The books shown on the left are by Roland Allnach. Click on the cover to order.

This interview was conducted by Douglas R. Cobb on
July 20, 2012.

It is my honor and pleasure today to be interviewing the Pushcart Prize-nominated Roland Allnach, the talented author of Remnant, a collection of three SF novellas and his latest volume of six horror novellas, the suspenseful and page-turning Oddities & Entities. I have reviewed both, and if you'd like to read my thoughts on them, please click on the links listed.

Douglas R. Cobb: Roland, here is the dreaded but pretty much obligatory first question: What novels/authors have influenced you the most?

Roland Allnach: Over the years I've been inspired by numerous sources, but a consistent source of influence has been nineteenth century literary classics (primarily Tolstoy, Flaubert, and Kate Chopin). This may sound a little odd, given the material in most of my stories, but I always look at character development as the pivotal point of a story's construction. In short, if the characters aren't emotionally invested in a story, there's no reason for the reader to be invested in the story, either. The way I see things, the novels that are considered classics today have one enduring factor: accessible characters, with traits and dilemmas that have appeal transcending their time. Growing up I was a big fan of science fiction and fantasy (William Gibson and Michael Moorcock foremost, respectively). But in my later years, when I started to look at writing as a serious pursuit, I was drawn more to the aforementioned classics. If I was to mention specific works, I would have to give a nod to Homer's Iliad for the grandeur and musicality of the language as presented in verse form, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and War and Peace for providing a series of lessons in building realistic, complex characters, and last but not least Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Chopin's The Awakening for two very different, but very similar, portrayals of tortured souls.

Douglas R. Cobb: Before I ask you questions about your latest collection of novellas, Oddities & Entities, I'll ask you a few about your fascinating and page-turning debut collection of SF tales, Remnant. It contains of the three novellas "All the Fallen Angels," "Enemy, I Know You Not," and the title story, "Remnant."

Each novella is great; I enjoyed reading them all. Why did you decide to name your collection after the third one, "Remnant"? It's a cool title, short, and easily remembered; but, are there any other reasons you decided on that title?

Roland Allnach: I wrote the novella 'Remnant' before I had any notion of the book that became Remnant. But in putting together that collection, once I decided on the stories that would comprise the anthology, and therefore the thematic arc I wanted to pursue and portray, it felt a natural decision to put 'Remnant' last and christen the book with the same name. The three stories in Remnant are 'out there', not just in terms of physical time and space, but in emotional time and space as well. I wanted to correlate those two different depictions with the settings of the stories, and how their protagonists fare in terms of the thematic arc of fallen individuals seeking to reclaim their moral center. As such, with each story the protagonist gets a little closer to achieving that balance, and at the same time the setting reflects where they are in that realm. In 'All the Fallen Angels' there is a terrible price to gain any sense of redemption, and so the story is very distant. In 'Enemy, I Know You Not' the resolution is nearer, but tainted with moral uncertainty, and so the setting is in fact disjointed from physical reality. In 'Remnant' there are vestiges of all aspects of thematic redemption, and so the setting, the characters, everything is stripped down to a very near time.

Douglas R. Cobb: I don't want to reveal any "spoilers," during this interview (unless you don't mind), but in the first novella in Remnant, "All the Fallen Angels," your main character, Captain Stohko Jansing's, fortunes take a very dramatic turn when he goes from being considered a peace-keeping hero to a killer. The planet Hermium and its inhabitants have exerted a spellbinding influence on him.

Who are the "fallen angels," that the title refers to?

Roland Allnach: The 'Fallen Angels' is a double reference. The surface reference is to the death squads enacted by Stohko Jansing to bring peace to the insurrection of Hermium. In this role, there is a play on the expression, and the idea was to allude to the loss of innocence for Stohko and his men as they stir from their lassitude and exact a terrible revenge for Stohko's loss. The hidden reference (spoiler alert!) is to the unfortunate children who were abducted from Hermium to feed the disastrous experiment of the Hermium euphoria, the effort to project emotions across a planet to control human behavior en masse. They too have had their innocence stolen from them, and so the title of the story, "All the Fallen Angels" primarily refers to Stohko's atonement in his involvement with those children, with the double reference to indicate the general loss of innocence throughout, and the driving need for redemption.

