The Transmitter: David Leo Rice Answers the Questions That Matter

The Coil
The Coil
Nov 28, 2017 · 3 min read

Author David Leo Rice talks art-horror, giant squids, the blurred line between fantasy and reality, and arm-wrestling with Hemingway.

DAVID LEO RICE is a writer and animator from Northampton, Massachusetts, currently living in New York City. His first novel, , is available from Alternating Current Press, and his stories have appeared in , , , , , , , , and elsewhere. He has a B.A. in Esoteric Studies from Harvard University and can be found at and at @raviddice on Twitter.

David Leo Rice: A mixture of surreal horror, dark comedy, and warped spiritual inquiry.

Maybe something like ‘art-horror’?

A general sense, as a child, that I wanted to feel like my thoughts had tangible substance and weren’t just simmering uselessly in my head.

Whisk(e)y: Any smoky / peaty Scotch.

Wild animal: The giant squid.

Waffle topping: I’m a New Englander, so I’m obligated to say fresh maple syrup.

Poem: A bit clichéd, but it’s hard to beat Yeats’ “The Second Coming” for both brevity and impact. I love Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” as well, but they’re harder to hold in mind.

Scientist or inventor: Kurt Gödel, who’s more of a mathematician but an extremely interesting one, nonetheless.

Broadway musical: Never seen one.

Badass getaway vehicle: I don’t know much about boats, but I’d like to make a water exit if necessary.

Movie to watch alone:

Quote: “Fear is fear of yourself” — my childhood friend, Jeff, slightly mangling (and, to my mind, improving) FDR’s famous, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” line.

Murakami, Kafka, Marquez, Faulkner, O’Connor, Lispector, Bernhard, Beckett, Bashevis Singer, DeLillo, Pynchon, Evenson, Easton Ellis, Houellebecq, Barker, Burroughs, Kelly Link, and, first among equals, Bruno Schulz.

What I love most are books that blur the line between reality and fantasy, and between waking and dreaming, so that the story seems to occur in between, or somehow in both states at once.

I seem to have lost my emotional sense of history as I’ve gotten older — as a kid, if you said ‘Ancient Egypt’ or ‘Feudal Japan’ or ‘Colonial Mexico,’ I could immediately picture it with what felt like extreme accuracy (even if this accuracy was imagined). Now the distant past feels somewhat deadened, but I’d still love to’ve seen the Chicago World’s Fair.

Not exactly underrepresented, but nothing’s scarier than climate change except climate change denial.

Mind control.

A mind-melded sidekick.

Tom Waits, Nick Drake.

Take tea with: Alan Moore.

Arm wrestle: Hemingway (for the thrill of losing).

Ice skate with: I can’t ice skate.

Drink under the table: Cormac McCarthy.

Get a blurb from: Bolaño.

Beat in a duel of wits: Pinter.

Have on your side in the apocalypse: Le Guin.

Write your next book for you: Kōbō Abe.

Tell you it’s all going to be okay: Thomas Ligotti.

The Freedom App (which blocks the Internet)

The Mediterranean terrace where the director in Fellini’s fails to write his next script.

Make an epic, unmarketable indie film in the vein of

The Coil

Literature to change your lightbulb.

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