INTERVIEW: David Nickle's Rasputin's Bastards
**LISTEN to my interview with author David Nickle. He talks about control, self-deception and what attracted him to the Soviet era as a writer. You can download the podcast of the interview, labelled "INTERVIEW - Jul 8 - David Nickle."**
Have you ever wondered how much control you actually have over your own life? Or have you been deceiving yourself, living a comfortable lie?
David Nickle explores that in his new sci-fi novel, Rasputin’s Bastards.
The book is about a group of “dream-walkers” who enter the minds of their enemies, or even any random person, to turn them into human puppets.
In the past, the dream-walkers have been commanded by the Soviets. But now there’s a group of them, Rasputin’s bastards, trying to take back control, and as Nickle puts it, “remake the world.”
When the characters whose minds have been controlled realize how they have been used, and how they themselves have contributed to that, one of them says, “There is nothing that is a greater comfort than living in a convincing lie about oneself… particularly… when the truth entails so much wickedness.”
In our interview, which you can listen to above or download on the podcasts page, Nickle says that people lie to themselves everyday to get through life. But if you step back and think about it, the truth can be terrible.
And what attracts Nickle to the theme of the Soviets and the Cold War era? Partly, he says, nostalgia. It was a time when two great powers were playing a chess game with the world.
The book opens up an interesting debate on control and self-deception.
Nickle has also found a clever way to let the plot unfold, keeping you questioning exactly what is going on for almost the entire book.
Every few pages, the plot flips back and forth in time and between characters. It leaves you trying to make sense of it all, just as the characters are trying to make sense of their own lives.
A plot so dissected is not easy to get right, but Nickle juggles it incredibly well. And it's just the right kind of style for this book.
A warning, though, to the part-time readers out there: Rasputin's Bastards requires your attention. It’s not a book that you can pick up every couple of weeks when you find an hour to read. Do that and you’ll be easily lost. Luckily, there are several long weekends ahead for some pleasure reading!
Here's the book trailer:
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