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“I was just trying to write a good story. It’s not always easy or thoroughly enjoyable, but neither is any other pursuit that is truly fulfilling.” This is from Greg Hickey, author of newly released, Our Dried Voices.
Hickey sat down for a reading at City Lit Books last Thursday and with about 30 visitors gave insight on the story he’s finally been able to tell.
Greg Hickey reads an excerpt from his book, Our Dried Voices, on November 20 at City Lit Books in Logan Square.
"I really enjoyed writing the story," Hickey said. "It was a challenge to write with language of people in an advanced society, and cut out the flowery prose, but worth it in the long run."
The title Our Dried Voices comes from the T.S. Eliot poem "The Hollow Men". Hickey’s sci-fi story is set hundreds of years in the future. People live in an advanced society – on a far distant planet called Pearl – where their needs are satisfied automatically and there is no need for human labor, struggle, or thought.
“Our Dried Voices depicts a colony of humans who no longer have to think to maintain their existence. So they are truly hollow men, heads filled with nothing. (Their) language has devolved, along with intellectual capacity, into senseless noises,” Hickey said. “And of course we can see the start of this decay in the automatic pleasantries we exchange with one another all the time.”
What sticks with you is how we can see instances of this happening already in today’s society. Hickey points out how our needs are met automatically with self-parking vehicles and having food delivered to our homes.
But let's not think about that for now.
Our Dried Voices carries symbolism throughtout its pages. On the cover, for example, Hickey created a primitive symbol of how humans view the world. First, we see with our eyes, then we act with our hands.
Instead we'll leave it to the protagonist, Samuel, to show the strength and determination of human will.
“Like how the biblical Samuel received his calling in the middle of the night, the character Samuel hears his calling to save the colony,” Hickey said.
In his reading at City Lit books, Hickey depicts Samuel struggling through ice and snow to reach an unknown destination. Under the dark of night, and with hypothermia setting in his body, Samuel finally crawls on jagged rock to reach a door carved in the side of a mountain. His fingers trace the image of a hand with an eye in its center. Once inside the door, Samuel collapses from exhaustion.
Where and how it ends, you’ll have to see for yourself. To check out more of Our Dried Voices, click here.
Greg Hickey started writing Our Dried Voices in 2008. This is his first book; however, he wrote a screenplay, Vita, which received an Honorable Mention in the Los Angeles Movie Awards and was a semi-finalist in the Sacramento Film Festival. He is also a forensic scientist and lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.
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