both volumes?
So now that you are utterly intrigued, we’re going to hit more post-apocalyptic goodness in the form of an excerpt from Magda’s Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
Even as the three of us are discussing the potential merits of running past the thing in order to make a break for the supermarket, Lisbet’s eyes begin to change.
Shit, I think. It’s a selfish thought, but then again, it’s not as though I really know her. She’s only here because she knocked on my council flat’s door minutes before the Hadron Collider collapsed in on itself and created a doorway for all the things to come through. She didn’t knock on my door to tell me about that, of course. None of us yet knew. She’d come to introduce herself as the ex-tenant and make arrangements for the forwarding of mail. She wasn’t even in my house long enough for me to offer her a cup of tea. As soon as I’d started to rake through the tottering pile of unopened bills on the welcome mat we heard shrieks from the flat above, coming through the thin ceiling in a vile stream of what initially sounded like domestic abuse, swiftly followed by the screams from the street outside. Lisbet’s a national Tae Kwon Do champion, she says, or used to be before the door opened. She’s someone we need. She’s someone we can’t afford to lose.
Now that Lisbet’s on the verge of turning into one of those unwanted visitors from the other side of the doorway herself, there are only two left out of our little group of five: me and Gremovski. If I survive this and end up on my own, I’ll try to join another group, if I can find one. Hell, I’ll tell them I’m a national Tae Kwon Do champion. That way they might even keep me around.
Even as I mouth the platitude her eyes darken to a midnight blue, suffused with a stare I’ve only seen once before on an unchanged person, back in the old days, on my baby brother as he lay still and watchful two months premature in the incubator. Full of a cold knowledge of things a human isn’t meant to know. The objective perspective of something vast and nameless, looking on the world from inside its little house of meat and finding it wanting…
Tomorrow we’ll feature the inspiration behind Russell Linton’s Prophecy of Numbers in Carnage: After the End – Volume 1! Don’t forget to come back and check it out!