Brought to you by OBS reviewer Vicki.
- Be sure too read our review for “The Road of Things to Come” here at OBS.
Vicki: I have to say I am a huge fan of gothic (in all its incarnations) and I loved the elements of it that you incorporated into The Road of Things to Come. Yet you manage to create a road-less-traveled, bohemian, sci-fi gothic; really an entirely new genre, which works incredibly well! Some may say that it sounds like too much of a good thing – what would you say to the naysayers? And were multiple genres intentional or did the story naturally require them?
Benson Phillip Lott: First of all, let me give you the history of this short story. It began as a straight forward, beginning-middle-end tale that was in no way confusing. It’s plot was trite and the characters were generic. Anybody with a fourth-grade reading level could have made sense of it. Then, one day, about three years ago I decided to turn the story upside down, inside out, backwards, upwards and sideways. What I discovered was that I really enjoyed creating chaos, but with an undertone of highly symbolic meaning that, if the reader knew where and how to look, he could see there was in fact a method to my madness. As far as my intention for multiple genres: of course. It’s the only way to bring even a shred of originality to a world where every conceivable form of literature has been done and done again. Then done six times more. So, yes, crossing into different genres was vital. At least for me.
Vicki: As I mentioned in my review, I think I enjoyed figuring out the message of The Road of Things to Come the most. A lot of what takes place is very much open to interpretation, do you have a particular preference for the message readers are taking away from this novella?
Benson Phillip Lott: The message I bring is chaos can be controlled, dreams can be deceiving, and the mind is something you don’t want to mess with no matter how smart you think you are. Because remember, your mind knows everything about you. It knows what you’re going to do even before you. Also: The future is a beautiful place, but I caution everyone to take the slow path getting there. Short cuts will only result in your inevitable doom. (Am I being too dramatic? Yeah, probably. But hey, that’s what we writer’s do best. So sue me.)
Vicki: I’ve always had strong views on time-travel, both positive and negative, but I love to read about time-travel. Can you tell us a little bit about how the theme of time contributes to The Road of Things to Come and how the concept of time-travel works in this novella?
Benson Phillip Lott: I love messing with time in my stories. I grew up reading Vonnegut and Robert Anton Wilson and watching films like Memento, Millennium and 12:01. And since I personally think time is make believe anyway why not make it possible to move around in different directions?
Vicki: The symbolism throughout is extremely effective. The symbolism that resonated with me the most was that of the dreamlike/subconscious state and the road; Shepherd’s Pass. Is there any other symbolism included that you think readers will be interested in looking out for?
Benson Phillip Lott: The golden apples. In Greek mythology Zeus, the king of the gods; held a banquet in celebration of Peleus and Thetis’ marriage, (the parents of Achilles). Eris, however, was not invited because everyone thought she’d make trouble – After all, she is being the goddess of discord.
Eris was so upset by her peers snobbery she crashed the party, arriving with a golden apple from the Garden of the Hesperides, the word “Kallisti” inscribed in it. Kallisti means “for the fairest.”
Three goddesses claimed the apple, Hera (queen of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings, and empires); Athena (goddess of wisdom, warfare, battle strategy, heroic endeavor, handicrafts, and reason); and Aphrodite (goddess of love, beauty, and desire). Zeus, was hesitant to favor any of them so he chose Paris (a mortal) to judge which goddess was the best. Kinda like an Old School American Idol. To keep a long story short, chaos ensues and since my book deals with the chaos and confusion of dreams I thought: “Why not throw in the golden apples?”
Vicki: Do the names of your characters; Keylee, Grover and Fielding, have any significance to the story? I have my own ideas about what these names mean and how they represent each character but I’m not sure if I’m reading too deep (if there is such a thing!)
Benson Phillip Lott: Yes, but I can’t tell you. My advice is just take the names apart examine them and compare them to certain plot points in the story.
Vicki: My favourite aspect of The Road of Things to Come was the ironic distrust of creativity and imagination versus palpable shared thought, knowledge, vision and the way in which we consume art. Artistic interpretation is something that is vital to The Road of Things to Come, can you tell us about the importance of this aspect and how/why this story was used to communicate this literary comment?
Benson Phillip Lott: I’m a distrusting person. I see the world as a fun house of deceits. The best way to overcome your fears and find your destiny is through The Will. I try to share my beliefs, which are Satanic in nature, but very few people understand or wish to hear or read it. I’m hoping that will change as my writing improves.
Vicki: Are you working on anything new right now? If so, are there any details you can share?
Benson Phillip Lott: Oh yeah. Tons. Pumpkin 3 (book one and two) a story called Madman, which I recently submitted and a warped cartoony adventure called Something blue. Expect them soon. And thanks for having me.
Thank you to author Benson Phillip Lott for a great interview!