Chris Bachelder, "The Princess Doctrine"

It's December 2. Please enjoy this freewheeling spindle-based satire from Chris Bachelder, author of U.S.! and Abbott Awaits, responsibly. 

How would you describe your story?

CHRIS BACHELDER: I suppose it's a bit like a Monty Python version of "Sleeping Beauty." I wanted to elaborate and complicate and celebrate the insane logic and flat psychological portrait of the fairy tale.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?

CB: I wrote it about three years ago. The process was pretty familiar—the comic elaboration of an absurd central premise. 

What, for you, are the essential elements of a good short story? 

CB: As a reader, I'm attracted to wit and elegance of both syntax and form. I'm a fan of precision and control. I like to be surprised. I like to be moved. I like genuine oddness, not mere zaniness. I like a story that moves toward wonder and bewilderment.    

Did this story require any research?

CB: The story grew out of my reading to my young daughters. It's a wonderfully lunatic moment when the king just banishes spindles and spinning wheels from the kingdom. There's no discussion or consideration. It's just a decree. No more spindles! For research, I read all of the different versions of "Sleeping Beauty," just so I knew all of the variables and variations.  

Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?

CB: I don't really have a platform or a social media presence. My novels are all available online, and I have a new one forthcoming in March.  

What's on your Christmas list this year?

CB: I'm a simple man and not generally acquisitive. What I want this year is what I always want, which is nice time with my family and a fortnight of egg nog.

Michael Hingston