Mike Brotherton interviewed Nancy Kress about her new novel, Dogs. The start of the Q & A:
1) What was your inspiration for writing DOGS?Read the full interview.
I’m fascinated by the way viruses and bacteria, including pathogens, can both mutate naturally and be genetically engineered. I’ve read everything I can find, for instance, on the outbreaks of Ebola in Congo and Sudan. Genetically engineered pathogens turn up in my books OATHS AND MIRACLES and STINGER. In fiction, the pathogens are usually transmitted by humans. But, I mused, it doesn’t have to be that way …and just about that time I happened to get a dog.
2) What attracts you to science fiction?
It’s a canvas large enough to paint just about anything on it. You can use the past, the present, the future — or all of them at once. You can deliberately distort some aspect of humanity — as, for instance, LeGuin does with gender in The Left Hand of Darkness — to examine it more closely. You can invent whatever you need to tell your story. Much of mainstream fiction has shrunk itself down to the examination of a few people in a very constrained situation, such as (for example) a family disintegrating. That’s interesting, but so is the larger-scale take on society that very few mainstream writers do any more.
The Page 69 Test: Dogs.