Wednesday 11 January 2023

A Post-Apocalyptic Interview with Michael Picco

Our next anthology, Tales from the Ruins, is going to be a cataclysmic one! It will be released on the 25th of February but the Kindle version is available for pre-order today at just 99c instead of $3.99. To celebrate the imminent publication of the first Black Beacon Books anthology exclusively dedicated to post-apocalyptic fiction, we’re interviewing the contributing authors. Behold the maniacal workings of their troubled minds!

Hi Michael,

Let’s make the first question a lighthearted one...hmm...okay, got it! Is your story simply an entertaining piece of fiction or are you giving us a peek at the terrifying fate tomorrow will unleash upon us? 

The idea of writing about a pandemic occurred to me before the emergence of COVID-19, but I believe that a super infection could happen in the next one hundred years. I chose a hemorrhagic fever simply because of the gruesome symptoms associated with that variety of virus, but there are plenty of bugs out there.

What is it that makes post-apocalyptic fiction so appealing? Would the world be better off if more people read this genre? 

I think post-apocalyptic fiction, like most of horror, gives voice to our darkest thoughts and musings. There is a visceral and hard-boiled quality to most apocalyptic narratives. I think all of us believe that we could survive in that kind of world, but I suspect that the majority of us would quickly succumb to any number of deprivations : hunger, disease, cold, heat, thirst, injury (or fall prey to whatever else roams the post apocalyptic landscapes). We are very insulated in our modern living, and quite over-confident in our ability to survive in any number of adversity. There is a cockiness to our thinking that I believe will lead to our undoing.

Do you have a favourite post-apocalyptic author? 

I enjoyed Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. I also found World War Z (Max Brooks) particularly entertaining. I enjoyed A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. even if I found it to be a little long-winded.

Some people like to listen to music while reading. Which song can you imagine providing the soundtrack to your story? 

Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. ;-)

If you woke up in your story tomorrow, what would you do? 

Probably suffer the same fate as my protagonist. I’d survive the apocalypse only to be killed by something dumb and mundane.

There are no firearms or ammunition. You have to choose an everyday object from the home or garden as your weapon of choice — what’s in your hands?

Great question! Again, like my protagonist, I have a really large crowbar that could probably crush the skull of a grizzly bear (if I managed to get close enough to one without getting mauled in the process). The one I describe in my story is exactly like the one I have: it’s ugly and covered in scratches. The paint is missing off of most of it; it’s speckled with rust; and the pry bar at the end is dented and notched. It’s at least fifty years old and has seen a lot of use. I would imagine that it would be quite handy when fighting off mutants or zombies.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself. 

I love to paint and draw. I find that both inform my writing but, I am constantly torn between my two muses.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

I try to give my readers something that they aren’t expecting or haven’t seen before. Horror readers (like myself) tend to be very jaded and easily bored. When I am writing, I try to keep the reader guessing.

What are you working on now? 

I am steadily putting together my third collection of short stories, titled These Wretched Bones. This collection will feature some extended versions of previously published work as well as some new material. I hope to have this collection released by 2024.

Where can we find you online?

Thanks for playing along. Good luck in the wastelands!


  1. Are your short story collections post-apolcalyptic horror, or a different genre?

    1. Michael generally writes gruesome horror. His collection is Corpse Honey.

    2. Probably not the right fiction fodder for me, then. I prefer subtle feasts of horror rather than gruesome fare. :-)