Zin E. Rocklyn’s stories are older than her years, much like the name she’s chosen to pen them under. Of Trinidadian descent and hailing from Jersey City, NJ, Zin is influenced by the everyday curiosities of the terrifying unknown and the fascinating weird. Her work is currently featured in the anthologies Forever Vacancy, Sycorax’s Daughters, and Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters II. Her non-fiction essay “My Genre Makes a Monster of Me”was published in Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 issue. Her personal website, terizin.com, is currently under construction, so stay tuned for all of her weirdness in HTML form. In the interim, you can follow her on Twitter @intelligentwat.
1) what is horror?
damn good question, lol. the definition has shifted for me over the years. it used to be a distraction, a way to wrap my head around the shittiness of moving through the world with a Black and female body, especially one that didn’t fit the construct of conventional (read: eurocentric) standards.
now, i view horror as a reflection of our unknowns, of the anxiety that builds from not knowing. i tend to ask more questions in my fiction than answer them. i want to challenge what the status quo thinks of as horror, i want to expand their thought process beyond their own circles, their own history.
so to sum it up, horror is a way to pick at fears, injustices, strange coincidences without completely giving up on humanity. if that makes sense, lol.
2) why horror?
it was easiest, to be honest.
as a kid, all the narratives taught to us about Black people and by Black people were about painful struggles, situations that wasn’t entirely familiar with, being first generation American and understanding race in a different light. even the old dead white guys we were taught about annoyed me, disinterested me.
my parents, especially my Dad, repetitiously (much to their annoyance, i’m sure) taught me Trinidadian folklore and the thrill of learning about these beasts and spirits was addicting. it was a way for me to escape the reality of being the speck of pepper in a sea of salt, of the abuse and trauma i went through in my formative years. reading it was frustrating because of the mental gymnastics i had to perform to include Black women that weren’t Mammies or magical negresses, so writing was my next option. i was able to control the narrative, i became the victor, the one who was loved by the other monsters rejected by society.
3) where do you see horror going?
i see it falling apart before coming back together.
the paperback bust of the 90s allowed a waiting period to recharge the genre, giving more opportunities to (white or white-aligning) women. with white men growing more and more nervous that their repetitive stories aren’t enough anymore, we’re bound to see some unhealthy pushback.
but once those growing pains are over, horror will have its time. with books like LaValle’s The Changeling and movies like Peele’s Get Out (cannot wait for Us), we’re seeing a wave of more nuanced horror, horror that reflects a section of society leeched for pop culture and discarded in regards to humanity.
we, the monsters, are rising.