“Up Close: Sam J. Miller“
A feature and interview with the fantastic website of the International Thriller Writers.
“The best horror is always timely…. Enter Sam J. Miller’s THE BLADE BETWEEN, a supernatural thriller that hinges on an eviction crisis. Miller’s novel, which also touches on homophobia, income inequality, and America’s refusal to come to terms with its history, feels like the most 2020 novel imaginable.”
“The things I was writing about in THE BLADE BETWEEN are things that I have spent years and years obsessing over, and things that are fundamental to how America works,” says Miller….”
“Sam J. Miller, le veilleur des mondes“
An interview with Frederique Roussel in Liberation, one of France’s biggest daily newspapers.
«L’auteur américain de 40 ans, une bonne tête, des yeux bleus, une barbe sage, a traversé l’Atlantique avec sa moitié pour parler de son premier roman adulte situé dans un univers post-désastre climatique.»
“Talking With Author Sam J. Miller About ‘Blackfish City: A Novel’“
An interview with Scott Simon.
“The new book Blackfish City tells of a near future that’s both dystopian and utopian all at once. NPR’s Scott Simon talks to Sam J. Miller about his story and about the influence of his father.”
“Sam J. Miller (aka The Activist) — Blackfish City (an Interview)“
S&F says: “Sheep, orca, and polar bears, oh my! Sorry about the huge delay on this exciting episode with the Shirley Jackson Award winning Author, Sam J. Miller! In this episode, Julia and Daniel discuss Sam’s newest novel, Blackfish City, including the ways in which Sam’s community activism inspired the worldbuilding, how a little bit of theft is a good thing, and how the HIV/AIDS epidemic ties into the novel (but only a little – spoilers, sweetie!), plus so much more!”
“On Blackfish City, and Society’s Self-Destruction.”
An interview with Samantha Nelson.
UW: Between climate change, water shortages, fundamentalists and the collapse of government there are a lot problems presented in this book. Which one are you most afraid of?
SJM: I wrote this book before the U.S. election in 2016. This book is imagining a future that many folks saw already on the horizon and maybe see looming a lot closer now where the U.S. has ultimately faded into complete irrelevance and where really bad decisions by increasingly xenophobic and conservative and anti-woman administrations has brought about our downfall to the point where we fragmented into smaller groups of folks trying to kill each other and then collapsed all together. From my perspective we’re constantly now seeing steps along the way that are going to lead us to the beginning of Blackfish City like trade wars or environmental protections that are being overturned or scaled back.
“Eating disorders, social consciousness, and the everyday superpowers of the marginalized.”
An interview with Craig Laurance Gidney.
“As queer people, we always have people telling us we’re monsters, we’re sinners, perverts, defective — it takes superhuman strength and power to overcome all that and emerge as a whole and healthy person. The process of getting there can be so painful, and that’s the story I needed to tell in The Art of Starving.”
“Interview with Sam J. Miller & Lara Elena Donnelly“
To accompany our co-written story, “Making Us Monsters.” Here’s a taste:
Uncanny Magazine: From the digging I did, I didn’t see any instances where you’d both co-written a story before “Making Us Monsters.” What was the impetus to not only co-write a story but this one?
Lara Elena Donnelly: I was reading a lot about 1920s Britain, and happened on the fact that socialite Stephen Tennant had been Siegfried Sassoon’s lover. So, I started reading up on Sassoon. When I posted a Sassoon poem to my Tumblr, Sam saw it and said he was into World War I poetry too, specifically Wilfred Owen’s. I don’t remember how we made the jump from “we like WWI poets” to “we should write a story where we write letters to each other as if we WERE WWI poets, and it should be sexy and gay and also horrifying and there should be brutal medical experimentation,” but I do know it started, as many queer fannish things do, on Tumblr.
Sam J. Miller: I had been obsessed with Wilfred Owen from the moment I read his magnificent, horrifying, brutal, beautiful poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” and when I found out he was gay it just added so much fascinating depth to the complex interrogations of masculinity in his poetry. And of course, I always lose my mind when someone shares my bizarre obscure obsessions, so geeking out about Sassoon and Owen with Lara really got my mind going. It felt like a perfect first time to collaborate with someone, because we each had a natural affinity toward one of the two, and writing an epistolary piece between two people doesn’t present the same kind of challenges that other collaborations do, where two different prose voices have to somehow become one. For “Making Us Monsters,” we could stick to our own strong distinct voices and it was a strength instead of a weakness.
“Young Adult Writers Are Changing the Face of Blockbusters“
…Miller recalls that his personal teen demons were made all the more powerful by his own isolation. “I think about the darkness I was in as a teenager in the ’90s,” he says.