Douglas R. Cobb: One more question about "All the Fallen Angels," before I move on, Roland, if you don't mind. The reason that Stohko is asked to return to Hermium is that he's been ordered to take a cursed ship, the Chrysopoeia, there to dump it off. What makes the Chrysopoeia a "cursed," ship?

Roland Allnach: Unknown to the characters at the time of the Chrysopoeia's arrival is that it is in fact the transport for the project of the same name. Project Chrysopoeia was responsible for the madness of the Hermium euphoria, the spark of the Hermium insurrection that entwines so much of Stohko's life. After the failure of the Hermium insurrection embodied in Stohko's madness and war crimes, it was decided to take the project elsewhere, but to little success. With no other options the final choice was to abandon the project on the 'cursed' world of Hermium, and with it the man tied so closely to its existence, Stohko. The shadow of ill will surrounding the ship is the lingering effect of the project emitting the wounded emotions of the children who are its unwitting subjects, so that their aimless agony drives those around the ship to the limits of their sanity.

Douglas R. Cobb: "Enemy, I Know You Not," has a title that sort of reminded me of some old Star Trek episode title. I don't know if you were influenced at all by Star Trek, but it was one of my favorite series growing up. It raises several questions, like how can you fight against an enemy that has the power to infiltrate your own mind, and make you turn against your own people and kill them.

After a military campaign to suppress a rebellion on the planet Tropico a training exercise goes incredibly badly, and what was supposed to be a simulated battle results in actual deaths.

Why has Training Officer Sheffield got some new recruits, or "fresh meat" to train?

Roland Allnach: The surface explanation for the presence of the new recruits is to fill out the complement of a platoon headed by the main protagonist, Lieutenant Hovland. Several of his men were killed on Tropico before he himself was captured, and after his rescue and the end of the campaign he now has no choice but to assist in training a rushed batch of recruits. He's hesitant, if not resistant, due to the fact that he isn't sure he can trust himself after the neurological torture he endured. As the story progresses the presence of the new recruits is first seen as a raw deal that forced the platoon into a sabotaged, deadly simulation, but in the end the uncertainty of 'new' people and whether or not they can or should be trusted, serves as a convenient, if duplicitous, opportunity for the military to test the allegiance of the platoon by tampering with their minds.

Douglas R. Cobb: I liked the concept that the enemy can, by entering into one's mind through a virtual reality situation, turn a person into a traitor. What gave you the idea for this story? Do you think that virtual reality training situations might prove to have such built-in dangers in real training scenarios?

Roland Allnach: For all its psychological and technical aspects, the story actually deals with a rather simple question with a complex answer: how well do we really know ourselves? More specifically, as we are pushed into more extreme situations, what types of moral equivocation will we accept, and how will we deal with that in the lingering aftermath of those decisions? I find those difficult things to consider, perhaps difficult things to represent, so that provided the underlying interest in crafting the story to its final form. As far as virtual reality posing a danger to the sanctity of our inmost thoughts, I think to a certain degree we already see how readily our inclinations can be manipulated by outside forces alone. Such things as saturation advertisements in the media, social trends, and peer pressure are all outside forces that make their way into our heads and weigh the decisions we make. If those impressions and messages are fed straight into our head without any buffer of external distractions, I don't see how an insidious, subliminal threat could not exist.

