The late Michael Hemmingson was an overarching inspiration for Domo ArigaDIE!!! Without spending those hours upon precious hours reading (and hunting down) his fiction, to time spent listening to his radio show (The Art of Dreaming), I don’t think ArigaDIE!!! would be the same book.
Two points of obvious Hemmingson-inspired areas would be the idea of “clones” and the idea of “Super Soldiers.” These are two areas of study that Hemmingson frequented and I would like to honor his imagination and thank him for helping fuel my imagination in a productive way. He made me a better writer. I remember beginning ArigaDIE!!! wanting to incorporate those elements into the story, but not knowing how. Luckily, as is the case when the muse strikes, they fell into place nicely within the narrative. When all else failed, I asked myself, “How would Hemmingson do it?” That seemed to be enough.
Also, I should note that my mind usually doesn’t move in science-fiction ways. I try to read widely and have spend considerable time with Barry Malzberg’s work, whose books I highly admire, but when I sit down to write, it usually happens that more pulpy/exploitation-minded themes come to the forefront. This is the first book (thanks to Hemmingson) that moves characters into outer space. It’s also the first book where I focused on ideas of military manipulation.
I think when I wrote ArigaDIE!!! I was looking to free myself from the past. I looked to Hemmingson as someone completely unafraid to write what he wanted to write, no matter the genre, no matter how explicit or controversial the details. I wanted this to be so in my own work.
Though Hemmingson has left us, his work lives on. I plan on revisiting his stories at least once a year for the rest of my life. I had several interactions with him and cherish his written responses. I hope that you may discover his work and if ArigaDIE!!! leads you down that path, then I’ll rest well, a happy man.