Swedish Zombie: What was it that made you start writing about the apocalypse and zombies? What were your first influences?
Eric Shapiro: The terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, propelled me into an apocalyptic mindset. I think we all felt vulnerable after that. My first apocalyptic novella, "It's Only Temporary," (which is in my collection "Stories for the End of the World") came from thinking about what was really important in life, and what one should do with only a little time left. Reading Matheson's "I Am Legend" and Palahniuk's "Fight Club" (which is emotionally if not literally apocalyptic) influenced me artistically.
Swedish Zombie: How do you look upon the zombies? What do they mean to you? Are they metaphors, or simply cool monsters?
Eric Shapiro: I always see monsters as metaphors for some part of human nature. In the case of zombies, they represent dehumanization. They're just collections of base instincts; I think we enjoy them for the same reason we enjoy bathroom humor: They poke at our fascination with our own bodies and how strange they are.
Swedish Zombie: Zombie enthusiasts are often conservative. How much do you think that one should experiment with the concept?
Eric Shapiro: They should experiment to the extreme. The genre offers fertile ground to do so. It's so popular that even if you swing really wide and do something really different, you'll still have an audience, even if it's not the mainstream enthusiasts.
Swedish Zombie: It is often hard to pick favorites, perhaps it is simply foolish to try. But are there two or three books in modern zombie fiction that you think has meant something extra for the genre?
Eric Shapiro: Permuted Press taps the vibe really well. It delivers highly entertaining, propulsive, action-packed takes on the genre. John Skipp delivered a high amount of variety and depth with "Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead," which my story "Call Me Doctor" is in.
Swedish Zombie: How do you consider the genre's future? Zombies seem to be viable. Can this peek last and if so what is then required by the authors?
Eric Shapiro: It's strange, because we're not seeing a peak. It seems like the future is stable. Just when the phenomenon seems to be waning, a "Walking Dead" will come along and shoot it full of electricity. "28 Days Later" was eight years ago, already, but they're still creeping along; it's in their nature.
Swedish Zombie: A good book is always right. Some writers want to renew, others strive to convey an already well-known story with his oh hers unique twist. How do you look upon your own writings?
Eric Shapiro: For worse or for better, I usually end up putting out a weird take on things. It's not intentional. With "It's Only Temporary," I was trying to lean more into my populist side, but most of the reviews still said it was strange and out there. So based on what other people say, I guess my writings are strange, even though they're normal to me (laughs).
Swedish Zombie: Through the ages, writers and directors stuck to various explanations for the end of the world: infections from space, environmental degradation, military experiments, terrorism etc. Which scenario behind the zombie apocalypse do you think is most interesting / believable at the moment?
Eric Shapiro: I don't think any of the above could actually cause zombies to exist (laughs), though environmental degradation strikes me as the most interesting and believable, on account of the fact that it's happening. Climate change is in our faces. The environment is all screwed up, and in a few decades, this could put a serious dent in the human race.
Swedish Zombie: What will you write in the future? What stories remain in you, do you think? Is there anything in particular you feel like writing?
Eric Shapiro: In a perfect world, I'd be running a TV show that's the contemporary equivalent of "The Twilight Zone." I constantly have new crazy stories bubbling up in my head, so that would probably be the best way to catch as many of them as possible. In real life, till that dream comes true, I have a new novel about a suicide cult coming from Ravenous Shadows at the end of 2011. It's called "The Devoted," and shows the cult in its last day on Earth. Not a real apocalypse, but for the cult, it's the end of the world.
Eric Shapiro has written both novels and short stories in various subgenres. He is represented in John Skipp's zombie bible Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead and Permuted Press has published his short story collection Stories for the End ofthe World. Eric Shapiro is a writer with an extraordinary imagination and a must read!
Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om Författare, intervju, Eric Shapiro, Stories for the End of the World, Permuted Press, apokalyps, zombier, Swedish Zombie