Author and zombie specialist Max Brooks redefined the living dead with his novel World War Z, a truly international tale of humanity rising up to fight back against billions of undead. The book, as well as his previous Zombie Survival Guide, were such well-crafted works of realism and intrigue that they earned Brooks entry into intelligence circles.
Now, 14 years after his tale of the zombie wars, Brooks is set to take on another legendary monster in his new novel Devolution. The subject this time? Bigfoot.
In an interview with Io9 , Brooks talked about his interest in the creature:
Bigfoot has been there since I was, oh god, maybe six years old? I just turned 48, so I’m of that generation which had In Search of... and all those other faux-Bigfoot documentaries. When you’re a little kid, you do not know those are fake! I was always terrified that somehow Bigfoot was gonna come crashing through my window. I always wanted to tell a good Bigfoot story.
What sort of kicked me in the ass to sit down and write the original idea was a book I had read called The Beast in the Garden —it was the true story of Boulder, Colorado and mountain lions, and how they had sort of turned their semi-arid ecosystem into a lush garden. The garden brought the deer out of the Rockies, and the deer brought the mountain lions. People were excited: “Oh, honey, get the camera, there’s a mountain lion in the backyard!” Whereas the authorities were saying, “These are carnivores, these are predators. They have to be relocated!” People were all, “You’re overreacting, this is such a great chance to live in nature!”
And sure enough, the mountain lions lost their fear of humans, and they got bolder and bolder, and started going after little dogs and then bigger dogs, then they started chasing people, and eventually a young, fit, strong high school kid went for a run and never came back. They found him a few days later with his face chewed off and his organs eaten. Humanity had rediscovered its rightful place in the food chain—and I thought that, to me, is a great starting point for our Sasquatch. I don’t subscribe to the idea that Sasquatch is either a benevolent guardian of the wilderness or an evil monster; it’s just an animal. And I wanted to start with that: the premise of humans trying to live in harmony with nature and realizing too late that nature is not harmonious.
From the SyFy interview:
Can you explain a bit about the novel's themes: our fixation with modern technology and society's fragile relationship with nature?
One of the key themes in the book is our obsession, our fetishization with anthropomorphizing nature. The point of the book is that these are urban people in a rural setting trying to adapt nature to them, instead of the other way around. And there's no respect for nature and no understanding that when you live out in the wilderness, you're a guest in nature's house and you have to live by its rules. This urban notion of living in harmony with nature is bulls**t, because nature is not harmonious. That comes from having tamed the wilderness.
Another inspiration for the book was Timothy Treadwell, The Grizzly Man . The idea that this ex-junkie from Venice Beach, who had never been anywhere near bears, suddenly got on a plane and flew to Alaska every summer, broke the law, and lived in the nature preserve with the bears, and took it upon himself to be their savior. Without trying to understand anything about them. He'd give them names like Mr. Chocolate and hang out with them and there was absolutely no respect. The arrogance, the hubris, the belief that "I am the master of all I survey." Whether he knew that or not is clear. And... he got eaten by a bear. That is the urban response to nature, that it's a garden. But it's not a garden, it has its own rules. So that's a really important theme.