Barry Hale is a writer, arts producer and filmmaker. His past work includes music promos and moving image art, exhibiting extensively across Europe. For twenty years he was Co-Director of Threshold Studios, dedicated to assisting artists and filmmakers from under-represented backgrounds to access opportunities in the arts and media industries. From 2011-21 he was Co-Director of Frequency Festival of Digital Culture in Lincoln. As a writer he navigates the dream-states, drawing on the dream journals he has kept for the past 40 years. He is currently writing a novel of contemporary magick based on genuine visionary experience.
What inspired you to write ‘Countdown to Eternity’ (Issue 3)?
Ballard was always one of my favourite authors. I had the pleasure of corresponding with him about his work for a short period and he was kind enough to critique my own work, which I submitted to Ambit in ’82, ‘83. I’ve collected Ballard first editions most of my adult life, but when he died, I lost all enthusiasm for it. More recently I’ve started collecting his work again. A few years ago, I was privileged enough to spend a month working in Venezuela, at a university there. It struck me how Ballardian the landscape was, and the social collapse of the surrounding city resonated with his writings. I wrote this as a memorial, a little personal goodbye.
Could you give us an insight into your writing process?
I’ve always struggled with writing part-time, I just don’t get the depth of focus necessary to write anything of length. Covid lockdown offered me the opportunity to give up work and go back to writing full-time. I’m now half way through a third draft of a novel I’ve been trying to write for ten years or more. I like to ritualise my day to get work done. I get up each morning and sit with a cuppa tea, listening to music and running the thing I’m working on through my mind. Come noon I start writing and write through ‘til five or six. Then I try to put the thing to one side, but if I suddenly get an idea or a better tweak of a particular scene or sentence, then I go back to it and write it in. Even if I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to do it.
What do you consider to be the most enjoyable or important aspect of science fiction or fantasy, and why?
They are the modern equivalent of myths and legends, they provide a metaphoric landscape that enable us to explore philosophical ideas, political ideologies, the ethics of technological development and consider society from a perspective that can look in on our day to day living and see exactly what it is, this Consensus Trance we’ve hypnotised ourselves into.