INDIE WEDNESDAY: WILL MADDEN

Indie-WednesdayAlong my reading journey, I’ve made a conscious decision to include self-published, indie, and small press works in my reading schedule.  But it is difficult to know where to start: So many new authors and books to examine to find the perfect fit for my tastes.  And to help others with this same problem, I’ve decided to turn my Indie Wednesday feature into a day where writers can introduce themselves and their work to everyone.

With this in mind, I’m turning over the blog to Will Madden, author of The Killbug Eulogies, who has been nice enough to submit a guest post.

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Thigh Deep In Space Bugs: Based On A True Story

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Some people think of science fiction as escapism. For me, good sci-fi is not a means of throwing reality aside, but a way to express exasperation with it. Either you bend it until it works the way it is supposed to, or you twist it until it breaks and the rusty cog gumming up the works falls out where you can scrutinize it. And grind it under your heel, if it’ll make you feel better.

I like to tell personal stories, but the details of my life are either too boring or too intimate to discuss in a book. Science fiction gives me license to enliven facts that are too mundane, to bury personal matters under plot artifices and extravagant exaggeration, and to dance around everything in celebration of language. This, I hope, strikes a good bargain between reader and writer. I get to blow up my obsessions to whatever scale is therapeutic for me. You get to be entertained without carrying the weight of someone else’s neuroses and trauma. Like an alien symbiosis: creepy but kinda cool.

The Killbug Eulogies is a silly book. Amid a galactic war for survival, human soldiers face cartoonish levels of adversity: twice daily combat in filthy tunnels against giant mantises that want to cut their faces and genitals off. They arm themselves with weapons that could only exist in sci-fi: heliophase chlorocutters and boson demassifiers. Enemy insects are so numerous, their excrement falls from the sky like rain. The planet where they have been deployed is called Thisone. Pronounced TEE-sown, but still making the whole mission seem like someone’s twisted idea of a joke.

However bad things are, it is always about to get worse. Their chances for survival get a little slimmer, living conditions get a little less palatable, and whatever damn thing helped them get through it all is probably next to get stripped away.

At dawn and dusk, the soldiers crawl up sewage tunnels to attack giant mantises who are almost impervious to their weapons. The rest of the day, they find ways to pass time before their likely deaths over the next few months. One man dreams up ways to seduce the enemy. Another commits himself to the study of killbug murder poetry. A third spends his hours building death traps for everyone in the human camp. As an engineering challenge, naturally.

Under the circumstances, this is sorta reasonable. Having spent their whole lives servant to rules and social pressures, suddenly they have nothing left to lose. They seize the chance to become whoever they were born to be. Not enviable, but something.

While the human galactic leadership tears itself apart, the damn bugs are just so organized and ego-less. They work together under any conditions, and they can suffer any amount of loss without surrendering to despair. Every insect seems to have a meaningful place in their society. No matter how hideous, dumb, and drooly they are.

What do the bugs do with this perfectly harmonious, well-oiled interstellar empire? Their ethos is very simple: Destroy everything that lives.

Because of course it is.

When I was a kid, superhero cartoons taught me civilization was what humanity built so we could have culture, medicine, law, and technology. So we could live long healthy lives in comfort and with a sense of justice. Today civilization feels in the throes of a mad suicide provoked by more or less nothing. So what do I do about it? What does anybody do while everything meaningful around them collapses out of sheer spite?

I’ll write a romance between a man and insect that’s as tragic and beautiful and cruel as it is ridiculous. I’ll idealize the sociopath. I’ll leave all my heroes and villains at the precipice of destruction and make room for ferrets to seize control of the galaxy. And I’ll tell these stories like no more important ones have ever been told.

Because it’s the only sane thing left to do.

It is a dangerous time for creativity. In many media, the vocabulary of images and ideas has become quite limited, and you are warned if you color outside the lines it will go poorly for you. But pass on this moment to do whatever mad weird thing inspiration demands of you, you may never get a chance later.

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THE KILLBUG EULOGIESDisemboweled by the razor scythes of a six-foot mantis, lobotomized by hungry larvae, or roasted on an exoskeletal skewer: these are only a few of the disgusting ways to die in humanity’s hopeless war against giant space insects. Deployed on a brutal bug planet without a chaplain, a depleted infantry unit has entrusted its eulogy duties to the soldier standing closest at time of death. Somehow this rotten privilege keeps falling to Pvt. Timothy Archon.

Archon’s speeches explore the strange obsessions the men have developed since the war began–from archiving killbug death psalms to trying to seduce the enemy. Did these manias somehow redeem them, or only bring them quicker to their messy ends?

But more importantly: Why does Archon keep having such terrible luck? .

Buy Links:

Amazon
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

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will-madden-authorAUTHOR INFO:  Will Madden is a Nashville-based author, originally from the Bronx, New York. He holds a degree in something ridiculous from a fancy institution of higher education. By day he performs menial labor so that by night he has enough brain power to deliver the hard-hitting truths about the struggles of imaginary monsters. He juggles and knits.

Author Links:
Website
Goodreads
Instagram
Twitter

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