Douglas R. Cobb: Okay, now I'll move on to a couple of questions about the third novella, "Remnant." A terrible plague its the Earth, and kills billions of people. The surviving remnant of humanity gather together in pockets here and there for basic protection and to better obtain necessities of life, like food, shelter, and clothing. Your character, Peter, finds out that there's some freedom that must be given up in order to be accepted into these communities, when he tries to start a new life for himself in Connecticut. Why did you chose Connecticut, and could you please tell our readers briefly why he and another survivor, Jim MacPherson, get involved with the character Emily Lewis?

Roland Allnach: I wanted 'Remnant' to be as close to our current reality as possible, close to the point where the setting of the story could be tomorrow, if such a plague erupted on humanity. As a result I decided early on that I would write about things near to my own life, and so invest them with considerations immediate to the world we currently share. I live on Long Island, New York, right across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut. In the old days of the Cold War and considerations of a nuclear strike on New York City, the only realistic way to get off Long Island was to hit the water for Connecticut. I figured the same would hold true for any other anarchic calamity that erupted in the area. In the area of Connecticut where Peter has taken refuge his self-inflicted isolation is interrupted by Jim while Jim is in the process of heading south to escape the impending New England winter. They get involved with Emily when she runs toward Peter's sanctuary as she is pursued by a crazed man who was supposed to protect her during her goal of finding survivors. In that respect, she was looking for Peter, but she's surprised by the moral structure Peter has constructed in his head, revealed early on when Peter kills the man pursuing Emily.

Douglas R. Cobb: I have one further question about "Remnant," before I move on to Oddities & Entities. I noticed that each of the three novellas deals with characters who have very important choices they need to make that drastically alter the courses of their lives. When you began writing Remnant, did you decide then to have each of the novellas be thematically linked; or, did you chose among the stories you'd written after the fact, and select these three then, seeing that they had a similar theme?

Roland Allnach: The three stories of 'Remnant' were written over a pretty wide range of time, with no initial intent to tie them together. When I first started to explore the world of small/indie publishing, the notion of taking some of my novellas and fitting them together started to gain momentum. Of the material I had in hand, the three stories that came to comprise 'Remnant' formed the best fit, and the more I looked at them, the more I saw how they could be fashioned to describe the thematic arc of the book, and so make them something more than their individual parts, so to speak. But the initial thread that brought them together in my head was indeed the fact that the characters all share the dreadful prospect of decisions with great impact. I like stories that put characters through the ringer, because it allows for the exploration of character, which is what really interests me in writing. After careful editing and revision to draw the stories into their proper respective focus, and a receptive publisher in All Things That Matter Press, the book was ready to go.

Douglas R. Cobb: Now, I'll ask you some questions about your latest collection of six novellas, Oddities & Entities. It's a cool title, but, as with Remnant, why did you chose it as the title?

Roland Allnach: I'm glad you think it's 'cool', and that's part of the reason why I chose the title. It also has a catchy rhyming ring to it (at least to my ear) that as well gives a potential reader a pretty good idea about what to expect between the covers. Given the common wisdom that a potential reader makes a decision to pursue a book or not in roughly three seconds, I figured the title serves well to stoke some curiosity.

Douglas R. Cobb: What themes/ideas, if any, would you say link the six novellas together? Possibly that each listens to the tiny voices in his/her head? And, that the concept of reality and illusion melds together with time?

Roland Allnach: The basic concept was to delve the ideas I summed up on the back cover of the book, a 'mysterious space between the everyday world and an existence just beyond reach,' and to 'explore a definition of life beyond the fragile vessel of the human body'. Each story takes a different look at people confronted by things outside of our everyday reality, which then alter the perception of presence and morality. As the stories progress, they take on a more philosophical tone, perhaps even a more transcendent tone, as the conflicts and dilemmas gain various levels of complexity. The inner thoughts of the protagonists are certainly crucial to the development of each story, as they all deal with people who are somewhat isolated from the start. Their break with the 'mainstream' not only opens a door for the strange things that occur, but allows them the opportunity to redefine their reality in the narrow scope of their isolated lives - they don't need to change the whole world, just their little corner.. Reality and illusion are separated by a subjective decision, and while there may be a common reality we share, it is by no means an absolute reality - as the characters not only discover but come to accept.

