When I was 12 years old, I saw "The Road Warrior." It was as old as me at that point, we were both born in 1981. By now it had been adapted for network television and was airing on some affiliate one Saturday afternoon.
Now, I wasn't allowed, per se, to watch this film. In fact, my mother had very strict rules on what I could and could not watch based on sexuality and violence. In order to keep my first viewing of "Road Warrior" a secret, I had to minimize the volume and keep an eye on the open door of my room. It was tricky, for sure, but I managed to see most of the movie. This engendered a few things in me a person, at such an impressionable age. First, I acquired my love for silent cinema, an affection I never lost. Second, I discovered a love for post-apocalyptic storytelling and visuals. That love only grew as I became older, and when I began to create the world of "The Bruja" I had my opportunity to throw my hat in the ring.
The biggest thing I wanted to focus on for "The Bruja's" world was the idea that this was not a static universe. There was no stagnation here, the world hadn't simply crumbled apart and stayed a ruin. People didn't want it to remain that way, they needed to survive, they wanted to make a more comfortable life to exist in. Part of that evolving climate was the idea that city-states would emerge in the United States from existing cities, towns, and states. When foreigners look at America they see us as one people, with one culture. This couldn't be further from the truth -- New York is not California, and that's absolutely not the population of rural Illinois. If civilization collapsed our world would only diversify further. That's what I tried to capture in "The Bruja," and what I wanted to continue developing in future Collapse universe books.
While "The Road Warrior" was my gateway drug, it was hardly my most intense influence. I was much further moved in later David Brin's novel "The Postman," was absolutely an inspiration, and to a lesser degree, the film adaptation. Another book that moved me was Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." Although I didn't love the book, I was so thrilled by the idea of an unnamed cataclysm. This erased so much of the junk narrative and forced a reader to be pulled into the tension of the moment. It was, however, Stephen King's goddamn masterwork, "The Gunslinger," that most set my imagination ablaze. This, for my mind, was the coup de tat, a persuasive tale of impossible entropy. Cultures evolved and warped, just as complete as people, all packed into a world that you didn't entirely understand and fill your stomach with a dreadful fear. I may as well have been following the Pied Piper of Hamelin after reading that book, and the subsequent "Dark Tower" novels.
This is only naming a few books, of course. There are others, and if I had to name the writers I most idolize, I would choose both Stephen King & Tanith Lee. I'll be discussing these two authors in future blog postings, most especially Tanith Lee, because I feel like she's fallen into obscurity -- very ill-deserved obscurity.