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Waiting Out The New Millennium With F. Paul Wilson
An interview with Lisa DuMond
July 1999

Photo © Kade P. Cole and F. Paul Wilson
F. Paul Wilson
F. Paul Wilson
F. Paul Wilson was born in 1946 in New Jersey. Early loves included Lovecraft, Matheson, Bradbury, and Heinlein. In 1968 he graduated from Georgetown University but began to sell short fiction while a first-year medical student. He has been writing fiction and practicing medicine ever since. Wilson is the author of more than 15 books, including 5 SF novels (such as Dydeetown World and The Tery), and the 6-volume Adversary Cycle of horror novels (which includes The Keep, The Tomb, and Nightworld). The Keep and The Tomb have appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers List. He's still married to his high school sweetheart. They live on the Jersey shore with their 2 daughters and 3 cats.

F. Paul Wilson Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Barrens and Others
SF Site Review: Masque

The Tomb
The Barrens and Others

Other SF Site Interviews
F. Paul Wilson
Tim Powers
Michael Marshall Smith
Thomas F. Monteleone
P.D. Cacek
David Morrell
Chet Williamson
Ed Bryant

999 Review
999 Table of Contents

Let's talk about 999 and your own chilling contribution, "Good Friday."

999 is not the only current work of fiction to see publication, with an emphasis on the upcoming Millennium rollover. Do you think 2001 is going to see a genuine change worldwide?

No. I don't see why it should. It's like watching the odometer on your car hit 100,000 miles. It's cool to see all those nines roll to zeroes, but then it's time to get back to paying attention to the road. That's where life is happening, and it doesn't care what's on the odometer.

Most of the post-millennial works tell of disasters ahead. "Good Friday" is a stunning example of that trend.
I think of "Good Friday" as apocalyptic rather than millennial. I like apocalyptic fiction. Nightworld, the novel that caps the Adversary Cycle, is my most blatant example, but "Aryans and Absinthe" in Revelations was apocalyptic in its own way, as was Black Wind.

"Good Friday" deals with an apocalypse of a supernatural origins. Have you seen any evidence that the average humanoid-on-the-street actually expects an upheaval of that nature? Is there a "type" of person who holds to these beliefs more than others?
A type who's not very bright, I imagine.

Bear with me: I have trouble with millennial things. I mean, Apocalypse in the year 2000... really? The year 2000 came and went thousands of years ago on the Hebrew and Chinese calendars, and we still have over 600 years to go before we reach it on the Islamic calendar.

2000 years from the birth of Christ? Wrong again. In 525, Roman theologian and mathematician Dionysius Exiguus calculated the birth of Christ as December 25, 753 years after the founding of Rome. But he miscalculated by 6 years. The true birthdate was 747 years after. Which means, in the current count, Christ was born in 6 BC. 1994 was the 2000th anniversary of his birth.

So if we're not linking Apocalypse 2000 to Christian mythology, then what is the significance of Christian calendar year 2000 AD to whoever or whatever is going to cause these apocalyptic changes?

Do you know of a supernatural power that uses a base-ten counting system and is heavy into big round numbers?

Neither do I.

"Good Friday" is just the first installment in your new series. So far, things are not looking good for the living, breathing variety of beings. Are we looking at an I Am Legend kind of result?
Although chronologically the first, "Good Friday" is actually the third story I've written in this retro-vampire framework. Sr Carole goes on to become the anarchist bomber nun of "The Lord's Work." The first installment was "Midnight Mass," but it's chronologically last—so far. I intend to do more. All three stories take place within a few months of each other.

Basically I dislike the Anne Rice / goth spin on vampires. I think they're more fun as nasty, obligate parasites with no redeeming qualities. I also like all the old-fashioned trappings of the vampire myth: repelled by garlic and crucifixes, scarred by holy water, killed by sunlight or beheading or a stake through the heart.

In my scenario they reached critical mass in Eastern Europe and decided to exploit the chaos of the fall of the Iron Curtain to take over the Eastern Bloc, then use that as a base to move on the rest of humanity. Now they've come to America. They haven't completely taken over, as in I Am Legend, but they're sure as hell trying.

I wonder if Darwin would see that as just the process of natural selection? Is modern man obsolete?
Not yet. But the advances in genetics over the next 50 years will very likely change us into a subtly different -- and superior, I might add -- species. And those possibilities will, of course, set up fears of a genetic holocaust.

It looks like the only hope for the "good guys" is an assist from Repairman Jack, but word has it he's busy in some new struggles of his own. Any connection between the Millennium Madness and the return of your tough-as-titanium hero?
Jack is back at the behest of his fans. One of the reasons I hesitated bringing him back (besides my misgivings about committing to a series character) was because he's a major player in the apocalyptic events of Nightworld. I didn't want to write about him in a post-Nightworld setting, so what I'm doing is drawing the new stories out from The Tomb in a loop that will eventually intersect with Nightworld (necessitating some minor rewrites for consistency before Nightworld is reprinted).

You've shown readers the worst-case scenario for 2001 and many people are preparing for just that. Tell me: what is the most outlandish Y2K reaction you've observed?
As a kid I survived the nuclear holocaust threat of the 50s with its bomb shelters and turn-your-ass-to-the-window air raid drills in school; I had friends who were involved in the economic holocaust fears of the 70s when they were setting up secret rural retreats, stocking up on freeze-dried food, and hoarding gold; this Y2K stuff is just another variation on those themes. And as I said before, genetic holocaust panic will hit us in the next century.

Meals-ready-to-eat are now "Y2K supplies." You can come up with something better than that. Give me your own official product of the Millennium.
Prozac chewing gum.

Copyright © 1999 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.

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