Douglas R. Cobb: With the story that opens the collection, "Boneview," in what ways would you say that Allison's gift is a blessing, and in which ways is it more of a curse?

Roland Allnach: Allison's story kicks off the book because it sets the stage for so many of the things the following stories explore. Her life is set apart from the rest of us at birth, when she's already aware of the creature shadowing her, the Curmudgeon. Frightening as it might be to a 'normal' person, to Allison it's just another part of existence, and so she is imprinted from her youth with a very different perception of life and its boundaries. This plays into her 'gift' of her boneview, her ability to see through people and read the future etched in their bones. She knows her perception is an unusual thing, and it reinforces her isolation, as her few attempts to warn people don't go well for her, and do little to change the outcome of her foresight. And though she doesn't subscribe to the futility of fate, she nevertheless comes to the conclusion that things develop a certain way, following some dictate beyond her understanding. Her dismissive attitude fosters a growing apathy, a quiet disregard for the world in orbit around her, until her understanding of her place in that world is changed. She comes to understand it's one thing to be a loner with a supernatural mascot, but that it's quite another to try to be a wife and mother with the Curmudgeon's intent to possess her baby and her life threatened by an apparent madman.

Douglas R. Cobb: Were you influenced by Grimms Fairy tales like Rumplestiltskin when you came up with the character of the Curmudgeon? Would you say that the Curmudgeon, with time, likes Allison; or, is it just using her for its own purposes?

Roland Allnach: I didn't craft the Curmudgeon with any specific reference in mind. It came to me, and the story of "Boneview" as well, as part of a singular image, which is the opening scene of the story. I was interested in the contrasts it represents in the combination of a helpless, innocent newborn and the cadaver-like menace of a supernatural creature, accentuated by the notion that the newborn wasn't at all afraid of this strange creature. To make the story work I wanted the Curmudgeon to have its own agenda, its own mysterious personality. It is drawn to Allison by her boneview, in turn, she serves as the Curmudgeon's conduit to the physical world we know. Yet Allison comes to learn that the existence from which the Curmudgeon originates moves by a different moral dictate than the one we share in this world. As such for all that the Curmudgeon cares for Allison, at the same time it looks to use her. In our view that's a negative, in the Curmudgeon's view that's just the way things work. There's a moral conflict there that will resurface in each story of the book - other planes of existence follow their own rules, and it's because of that fact that things go awry when those other planes pass through our plane.

Douglas R. Cobb: "Shift/Change," is one of the gritty, noir sorts of tales in the collection that reminded me of a Twilight Zone Episode. Were you influenced as you wrote the story by the twenty years you worked on the night shift at a hospital? If so, in what ways?

Roland Allnach: Well, I've certainly seen my share of strange and gory things, and I can't count how many times I've walked down a lonely service corridor past the hospital morgue. It's a very different view of what most people perceive as the end of a person's life, the gentle, warm atmosphere of a wake. I've always had strange things running around in my head from as far back as I can remember (which might be admitting too much about myself), most of which I used to dismiss as just my imagination running off on its own by whatever reason that it works. But after some time working at night in a hospital, and seeing what kinds of things roll through the hospital doors, I realized the things I was imagining weren't all that 'unreal' after all. Besides, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that reality is far scarier than any story or movie.

Douglas R. Cobb: Could you tell our readers a little about what kind of person Eldin is in "Shift/Change"? Have you ever known anyone like him?

