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Interview: James Sallis on “Bedtime Story”

What was the inspiration for “Bedtime Story,” or what prompted you to write it?

As with many of my stories, the first lines dropped onto me out of the blue; the story came as I went about finding out what those lines meant.


What would you want a reader to take away from this story?

That the world does not belong, has never belonged, to any single group, race, religion, nation — or even species, including mankind.  Others will have their turn.


Why do you write?

One of my poems pretty much covers that: “Find beauty, try to understand, survive.”


Who do you consider to be your influences?

That would be a very long list.  One of the first who made me want to do this myself was Theodore Sturgeon.  I go back to him again and again, still astonished every time.


How does your book reviewing inform your fiction writing, if at all?

It reminds me how many fine writers and how much fine writing is out there.  It keeps me honest.


“Bedtime Story” appears in the July/August 2018 issue of F&SF.

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