Conversations with Steve Erickson
A collection of twenty-four interviews with a singular writer whose work is a dream-fueled blend of European modernism, American pulp, and paranoid late-century postmodernism
Much like his novels, Steve Erickson (b. 1950) exists on the periphery of our perception, a shadow figure lurking on the margins, threatening to break through, but never fully emerging. Despite receiving prestigious honors, Erickson has remained a subterranean literary figure, receiving effusive praise from his fans, befuddled or cautious assessments from reviewers, and scant scholarly attention. Erickson’s obscurity comes in part from the difficulty of categorizing his work within current trends in fiction, and in part from the wide variety of concerns that populate his writing: literature, music, film, politics, history, time, and his fascination with his home city of Los Angeles. His dream-fueled blend of European modernism, American pulp, and paranoid late-century postmodernism makes him essential to an appreciation of the last forty years of American fiction but difficult to classify neatly within that same realm. He is at once thoroughly of his time and distinctly outside it.
In these twenty-four interviews Erickson clarifies how his aesthetic and political visions are inextricable from each other. He diagnoses the American condition since World War II, only to reveal that America’s triumphs and failures have been consistent since its inception—and that he presciently described decades ago certain features of our present. Additionally, the interviews expose the remarkable consistency of Erickson’s vision over time while simultaneously capturing the new threads that appear in his later fiction as they emerge in his thought. Conversations with Steve Erickson will deepen readers’ understanding of how Erickson’s books work—and why this utterly singular writer deserves greater attention.