Charlie Huston's new novel Sleepless is the most science-fictional thing he's ever written. And he partly credits the influence of moving from New York to Los Angeles, because L.A. is a more science-fictional city. Let the debate begin!
In Sleepless, a weird epidemic of insomnia overtakes the world, and as people go for months without real sleep, the madness begins to overwhelm everything. And no place goes crazier than L.A., which was already on the brink. Traffic jams, homeless people, human bombs and overbearing heat, it all adds up to a big crazy souffle. An L.A. cop goes undercover to investigate the trade in Dreamer (or Dr33m3r), the only drug that gives the sleepless any relief. The investigation takes him into weird subcultures including transgressive virtual-reality art and underground nightclubs.
So why is Huston, author of the gritty Hank Thompson trilogy and a series of vampire novels, veering more towards science fiction? He tells the Austin American-Statesman it's because he moved to L.A. a few years ago:
I knew very soon after I moved here that I wanted to write an L.A.-based book. As any number of writers - fiction and nonfiction - have observed, there's something apocalyptic about L.A., something about the earthquakes, the proximity to the sea, the fires, the sunsets, the Santa Ana winds - all the Joan Didion stuff. It's more of a science-fiction city than New York.
So what do you think? Is L.A. really more SF than NYC? [Austin American-Statesman]