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Tony Peak

Meridian, fiction, Issue 15, June 1, 2011

Tony Peak lives in rural southwest Virginia with a wonderful view of New River. His work has appeared in numerous speculative publications and anthologies. When not putting madness to words, he hikes mountain trails, researches Late Bronze Age underwear, or searches for spooks behind reality’s grassy knoll. Tony often relaxes with a mug of black tea and a smiling gargoyle that gets naughty with other statues in the house. Check out his website before it’s outlawed by the Cabal:

Get to know Tony...

Birthdate? February 16th, 1978

When did you start writing? I started writing seriously in 2008.

When and what and where did you first get published? My first published work was ‘Azazel’s Journal’ in Necrotic Tissue, April 2010.

What themes do you like to write about? I like gritty, visceral, existentialist themes:  alienation, despair, angst, and finding meaning in a meaningless reality. Under such pressures, it’s easier for me to care about characters, as it showcases their humanity in struggles of adversity.

What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? I was blown away by Philip K. Dick’s Ubik, and Frank Herbert’s Dune series. I love Robert E. Howard’s storytelling style. George Orwell’s 1984, though the most depressing novel I’ve ever read, is also a favorite.

Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I like stories that border on the edge of surreal paranoia (Ubik), or ones that feature ideas of such scale they still haven’t been topped (Dune’s universal empire and long-lived beings). Howard’s material has the dirt of reality smudged all over it at times, and Orwell saw into the darkest depths of human society. I enjoy seeing a protagonist climb up from the abyss within themselves and their surroundings to become more benign, stronger, and wiser. True, Winston Smith in 1984 ultimately fails to achieve this, but he made the attempt against insurmountable forces:  a martyr for basic freedoms.

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