Roland Allnach: Eldin is a composite of many things and people that reside in our society. To me, in the context of the story, he was meant to represent not only the rot of apathy that runs through some of society but the perversion of apathy to outright contempt for any moral dictate. It's one thing not to care, it's another to decide that by not caring, one is somehow set free from all moral bounds. In the short term an individual might even consider that as a form of personal empowerment through liberation from sympathetic restraints, but in the end, the disconnect of apathy, and the jaded existence it creates, opens a looming pit of insanity. Eldin stands right on the edge of that pit, if not in fact in free fall into its depths. He has no care for what goes on around him, even when he decides to profit off the rot and decay and foster its growth. I can't say I know an 'Eldin' type in my personal life, but I know they're out there. All you have to do is flip on the news for a few minutes, and you'll see them right in front of you.

Douglas R. Cobb: The third tale in Oddities & Entities, "My Other Me," made me think as I was reading it of infamous serial killers in recent history such as Ted Bundy, but it also brought to mind Edgar Allan Poe's short stories involving doppelgangers. Also, I know that college life can be lonely to many students, though to others, it's one big party.

Noel, the lonely student/nut job in the novella comes to think of his alter ego as "Mo". Why is that?

Roland Allnach: Noel is a math student with artistic talents, the son of a crazed artist who killed himself and an abusive psychiatric nurse who should be committed in her own right. Despite his troubled background, Noel is quite intelligent, yet torn between the defined aspect of reality through a mathematician's eyes and the more philosophical, abstract perception of reality through an artist's eyes. From the get-go he's well aware of the darker inclinations that torment him, and in the middle ground between his conflicting perceptions he has labeled the voice of those inclinations 'my other me', which in his mathematical sensitivity he first truncates to the acronym 'Mom'. Given his childhood and the abusive relationship with his mother, even for Noel it's hard to use 'Mom', so he truncates it further to the brutish name of 'Mo'.

Douglas R. Cobb: Who is Greg in "My Other Me," and what is his warning to Mo?

Roland Allnach: Greg is a self-proclaimed psychic that blunders into Noel's path after Mo displaces Noel from Noel's body. To their mutual surprise Greg is not a huckster, but can in fact perceive Mo's presence in Noel's body. Greg confesses his own tortuous past, and the vital lesson he learned while attempting suicide, that life in a physical human body is not what entities like Mo perceive it to be. Greg warns Mo that unlike a disembodied spirit the physical body can bleed and die.

Douglas R. Cobb: Noel thinks of himself as level-headed, and he has an interest in logic and math. Yet, he is gradually forced from his body by his alter ego, Mo. Would you say that Mo is his alter ego, or is Noel really Mo's? I found it interesting how you make readers of the story, like Noel, wonder about what the meaning of reality is, and how you compare/contrast ideas of what is real and what is illusion.

Roland Allnach: The nature of the duality of Noel/Mo was something I didn't want to dissect in the story, for the reason that I wanted there to be a slow and subtle understanding of the very strange experience Noel endures in his displacement from his body and the savage manner in which he finds himself in possession of another body. Noel might be self-destructive and delusional, but he is at his core docile and reflective. Mo, on the other hand, for all that he claims to know, is a vile deceiver, the embodiment and outward expression of all Noel's lesser traits. Nevertheless, they are linked, like different sides of a coin. What interested me in writing this story was the philosophical transformation of Noel, in terms of the very things that Mo does to subjugate Noel in fact set the stage for Noel's freedom from Mo's tyranny. Yet, in the end, for all that Noel changes and grows, some of those old aspects linger within him, and it's not until he feels a little glimmer of his old obsessions that he at last feels whole again.

Douglas R. Cobb: I'll move on now to ask you a couple of questions about the fourth novella, "Gray." I didn't mention it much in the review I did of oddities & Entities, but it's a great story. A frustrated man is stunned to discover he has had a little creature living in his head. But, to the gray, the relationship is very natural, a symbiotic one.

What does Dave buy from Kim that drives the gray out of his head, and why does Gray say he can't go back into Dave's head?

