"Bigfoot is a childhood fear, far preceding zombies," says Brooks. "Zombies came in my early adolescence, but Bigfoot was there from my early childhood. I was utterly terrified that there might be these creatures lurking in our wilderness. And I did not know what the wilderness really meant. I grew up in a house with plate glass windows surrounded by trees — so as far as I knew, he was right outside!"
In Devolution, the residents of a remote and tiny Washington town called Greenlop are menaced by creatures following the eruption of Mount Rainier.
"As with all my books, for every hour I spent writing, I must have spent maybe between 10 and a hundred hours researching," says Brooks. "I mean, I researched everything. I researched how Mount Rainier would really erupt. I researched how those houses — these smart eco-homes — would actually work with a friend of mine who worked for Microsoft. I made those weapons, by hand, just to see if they were possible, with the materials the character have. I went to the Pacific Northwest to the space where I put Greenloop to see if my characters could walk out on their own. And, just FYI, they couldn’t. That is some brutal lethal terrain out there. As far as the Bigfoot creatures themselves, I've always studied the lore but I really tried to research genuine primate biology and behavior. I tried to go the factual route. If there was a giant species of ape living in North America, how would they live? I went the path of facts and science."
So, does Brooks believe that Bigfoot actually exists?
"I’ll believe it when I see it," says the writer. "I’m open to it. There’s no reason why a Bigfoot creature could not exist. But I will believe that when somebody shows me a carcass or a bone or DNA evidence time-stamped to yesterday."
Or when he comes down the path and tries to tear your head off.
"Yes, yes," says Brooks. "If I’m hiking in the Pacific Northwest and I see one? Then I’ll believe it."
The audiobook version of Devolution is narrated by Judy Greer, Jeff Daniels, Nathan Fillion, and Brooks, among others. Brooks recorded some of his portions of the audiobook following the outbreak of the pandemic, which explains the rather interesting author's photograph you can see below.
Exclusively listen to an excerpt from the Devolution audiobook, above.