Following the publication of our cornerstone collection, the Clinical, Brutal anthology, the book’s editor conducted interviews with a number of the contributors. These appeared on our old website, and will be republished here in the coming weeks and months, featuring…
A. D. Hitchin
D. M. Mitchell
S. F. Grimm
Karl van Cleave
Watch this space… and meanwhile, below is an interview Christopher conducted with himself about the book.
Keeping it Brutal: Christopher Nosnibor talks to himself
CN: How would you say you’ve approached the editing of the Clinical, Brutal… collection?
CN: Single-mindedly. In the main, I have more ideas than I can ever actually do anything with. The ‘Clinicality’ idea came about over a decade ago, but has only now come to fruition. When I decided to do it, I decided it needed to be done properly. As such, it required a lot of focus. So I’ve been very focussed, as my wife will attest. I’m quite obsessive by nature anyway, and with this I’ve been ultra-obsessive. Nay, a cunt at times. But I think it’s paid off. despite only containing a couple of short pieces of my own, it’s probably the best thing I’ve done to date, certainly the most incredible literary project I’ve undertaken.
CN: How would you define Clinical Brutality?
CN: Clinical, brutal, cutting edge.
CN: As simple as that?
CN: Yes. And no. It’s all of this and more. Violent. Direct. Powerful. No pissing about.
CN: Sounds incredibly serious as an aesthetic.
CN: That depends on the reader’s politic, and sense of humour. As a ‘style,’ the Clinical Brutality umbrella is relatively broad, and the way the different authors in the anthology represent different aspects and approaches is fundamental. It’s not as prescriptive as all that, so while there’s definitely a keen focus on the stark, the brightly-lit, the graphic, factual detailing, it’s not all so deadly serious. There are a fair few pieces that are extremely humorous, albeit a dark, dark, humour. There’s a strong element of pastiche and piss-takery going on, but much of it’s done with a straight face. Will people get that? I hope so, although it would be equally amusing to me – and I suspect many of the other authors – if people do completely miss the point. That’s what makes great art, after all: leave people guessing, give them something to discuss.
CN: What would you consider to be the primary objective of this book? Is it to provoke discussion?
CN: To an extent, I suppose it is. Not simply because it’s ‘shocking,’ although there is certainly an element of shock value, but as I write in the introduction, shock for its own sake has a limited currency and is short-lived. This is about using powerful words to create powerful images that make certain salient points about society and about humanity and the human condition. If it is to provoke discussion – which I genuinely hope it does – I sincerely hope it’s for the right reasons, namely the incredible quality of the work contained between the covers, the astounding talents of the individual authors, and issues surrounding the human condition.
CN: Regarding the introduction, and returning to the issue of humour, how ‘straight’ is the account you give of Clinical Brutality?
CN: Uncommonly frank for me. It was important that the introduction was quite open, direct, truthful. There’ something fittingly clinical about trying to be as factual as possible in writing… perhaps the next step for Clinical Brutality will be straight reproductions of medial reports. I’ve read a lot of medical reports and doctor’s notes, and they’re often truly hilarious, albeit unintentionally. Obviously, the ‘history’ given in the intro is an abridged version, and there’s a lot I’ve left out. There was a lot more I wanted to say. But I wanted to keep the book short and punchy, and to get to the meat as quickly as possible. So for reasons of space and impact, I trimmed the fat off the introduction. But yes, it’s all essentially true and as it happened.
CN: Is there any one thing you would like to say regarding Clinical Brutality, or the book itself for those who are unconvinced of the significance of Clinical brutality as a style?
CN: Yes. I’d say in the first instance that it isn’t a style per se, but an aesthetic shared from different perspectives by a disparate bunch of writers, all of whom I think are mind-blowingly good. And I would add to that, just buy the book, damnit!