Plume de plusieurs romans fantastiques à succès, Alex Douglas signe ici des romans inspirés de ses recherches sur les mythologies anciennes.
Interview with Alex Douglas
Lilith mixes mythology and quantum mathematics: isn’t that a strange combination?
Yes and no. I think there is a tendency for ordinary people such as myself to imagine that physicists and mathematicians are by nature immune to belief in the supernatural. That is not true. A significant percentage of people in that community do believe in some kind of spiritual dimension to the universe.
But you mean they believe in God, not supernatural creatures?
How can you separate the two? If you allow the possibility of one, you are obliged to allow the possibility of the other. God is just a word we use to describe everything we cannot comprehend, isn’t it? Personally, I don’t like that word because I think it automatically encourages confrontation – people think it can only have one interpretation, one meaning, and that therefore if their concept of ‘God’ is right then all the others are wrong. That is obviously infantile, but we are all children in this aspect of our lives, aren’t we? A spiritual quest is precisely a search for a father figure! My own sentiment, and this is the basic message of Lilith, is that all forms of spiritual belief ultimately have equal validity – it does not matter what people believe, it only matters that people do believe. In some way, and this is how I interpret quantum mathematics, we create our reality by a collective act of belief.
So do you believe in mythological creatures such as the Succubus in the story?
Some people certainly do – in Britain over recent years there have been reports of every kind of supernatural creature you can think of: demons, ghosts, boggarts, banshees, hell-hounds and, yes, Succubi. These days, of course, UFOs are more fashionable, but Succubi are still present in some people’s imaginations!
You say ‘in their imaginations’ – so you mean they are not real?
I am not saying anything of the sort. Indeed, you’re not understanding the point that I try to make in Lilith. Personally, I dispute the division we make in society between what we define as ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’. I think that is a schizophrenic attitude – every we do, think or experience exerts a force upon us. How can you say that things such as thought, emotion and, by extension, imagination are in some way not real just because we cannot physically hold them in our hand? It makes no sense to me.
So what supernatural creatures do you personally believe in? Ghosts, for example?
From personal experience, I do believe in ghosts, yes. They are not something I particularly want to believe in, indeed I am a little embarrassed to admit that I do, but I have no choice in the matter! And I know plenty of very rational people who have encountered phantoms of different sorts. There is, I suspect, a certain element of individual propensity in terms of whether you sense these things. My family seem to be of the kind who do because we’ve all had supernatural experiences – usually of the terrifying sort! It goes back generations – as a child, my grandmother was used as a medium by a spiritual circle that included Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
So there’s always been a literary connection there as well?
I suppose it makes sense that writers and ghosts would go together, doesn’t it? Writers pass half their lives in the company of people who do not physically exist!