Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.”
Steve Poling was born, raised and lives in West Michigan with his wife and kids. He uses his training in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science as a C++/C# poet by day while writing Subversive Fiction by night. Steve has an abiding interest in philosophy and potato cannons. He writes SF, crime fiction, an occasional fractured fairy tale, and steampunk. His current writing project is a steampunk novel, Steamship to Kashmir–provided he isn’t distracted by something new & shiny.
1. Who are some of your favorite writers, books, movies, and intellectual influences?
I think C. S. Lewis is probably one of my most significant intellectual influences. I fancy The Sixth Sense and any movie that pulls the rug out from you in the last scene. Jerry Pournelle’s “Exiles to Glory” helped me see that Science Fiction needn’t be all world governments run by socialists.
2. How do you describe yourself ideologically?
I am a small-l libertarian who’s seriously contemplating capitalization. I prefer democratic solutions to social problems. I loathe politicians who use unelected judges and bureaucrats to evade responsibility for their policy aims.
3. Which thinkers/commentators have influenced you?
In addition to C. S. Lewis, I found Francis Schaeffer, Jonathan Edwards, and John Bunyan quite helpful. As far as THIS century is concerned, I pay a lot of attention to Instapundit and Ace of Spades.
4. Where are you from/currently reside?
I grew up in western Michigan and after grad school and a short stint out east, I returned to Grand Rapids where I currently live.
5. What are your writing goals?
I want to maintain a sustainable rhythm of writing, finish my current novel, and dash off the odd short-story.
6. Where can people find/follow you online?
You can find:
* my blog posts at http://diogenesclubarchives.blogspot.com/,
* my tweets @stevepoling, and
* day-to-day commentary at https://www.facebook.com/steve.poling
7. What’s your craziest hobby/pastime/interest?
I have several first-place trophies for Pinewood Derby and Awana Grand Prix cars. I also have a few potato cannons with which I enjoy launching spuds.
Check out Steve Poling’s Southern Fried Cthulhu
It all started on a Wednesday night last month. I was in church with the missus. The preacher was teaching about the end of the world, the Beast, and the Antichrist. He was chock full of piss and vinegar, going on about the fearsome Day of the Lord.
That’s when we heard the screaming. The reasonable thing to do was stop and see what the fuss was about. But Pastor Kingsfield just kept preaching, only louder.
I got up to see what was happening and he shouted at me to sit back down and take heed of the word of the Lord. So I sat.
I heard gunshots and a car crash, but he kept on preaching and exhorting that none could withstand the wrath of God and his sure and just judgment. All the while he was watching to make sure I didn’t get up. I smelled smoke as if Hell itself had opened up and figured the Good Lord was coming back then and there. The preacher must have thought the same thing and wanted to make sure he was found doing right by his flock. He was shouting himself hoarse, warning us of sure and deadly destruction to be visited upon the unrighteous.
Being a deacon, I wanted to set a good example. So I was saying “Amen” a little louder than I had to.
Eventually, his voice gave out and we sang the closing hymn. Pastor gave an invitation and most of the congregation went forward to get saved again. We were sure the Lord was coming back, so we stood around waiting and sang a few verses of “Almost Persuaded.”
Brother Jubal said, “I don’t suppose it’d be a bad thing if we wait for the Rapture outside, do you?” I could tell he was in the need of a cigarette.
“I’ve never seen the apocalypse before and I confess I’m a little curious to see what one looks like,” I said. “Let’s go outside. Revelations paints some right scary pictures, but my imagination can’t quite fill the gaps.”
We went outside and the town was a mess. Cars were wrecked and houses were on fire.
“Will you look at that?” Jubal said, pointing.
There was the First Baptist Church, the new one they built last year, blazing from top to bottom. I had friends that went to that church and I only quit going after I got married and my wife pestered me to join Mount Pisgah Church of the Nazarene.
“You know, Jubal,” I said. “I don’t think that we were saved from this because we’re Christians.”
image via lovecraft.wikia.com