THE END IS NOW Author Interview: Scott Sigler

“The Sixth Day of Deer Camp” takes place in Northern Michigan in the winter. I started feeling cold just reading the descriptions of the bitter cold and the layers and layers of clothing the characters must wear to stay alive. What experiences have you had that helped you get that feeling of dangerously cold weather just right?

I grew up in Northern Michigan so I know the cold well. I also took a snowmobile trip to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula — the upper tip of the UP — to research my novel ANCESTOR. Deep in the woods in the dead of winter with a broken-down snowmobile and several feet of snow around you is a different kind of cold.

George and his friends get to see up close and personal the aliens who are hell bent on destroying humanity (or so they believe). I couldn’t help but see parallels to how modern day soldiers, governments, and even regular citizens are encouraged to systematically dehumanize those they feel threatened by. Was any of that on your mind while you were writing this story, or was it inspired by something completely different?

Dehumanization is a recurring theme in my work, as is the concept that no one wakes up and thinks “I’m going to be evil today.” Every person justifies his or her actions, actions that could be construed as evil by those who are impacted by those actions. For “The Sixth Day of Deer Camp,” the shoe could easily be on the other foot, and then one would have to wonder who the bad guy of the story really is.

The scene where George says “But not these ones” absolutely crushed me. George is about to learn the cost of our victory. If his story were to continue, how do you think that revelation might affect him in the long run?

I hope to finish off the story in “The Seventh Day of Deer Camp” in the final book of The Apocalypse Triptych. George has made a choice and choices have consequences.

If you found a crashed alien ship and the door was open, would you go inside?

That depends on who — or what — is waiting at the door.

What’s your favorite thing about writing apocalyptic fiction?

When you’er writing apocalyptic fiction, you can dispense with many of society’s rules. If you write mostly in modern-day settings, you have to work within the confines of existing laws, governments, science, physics, et cetera. When you go that extra mile into the realm where civilization collapses, you can toss out most of these rules and really focus on character and situation. As in, when the shit really hits the fan, what kind of people are we? If we’re freed from the constraints of the law, the threat of jail, and every choice could mean life and death for us and our loved ones, what are we capable of doing? And going back to your second question, what kind of actions could we justify in the name of survival? Apocalyptic fiction is a kind of fast lane to writing about base human nature and how we react when all concept of “help” is stripped away.