“Young Adult was not in the same place. There were no books that were telling a truth that I recognized.”
Now, he says, “There is an honesty that is acceptable in Young Adult that grown-up novels are often too ‘smart’ and ‘sophisticated’ to tell. You can tell the truth in a really powerful and unique way.”
“A Better Power”
” I love narratives about fighting back. As much as I love reading about what scares me, I love reading about how we fight back. Finding out that the thing that seems immortal, invincible, is totally killable. The monster you think is immortal – you can put a stake through its heart. The systemic oppression that you think is bigger than you and impossible to fight – you can fight it. You may not win the way you want to win, or you might win and have a whole other set of problems, but the stories about fighting are something I’ve always gotten excited about.”
“Bound by Books“
“…There’s sort of this crushing, lingering body image dysmorphia/discomfort that I still feel–that is mostly under control–but that never never really goes away. I’ve never really stopped looking at myself in the mirror when I pass and going, ‘ahhhh, it’s not great.’ There have been times in my life when I’ve been working out a lot and I look better and that hasn’t made me feel not miserable, right? That hasn’t made me feel good about myself. I mean I’ve felt good about myself, but that hasn’t silenced the voice that was like, ‘You are not the sort of beautiful male ideal that you want.’”
Share a Philly cheese “steak less” with Sam J. Miller
“Sam and I discussed the value of community within the science fiction field, the transformative piece of advice he received from Ted Chiang while attending the Clarion Writers Workshop, how one deals with reviews that are more politically than artistically motivated, the way 9/11 changed horror movies, the importance of the life and works of the great Thomas M. Disch, and more.
Spotlight On: Sam J. Miller
“More and more, I think it’s the storyteller’s job to insert the idea of ‘‘justice’’ into a world where it is so profoundly lacking, to show people that what we yearn for, what we fight for, can come to pass. Empires will fall; our oppressors will be punished; our suffering will be redeemed. The world we actually live in is profoundly unfair and unjust and cruel, but stories can help us escape – and imagine better ones. Our privilege and our oppression will be inverted. Our good acts and our wicked ones will be returned upon us. The ending might not be happy, but it will be just.”
accompanying my story “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides“
“Someone in my writer’s group said that “alienated loners with superpowers” are kind of my thing, and I think they’re right. Mostly that’s because I believe that being gay is a superpower. It gives me an insight into how the world really works, and how patriarchy harms us all . . . and maybe a slightly more sophisticated fashion sense and superhuman ability to remember facts about Bette Davis and Donna Summer.”
with Charles Tan
“We all have a long list of excuses for when we do bad things – like Tom Ripley says, ‘whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn’t it, in your head? You never meet anybody that thinks they’re a bad person.'”
Discussing the Wachowskis’ Sense8
with David Barr Kirtley, Tobias Buckell, and John Joseph Adams
“This is the most queer I’ve ever seen something intended for mainstream consumption be. I’ve never seen, in a mainstream piece of cinema or television, a character talk about the transformative, transcendent, spiritual power of giving somebody a blowjob. As a gay man, that’s one of those things that’s an aspect of your experience that you don’t see in mainstream narrative.”
about my story “The Beasts We Want to Be”
“I firmly believe that the universe sends me important messages via the shuffle function on my MP3 player. The germ of this story sprouted when the National’s song “Abel” came on while I was out for a run, and for years I’ve wanted to capture in fiction the relationship that song describes. It’s about two men, friends, one of whom makes the other want to be a better person. Really it’s about the function our friends serve in our lives, and what happens to us when they disappear.”
about my story “We Are the Cloud“
“This story extrapolates from the very real and interconnected systems of exploitation that I was seeing up close through my work with homeless people. The people I met at soup kitchens had aged out of foster care; the moms I met in shelters had lost kids to the foster care system. The boys I saw hanging out in Morningside Park in Harlem were the ones who got arrested and fed into the prison system by cops looking to fill their quotas; they were also in the super-low-budget gay porno flicks some guys I worked with would share.”
Story Spotlight: Issue 20
about my story “Allosaurus Burgers,” and my recent win of the Shirley Jackson Award
“Dinosaurs make every dramatic fact about the human condition more dramatic.”
An Interview with Sam J. Miller
“I write speculative fiction because that’s how the world looks to me. Life is magic. The world is science fiction. We carry tiny rectangles in our pockets that can access the sum total of human knowledge! And have you ever seen an ocean? THAT SHIT IS CRAZY. To me the world is so full of wonder and horror that speculative fiction is the only literature equal to the task of reflecting it.”