Roland Allnach: Oddly enough, given the nature of Gray's residence in Dave's head, it's the illegal radar jammer that Dave buys to avoid speeding tickets from his type-A road racing. The device comes with a warning in the manual instructing people not to use it indoors, but Dave takes it as another lawsuit-driven warning until his cousin's girlfriend, Pixie, dares him to break the rule. Driven by his growing obsession with her, he takes the plunge, breaks the rule, and voila, finds out it wasn't a frivolous warning after all. Once Gray is out of Dave's brain, Dave learns that it's a one way trip. Gray, and his kind, form symbiotic relationships with their human hosts. In exchange for a warm, moist place to live, grays give humans a semblance of control. Once a human loses a gray, though, the mind adjusts to the gray's absence, and can't bear the return of the gray without disastrous consequences.

Douglas R. Cobb: Who is Peter in the story, and what does he want Dave to help him do?

Roland Allnach: Peter is Dave's cousin, a former brilliant engineer, womanizer, and surfer until a horrible surfing accident causes a traumatic brain injury. Little known to Peter, the injury killed his gray, and with the loss of the gray, Peter has lost all the high-ordered engineering functions of his brain, leaving him a dejected beach bum. Once he discovers Gray, though, his subconscious understands what he has lost in his life, and he lashes out at Dave. He demands that Dave find a way to get Gray not into Dave's head but into his own, so that he can have his old life back, and refuses to listen to any warning. This sets the stage for a horrifying climax that collapses on Dave, Pixie, Peter, and Gray.

Douglas R. Cobb: I won't say what happens next except that it involves a saw, a gun, duct tape, and it's very twisted and bloody. It's a great horror story, and a bit "Natural Born Killers"-like in its intensity!

Now, "Elmer Phelps," has such an innocent title--kind of like Forest Gump, except the Gumpster wasn't bitten by a bat in his youth, as Elmer and his sister were, which links them in a strange sort of reality, one of perversion, cannibalism, and mass murder.

Who are Samantha and Casey in the novella? Why does Casey sacrifice herself (in a matter of speaking)?

Roland Allnach: Samantha is a waitress in the town where Elmer has settled, and soon becomes his girlfriend. Casey, on the other hand, is Elmer's older sister. Although Elmer and Casey share an unnatural intimacy, Elmer believes he can keep his lives with Casey and Samantha separate, so that he can be both a normal person with Samantha and something quite different with Casey. Despite the friction caused by this growing schism, Elmer tries with every fiber of his being to cling to normalcy - embodied by his life with Samantha - and turn away from the corrupt, decadent life he shares with Casey. It's an impossible situation and, when things erupt with terrible violence, Elmer learns that Casey does in fact have genuinely good intentions for his life. She takes the sins of their lives upon her, and by so doing, hopes to set him free. It's a very strange take on the old notion that sometimes the only way to love someone is to let them go, sort of a distorted reflection of the very thing Elmer believes he must do with Samantha to insulate her from the madness of his life.

Douglas R. Cobb: What is the "agency," that Elmer and Samantha owe money to, and what is their plan to escape it?

Roland Allnach: The agency is a secretive organization reputed to work as a 'black' agency within the government. The bat bite that both Elmer and Casey endured in their youth had in fact infected them with a very rare disease that provides some mind blowing benefits with some despicable costs. People of similar disposition have formed the agency to not only protect themselves but to exercise their power and influence, and that takes the most apparent form of controlling large pools of wealth. Casey tries to convince Elmer to join her in the agency, but once he realizes what price he has to pay for the benefits she has already accepted, he not only rejects the offer but Casey as well. Joining the agency means sealing off his normal life with Samantha and diving headlong into a twisted life he shares with Casey, something he finds himself unwilling to do. He finds his out in the reason Casey has returned to his town, to reclaim a fat bag of cash that was stolen from the agency. His plan is to take the cash and run off with Samantha to South America, far out of the agency's reach.

Douglas R. Cobb: The sixth and last novella is "Appendage," yet another very twisted short story.

What is the supposedly "simple job," that Randal has been given to do? What causes it to go terribly wrong, and make it not at all so simple?

