Who or what was the inspiration for your story in Metastasis?
When I wrote “The Cure” I was playing the game that all authors play – what if – asking, “If cancer had a story, what would it be?” In many ways, my story is two stories: the story of a man who has a disease, and how that affects him and his relationships, and the story of the disease – if the disease were actually a sentient lifeform with its own agenda. Each of those stories has its own emotional resonance. The danger, of course, is in possibly appearing too glib about the very real suffering that cancer causes. Sympathy for the devil, after all, is easy enough, until you realize what the devil’s really after. I tried to counter this by making my human characters as real as possible.
I’ve been very blessed that cancer has not directly affected my life in the way that it has many of the contributors to Metastasis. That being said, cancer affects everyone. It’s part of our culture, in that it’s the ur-horror story. Not everyone believes in the boogeyman, but everyone believes in cancer – the body as betrayer. We all walk around with it in our head everyday. We hear about it on the news, or a friend of a friend has it. We look at the unexplained bruise or sore and think, “Is it cancer?” We all live with a greater or lesser portion of this fear in our lives, and I certainly look forward to the day when it will be something we don’t have to worry about.
Technology gives me hope in the fight against cancer. I tend to vacillate wildly in my belief in the power of science to improve our lives. I’ll say, however, that right now, the research that’s being done finds new treatments everyday, and screening methods catch cancer at earlier and more treatable stages. We’re also learning to address the environmental and genetic causes of cancer. We may never entirely eliminate cancer from the human experience, but we are learning to fight better, and smarter, and that is certainly a reason to hope.
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