In Zero K Don DeLillo has found the perfect physical repository for his oracular visions, his end-time reveries, his balladry of dread. The place is called the Convergence. It is a sealed, self-sufficient, subterranean cryogenic facility, funded by wealthy patrons and secret government agencies. Within are chambers in which the bodies of hundreds of wealthy patrons are frozen in gleaming pods. The essential organs are stored within smaller pods. The bodies and organs are to rest in a state of suspended animation until our inevitable, impending apocalypse has run its course. One character calls this “faith-based technology.” It requires several forms of faith: that the pods will remain frozen indefinitely; that future civilizations will be able to reanimate the bodies and grant them immortality; that life in the distant future will be preferable to death. (more…)
I’m wondering about the process of writing “Zero K.” Because, unlike some of your novels, it doesn’t revolve around specific historical events—in fact, if anything, it’s futuristic—it didn’t require a lot of archival research. Did that make the writing easier, or more challenging? How long have you been working on the book?
There was a certain amount of scientific material that I had to look into, but I made it a point to keep this aspect of the work within strict limits. The rest was pure imagination—the characters, of course, but also the setting of much of the novel. And, along with the perennial challenge of new work, there was an element of pleasure (this may be too bubbly a word) in exploring fresh territories.
Counting some unavoidable interruptions, I worked on the book for nearly four years. I have trouble accepting this number, particularly since this is a novel of average length. Why so prolonged an effort? My only response is that this is what the novel wanted and needed. [Read the Full Interview]
New short story, an extract from DeLillo’s new novel Zero K., published this month in The New Yorker.