American Carnage: An interview with contributing author Dan Lee

Welcome back to Day 2 of interviews with the American Carnage crew! My review is here. My next interview is with author Dan Lee, who wrote the story “None but the Brave.” Again, please note: discussion is welcomed, but keep it respectful. I know that the anthology’s theme has the potential for controversy, so comments will be monitored.
Note: answers are unedited/uncensored/unwhathaveyou. All answers, thoughts, and opinions are from the authors.
First, tell us a bit about yourself. Any fun and interesting factoids?
I’m a freelance writer specializing in horror entertainment and horror culture. I’m also one of the organizers of the Nashville Zombie Walk.
Tell us a bit about your writing. Are you usually a fiction writer, or did you make an exception for this anthology?
I’ve always considered myself more of a fiction writer but I’m happy to go wherever I can get a byline. I love telling bizarre, unusual stories. Being a part of an anthology is always a lot of fun.
Speaking of the anthology, what drew you to it? Why did you decide to submit a story?
The premise behind it is amazing. Well, I’m a bit biased but blending punk rock (and heavy metal) music with dystopian stories set in a not too far off version of America is a chance to entertain and deliver a message.
Tell us about your story. What inspired you to write it?
My story, None but the Brave, is pretty much classic dystopian sci-fi with a psychedelic interlude in the middle. I was reading a lot of Phillip K. Dick and listening to a lot of GWAR at the time and the two influences sort of blended together to tell a story about a government owned sociopath who rapes the subconscious thoughts of the dead to hunt down threats to an equally invasive government. It’s the only story in the collection titled and themed from heavy metal.
The anthology is about a Dystopian world (with or without aliens). Do you think that we’re closer to an apocalypse or a Dystopian society now than we have been in the past? Or are we already on our way there, without even realizing it?
We’re close, no doubt, but I think we’ve been teetering on the edge of Armageddon for decades. As for a dystopia, we’re steadily integrating into one. We give up a little more freedom and a little more privacy with every smart device and social media post we put our names to.
Things have gotten a little…heated in recent times, especially when it comes to politics. Have you gotten any pushback or criticism because of the anthology’s theme?
Personally? No, I haven’t taken any criticism or complaints. I know within a day of PDI advertising on social media, however, we had someone get mighty butt hurt over the cover art alone.
When you think about the future, is Future Earth a scary or an optimistic place? Or have we, perhaps, already wiped ourselves out and this is a moot point?
It’s terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. We’re always risking disaster and extinction but we keep exploring and growing even faster than we can threaten our own existence.
Since ICoS is all about survival, do you think you’d be more likely to survive an alien invasion or a zombie apocalypse?
I’m going with zombie apocalypse. I just have to find the right place to hole up and wait it out. From the moment of reanimation the dead are a finite resource. Every step they take breaks down rotting muscles and flesh. Add weather and time and it’s all about playing the waiting game.
What’s your favorite apocalyptic scenario?
Really the opening stages of any apocalyptic scenario. I love the suspense; the thrill of the escape as civilization comes crashing down at the hands of the elements, disease, or any other earth shattering disaster. That’s the exciting part of any apocalypse, really; the exodus. Everything after that is just camping and Mad Max cosplay.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your writing?
I’m always looking for new challenges and new work. I’d love to write some graphic novels about monsters and strange, transdimensional creatures invading reality. Something with a paycheck would be nice too, you know, if anyone’s hiring.

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