Charles Tan interviews Nadia Bulkin

Nadia Bulkin is the Shirley Jackson Awards nominated author of “Absolute Zero.”

In “Absolute Zero”, what made you include the Stag-Man?

The entire story came together as a result of my taking a trip through western Nebraska, and I think deer have an interesting place in the social eco-system out there – they’re wild animals, and they’re beautiful, but they’re mostly seen as giant pests who can mess up your car and cost you lots of money in repairs if you hit (and kill) one in the dark – so hunting is not just recreation, but obligation and social duty.  Our standard relationship with animals and nature is one I’ve never been able to wrap my head around.

What’s the appeal of the short story format for you?

I feel like it’s conducive to experimentation.  My favorite short stories are like punches to the gut that you don’t see coming, and when you look around trying to figure out what just happened, you still can’t piece it together.  They’re perfect for horror.

What is it about horror and its elements that makes you include them in your fiction?

That’s the million dollar question, right?  Right now my answer is that I really like the hidden/revealed dynamic in horror – that so much of it involves the ugly parts of ourselves and our world that we almost kill ourselves trying to conceal, or control.  Given the amount of desperation and hatred that goes into this concealment effort, no wonder that stuff comes back to us in such terrifying form.  In that sense “horror” really squares with how I see society in general, so it feels very honest to write horror.

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