Conversation with Inna Effress on her Nightscript 3 story “Liquid Air”

Nightscript 3 contributor and Los Angeles based author Inna Effress was one of my guests this past Monday November 27, 2017 at the Night Time Logic reading series at Lovecraft Bar NYC.

Before the event Inna and I had the chance to exchange questions about our stories Liquid Air and Palankar. Here is the part of the conversation about “Liquid Air” which Inna read and we discussed at the event.


DANIEL: Nightscript is an anthology series of “quiet horror” in the tradition of the strange tales of Robert Aickman. This kind of work is sometimes referred to as literary horror. How do you feel your story “Liquid Air” fits in, (if at all) on the genre / literary continuum? And did any of these considerations come into play when you were writing the story?

INNA: When I first tried writing fiction, it had been many years since I’d even read a novel. The first books I picked up were pure literary fiction. More than anything, I wanted to create a complete realism in my writing with relatable characters and situations. It seemed that no matter what I did, though, my fiction always took a strange turn. At first, I resisted. I remember panicking a little. “Liquid Air” is the first story I wrote giving myself permission to delve into my subconscious and examine some of the darkest images living there, the ones which trouble me most. I think no matter what the genre, good writing should stir up some discomfort in its author and the reader, in one way or another. Now, it pleases me to think that the worlds I create can belong to more than one realm – or none at all.

DANIEL: Do your experiences coming to America from the Ukraine inform and or manifest in your fiction? Do lines such as “like an immigrant imprisoned in his crumbling memory— his mind’s snapshots of a dacha paneled with driftwood along the Volga River” come from specific times and places?

INNA: I’m pretty sure that my most terrific nightmares originate (directly or indirectly) from my experiences as an immigrant. Even though I was fairly young and determined to read and write English, I always felt like an outsider. In some ways I perceived myself – and as an extension, my family – as a monstrosity. I think when people have to leave behind their entire lives and start over with nothing to their names, their stories lost, a large space in their minds clings to those past lives. It becomes a constant drive to rebuild the architecture of their mind’s eye, even while it crumbles around them.

DANIEL: One of your characters is involved in the “dying art” of neon glass making. In addition to other “fusions” and acts of creation that involve fusion neon is made with the fusion of chemical gases. One character remarks at how Argon gas is always around us- undetectable unless under certain circumstances… what other “unseen forces” might be at play in Liquid Air and in all of our lives?

INNA: Neon attracted me because it reminded me of being stuck in another era, of reverting back to some specific place in time that straddled the new and the old. For me, there’s something kind of creepy about relics that won’t die and continue to loom over us, larger than life and taking on a life of their own. I like the idea of existing on the edge of anything: insanity, indecency, immorality, death. I wanted to explore all of these thoughts through something as intangible as gas.


Inna’s story was a stand out story in a book of outstanding stories. I look forward to reading what comes next from her.

Up next soon is the second part of our conversation.



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