Clive on Chiliad

'In my mind, the river flows both ways. Out toward the sea, toward futurity; to death, of course; to revelation, perhaps; perhaps to both. And back the way it came, at least in those places where the currents are most perverse; where vortexes appear, and the waters are like foamy skirts on the hips of the rocks.'

"I don't find myself terribly interesting and that's one of the reasons why I write in the mode of trying to escape from the coral that is me. The removal of the limitation that is the self into the place that is the image are things that are boundless, this is the mystical heartbeat of what I do. It's always been that. Over and over, characters in my fiction seek after an experience in which they are released from themselves in some way or another - released from the idea of self or an experience which is limited and the consequences are quite terrible, very often than not. The forgetting of self and remembering...
"The rememberings are in a sense about the self but more importantly about being taken out into the landscape of the imaginative world. For me, who I am, I am only a vehicle for that journey. What's being seen on that journey is more important than who I am. I'm not being self-effacing about that, it's just that I don't find the view, when I look at myself, very interesting. It's very familiar to me until I start to look at the places where I think that some of the things that have happened to me might be useful to other people in the way that I tell the story. Talking about being gay in Sacrament through the character - talking about depression in Chiliad and talking about middle-age in Chiliad as well. Talking about getting to the place where the certainties that take you through your thirties and drive you on. You think if only I had this or if I only do that, everything would be all right and then discovering that I've already got all these things and it still shows. I wanted to express these things truthfully about myself because I only become interesting to myself when I disappoint myself. If everything is just chugging along just fine, why write about it? There is nothing remotely interesting about that. What is interesting is to be troubled and screwed up and to be dealing with being troubled and screwed up."

Confessions - An Artistic Escape

By Stephen Dressler, transcript of a interview by Douglas E. Winter at DragonCon, Atlanta, 29 June 1997, Lost Souls, Issue 8, July 1997

"My two novellas in Revelations are about healing the apocalyptic feeling and getting beyond those feelings... the idea that life will go on, and we have to think about future generations. Even if I, as a gay man, will not produce the future generations, those generations contain my readers. I want them to continue to love the word and to continue to love stories."

Written In Blood

By Robert DiGiacomo, Philadelphia Gay News, Vol 21 No 38, 11 - 17 July 1997

"The closest miss - the only thing that I think should have been in [The Essential Clive Barker], truly - it was simply too big to go in in its entirety, and I just didn't feel it should be cut - was the wraparound stories for Revelations... Chiliad: those two stories I would have liked in their entirety in The Essential, but they constituted, I don't know, 50 pages? And there just wasn't room."

Leitmotifs And Dark Beliefs

By Phil & Sarah Stokes, London, 24 September 1999 (note: full text here)

"I look back and I think that what I was doing in the 'Books of Blood' was an awful lot more grim and crude, and in a way it was appropriate that it was that way. If you do a story called 'The Midnight Meat Train' your not going to spend too much time dealing with the poetry of that. You want something that is very aggressive. But I do feel where 'Chiliad' is concerned, where I was really wanting to evoke a poetic life for the piece. And certainly in 'Galilee' where I was talking; you know I called the book a romance, and for me a romance requires poetry. So in both cases I was trying for a different quality to the language."


By Craig Fohr and Kelly Shaw, Lost Souls, March 2001 (note - interview took place 14 December 2000)

"I wrote Chiliad as a confessional, following a long period of depression. It is quite short but it is extremely dense, as I describe my mind journeys back and forth through time, encountering along the course of a river which is the book's spine, other shadowed men like myself, each seeking their own moment of redemption and release. In many ways it's the most intimate thing I've ever written.
"Chiliad is not a new piece of fiction. I wrote it in two parts as the 'bookends' to a collection of short fiction about the Millenium. But it makes a whole new kind of sense published as a novella, as it will be here for the first time. Unfortunately very few people had a chance to read it when it first came out. So this is in many ways Chiliad's second life. I hope it is noticed this time round because it was an immense challenge to write, and is easily one of the darkest pieces of fiction I've ever written."

Facebook Updates

By Clive Barker, 9 July 2013

...other comments

Douglas Winter : "When the final decade [of Millennium / Revelations] was completed, Clive Barker took on the daunting task of creating a short novel that would 'wrap around' the century and yet remain defiantly a fiction to be read on its own (and, in his hands, majestic) terms."

The End: An Afterword

By Douglas E. Winter, Millenium / Revelations, 1997

"[Winter] has spent seven years assembling this book, looking for genuinely original writing that rises above genre cliches, and he has largely achieved his objective. Clive Barker, in top form, offers two works: the introductory 'Chiliad: A Meditation - Men and Sin', about the thousand years of guilt leading up to this century; and the anthology's wrap-up short novel, 'Chiliad: A Moment at the River's Heart', a parable about guilt that rises magnificently above genre."

Kirkus Reviews

By [ ], 15th April, 1997

Douglas Winter : "My ambition for the book was to offer a different way of presenting short fiction. For years, I've heard talk among writers about the idea of the ultimate collaboration: a novel written by a group of the best talents in "dark" fiction. I wanted to create an 'anthology/novel' - a way of allowing writers to work with a lot of creative freedom while providing readers with the narrative structure of a novel. The idea was easy, but the execution took a lot of time. I'm also vitally interested in the idea of apocalypse - and by that, I'm talking about the original meaning of the word: as revelation.
"The book took more coordination than a 'shared world' anthology because it was not a situation where I could provide the writers with a set of rules to work from... I spent a lot of time discussing - and, later, editing - the stories with the writers, trying to find the balance between the creative freedom I like to have as a writer and the kind of genre-transcending fiction that would fulfill my ambition for the book. Indeed, the one thing I did not want was to create a 'shared world'... other than the very one in which we live.
"I should say that,after editing these two books [Prime Evil and Revelations] with some level of critical and commercial success, I've become concerned about the state of the short story. . . not from a creative standpoint but from a commercial one. Both books were uphill battles with the chains, who have the misguided belief that 'anthologies don't sell'... Both books are proof to the contrary, but if given a better chance by the chains, they could have achieved even higher levels of sales - and that, in turn, would have helped the many other good, strong anthologies that have been published over the past decade."

Douglas E. Winter : On Revelations

By Ed Bryant, OnLine Chat For, 1 May 1997

Chiliad bibliography...

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