Today I am interviewing Aric McBay, author of the new speculative fiction novel, Kraken Calling!
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DJ: Hi Aric! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Aric McBay: I’m an author, an organizer, and an organic farmer.
I live and work on an organic farm on one of the Thousand Islands (Ontario) on the traditional territory Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory. it’s very beautiful and lush this time of year, and we have a lot of wildlife, including endangered species that we set aside habitat for.
Being a farmer – and seeing the huge impact the climate emergency is already having on our farm and farms around the world – definitely helped motivate me to write this book.
As a community organizer and farm organizer, I work on a lot of different issues from prisoner justice to Indigenous solidarity to anti-pipeline campaigns to unionization, to name a few.
As an author, most of my previous work has been non-fiction about social movements and social movement strategy. My book Full Spectrum Resistance (2019, Seven Stories Press) is a two-volume exploration of how to build more effective movements. And your readers might also be interested in my 2020 book Direct Action Works: A legal handbook for civil disobedience and non-violent direct action in Canada, which they can get for free online.
Kraken Calling is my sixth book, but it’s my first novel. The shift to fiction has been exciting and fulfilling for me. This may seem counterintuitive, but I believe that fiction can allow us to connect to fundamental truths even more deeply than non-fiction.
DJ: What is Kraken Calling about?
Aric: Kraken Calling about social movements, the climate future, and people trying to make a difference in the world, even when doing so is extremely difficult.
The chapters of Kraken Calling alternate between 2028 and 2051.
In 2028, activists fight an increasingly desperate battle against the climate emergency and capitalism, but their every victory brings down repression. Meanwhile, discontented by protests and polemics, a radical movement named Kraken grows in the shadows.
Twenty years later, an oppressive regime has taken control after a series of epidemics, economic shortages, and ecological disasters. The population suffers ruthless “triage” at the hands of an Emergency Authority that cares only for its own inner circle. Revolutionaries struggle for survival and support. In the city and on a remote farm, regular people try to stay out of the conflict. But no one can avoid the coming storm.
Popular social movements and underground liberation groups clash, and people struggle against the limitations of their time. In 2028, the underground seems premature—but by 2051, they may be too late.