Ivan Ewert is one of those authors I enjoy hanging out with. He’s witty and erudite. He also writes some pretty horrific stuff and has the dubious honor of being the only AIP author to give the Husband nightmares with his writing.
I’ve talked before about the seed of the Famished novels, a short story from 1920 carefully and intentionally set in an isolated, rural, quintessentially American setting. I read it in third grade and it messed me up properly, but that seed needed soil in which to grow. It needed some nightmare fertilizer, and I had just thing, because when I have nightmares they tend to come in a single flavor.
I find myself in a country which is under a dictatorship – a true, full-on fascist regime with serious secret police and border guards – and I have committed a crime. Not a physical crime, nothing which hurt anyone. A mindcrime. Wrongthink.
And somebody knows.
I’m trying to get out, legitimately, but somebody in a position of power knows what I’ve read, what I’ve said, what I’ve thought. I know they know, though I don’t know who; and I don’t know which of my friends informed on me.
Generally speaking I wake up drenched just as I’m approaching the border crossing, just as I see the guards beginning to smile at one another. I never, ever go back to sleep the night of one of these dreams.
What does this have to do with Famished: The Gentlemen Ghouls?
The insular structure of the Ghouls, the rigid adherence to hierarchy, the punishments which they mete out. I dream about them all.
Authoritarianism is a very real and very constant fear of mine. I admire and applaud people who recognize that the good of the many outweighs the needs of the individual, but authoritarianism demands the loss of the individual not in service to the many, but to the few. The blurring of lines between what’s good for a nation and what’s good for its elite.
The use of force to command obedience is abhorrent to me. The blind obedience of people unable to recognize that they are being used, or unwilling to see that they are penned in like lambs for the slaughter. The unwillingness to speak to power or break from tradition, which should be a quintessentially American trait, has been growing over time as our nation ceased to grow.
When I am afraid, I’m afraid that our country will devour itself, and has been doing so for generations. Feasting on the future to prop up the strength which is past.
Yes, on its surface, Famished is about very straightforward fears, but scratch its surface and you’ll find something more than sketchy dining practices.
Ivan Ewert was born in Chicago, Illinois, and has never wandered far afield. He has deep roots in the American Midwest, finding a sense of both belonging and terror within the endless surburban labyrinths, deep north woods, tangled city streets and boundless prairie skies. The land and the cycles of the year both speak to him and inform his writing; which revolves around the strange, the beautiful, the delicious and the unseen.
In previous lives, he has worked as an audio engineer, a purchasing agent, a songwriter, a tarot reader, a project manager and, for a remarkably short stint, an accountant. In his spare time, Ivan occupies himself with reading, gaming, and assisting with the jewelry design firm Triskele Moon Studios. He currently lives near the Illinois-Wisconsin border with his wife of thirteen auspicious years and a rather terrifying collection of condiments and cookbooks.