Professor releases ‘Tomorrowland’ today
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 01:10
Today Miami University Professor of English Joseph Bates will be reading selections from his recently released work “Tomorrowland,” a collection of short stories.
With an original release date of Sept. 10, Bates is looking forward to sharing his Miami release with a nice crowd of friends when he will read
“They’re stories that borrow from B-movie science fiction,” Bates said. “I’m interested in that sort of popular culture unrealism, that future retro realism you find in fifties B-movies.”
One conceit Bates uses in one of the stories is time travel when a man is visited by a future version of himself who tells the protagonist to go back in time to correct mistakes he has made, as this will put him in a better place than he is.
“It’s more about regrets and the paths that haven’t been taken,” Bates said. “The man has to come to peace with the fact that every wrong decision he’s made is just as important as the right ones.”
Bates has to find a balance in his stories, using fantastical elements without preventing the reader from being able to relate to the bigger meanings.
“They borrow from science fiction and other genres but hopefully to get back to something more everyday,” Bates said. “I like to read stories with a similar approach; a breaking from the strictures of realism in a number of ways but doing so to get to everyday human subjects.”
Bates described his stories as fiction, but enjoys that fans of all genres are enjoying it, especially after “Tomorrowland” being one of Amazon’s daily deals on Sunday for science fiction and fantasy books.
“I consider it to be literary fiction even though I don’t have a good definition of what that really is,” Bates said. “Different types of readers have found their way in. I’m heartened that readers from a number of different genres have found something of themselves in this book.”
According to Bates, the title, “Tomorrowland,” shares its name with the story he considers the outlier of the collection, opting for less humor and absurdity than its companions but holding the work together thematically. Centered on an older gentleman about to retire from his job as a construction worker, he realizes he can’t when his wife suddenly takes ill. Dealing with an inability to let go of the past while being uncertain of the future, his emotions are tied together when his job requires him to demolish a 1950’s theme park.
Before he can sit back in revel in the release of “Tomorrowland” Bates has a novel he’s finishing up for release as well.
“The book is about Franz Kafka being drafted as the pitcher of a terrible semi-amateur New York baseball team,” Bates said. “No one will explain to him why it’s happened because obviously he’s a writer, not a pitcher. It needs about one more pass through and then it will be ready. Then maybe I can sit on the couch and watch TV for a while.”
Bates will be reading selections from “Tomorrowland” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Leonard Theater in Peabody Hall on Western campus.