Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Dead Americans Soundtrack and Storynotes: Under the Red Sun

Originally published at Ben Peek. You can comment here or there.

Dead Americans cover

‘Under the Red Sun’ is the first Red Sun story I wrote.

I remember very clearly the moment of inspiration for the story, because I was watching a documentry about 19th century body snatchers with my mother, as you do. My mother, who is very supportive of my writing without having read any – she has never been much of a reader – is nothing like the mother in the story, but I imagine that the mother/son nature of our relationship was part of my sub conscious’ cherry picking at that moment as we watched about body snatchers, grave robbing, early medical experiments, and the way the dead were handled. From that moment came six short stories (so far) and a novel.

The latter is somewhat infamous. I am asked about a Red Sun novel every now and then, and yes, there is one. The story of why it isn’t published is long and twisted, but it essentially runs like this: one editor wanted it, but didn’t read it, then a second wanted it, but didn’t buy it; and I had one agent, and then another. There’s more inbetween, but at the end of it, I almost gave up writing. But I did not, and the book I wrote after that - The Godless – offered me the best opportunity of my career as yet. I also suspect that those who like the Red Sun stories will like the world of the Children, with its dead gods, fractured sun, and ocean discoloured by blood, and I suspect that when all is said and done, people will look at the Red Sun world and its fiction as the dark mirror to the world I created in the Godless, but only time will tell with that.

‘Under the Red Sun’ was originally published by Sean Wallace in the print version of Fantasy Magazine. It was the first of the pair of stories he published, but unlike ‘Possession’, I did not get a single date out of it. It’s enough to declare that print is dead. However, I did, a few years later, record a reading of it for Keith Stevenson’s TISF, and if you are so inclined, you can listen to it still.

(This is a story note for my collection, Dead Americans and Other Stories, which is available now. The song is part of an illusionary soundtrack that I am putting into each of the posts for amusement, but if you owned the book, you could listen to it in the final moments of the story, if you were so inclined. If you don’t own a copy of Dead Americans and Other Stories and you haven’t read ‘Under the Red Sun’, then you should follow the links and buy a copy. It’s just like spending time with my mother.)

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