Roland Allnach: On the surface, the simple job is to do a little security stint, a trivial task for a mercenary of Randal's caliber. The job came to him courtesy of his son, Jonah, and for the most part requires Randal to transport a crate of various extracts from one lab to another in the highlands of Mexico. There is one instruction: don't break the box. But as Randal begins to learn what kind of experiments Jonah is conducting in the labs under his charge, and the possible uses of the extracts, Randal finds the long lost sense of his moral compass awakening. When a rival pharmaceutical company attempts to raid the labs and take the extract, Randal makes the irreversible decision to take the extract and hide it, judging that nobody is responsible enough to manage the power it holds. His plan, though, goes wrong at the last moment, and the one rule is broken - the box breaks, he is exposed to the extract, and he is transformed to something beyond his imagination.

Douglas R. Cobb: Why does Randal's son, Jonah, hire him to guard a laboratory in the jungle?

Although Jonah's offering starts on the pretext of Randal's reputation in the world of contract 'security', as the story progresses and the tangled nature of their relationship comes to light Randal learns Jonah has more selfish inclinations. Without giving too much of the story away, there is a certain something that Randal and Jonah have in common, and Jonah's intentions toward his father are to lure him into serving as a lab rat for Jonah's benefit. It's a strange turn of events for Randal, who has always viewed himself in the less than flattering light of his past actions, to discover that his son is operating on a level of deception perhaps lower than anything to which he would have sunk. On the other hand, Randal finds himself capable of guessing many of Jonah's intentions - he is his father's son, and all which that entails.

Douglas R. Cobb: The title, "Appendage," might likely give your readers a clue about what happens to Randal--would you like to say anything more about it or any of the other stories in Oddities & Entities?

Roland Allnach: I wrote "Appendage" with the express intent that it would wrap up the book and, as such, I wanted the story to serve as a means to bring together many of the ideas explored in the preceding stories. So, in that context, it's a bit of a nod to my effort to create individual stories that were yet related in theme, appendages of each other. For the more specific intent of the story itself, the title was meant to refer to the way in which Randal comes to perceive the disparate and yet culminating aspects of his life, and how they combined to evolve the awareness he embraces at the final stages of his life. It is perhaps a more philosophical story than the other tales in the book, maybe even a more evolved philosophical take on things, and all that was part of my plan to close the book. Whereas in the other stories the eruptions that occur when the various characters are confronted with things blundering through their lives leads them to find various ways to bend and flow with those events, in "Appendage" Randal's course is more one of standing right in the face of things, and becoming one with the change.

Douglas R. Cobb: Are you currently working on another collection of novellas, or perhaps a novel? If so, how far along are you, and do you have a tentative title yet?

Roland Allnach: I'm putting together plans for my next book, which I've tentatively titled 'The Lazarus Locus'. It's more sci-fi in nature, dealing with a discovery that leads to a notion of active evolution for humanity, and then proceeding with jumps forward in time to depict how each change effects the course of human development. Along the way there's talk of parasites, genetics, space exploration and conflict, and some odd but hopefully interesting characters. It's about one third done, and I'm hoping to have it finished by the new year. Unfortunately I have more ideas than time to write - which I guess is a good thing, as opposed to the contrary condition - and I've been taking breaks to get back to crafting some unrelated short fiction as well. So, I'd like to say all sorts of good stuff in the works, and with any luck making its way out to the world. I'll exercise a shameless plug here by quickly saying that a visit to my website ( will have upcoming information for anything regarding my writing.

Douglas R. Cobb: Thanks, Roland, for agreeing to do this interview with me! Great answers! I had fun, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the coming years! If there's anyone who has not read Roland Allnach's books Remnant and Oddities & Entities yet, you should definitely add them to your Must Read lists if you are a fan of the SF/Horror genres.

Read Our Review of Remnant by Roland Allnach

Read Our Review of Oddities & Entities by Roland Allnach

Visit Roland Allnach's Website