Nate Slade writes straight horror, some combination of the thriller, crime, and suspense genres. But he occasionally dabbles in dark fantasy.
There is little appeal to the supernatural in his work, and, where it appears to arise, it is likely to be a psychological appearance only. When our world does go wonky, such bizarrerie will be present to, and more deeply rooted in, the warp and wend of a fractionating intellect. (Of course, Slade and his readers might get vicariously trapped in a temporarily stable mind before or after its temporal reality explodes. Finding out which disorder is part of the fun!) Nate’s monsters, then, are mostly human monsters, and their problems are mostly human problems.
Slade’s favorite human monsters, i.e. authors of the genre (and most probable stylistic influences), include Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, and Steve King. (Honorable mentions: Brian Keene, Dean Koontz, Dick Laymon.) Apart from its unique prose, Sladean horror is distinguished by vital elements of science fiction, including theories from scientific psychology and academic philosophy.
Nate Slade has a professional understanding of theories stemming from the latter disciplines. He gained that understanding at the University of British Columbia, where he earned a graduate degree and taught undergraduates. He specialized in philosophy of psychology. Before that, he lived on the East Side of St. Paul (STP) and worked at being a musician. He has, of course, been telling stories his life long, and here is a little story about him and the art of writing about it:
While growing up Nate bore witness to a number of wonderfully chilling things that a bad neighborhood may offer up to those with the right sort of luck. Here are a few examples.
He was at the park across from his block when he saw one gang member do another a “favor” by pressing the muzzle of his handgun into the other’s skull/forehead. (Whatever happened to that guy? Some would like to know.)
In the fourth grade, his neighbor’s kid offered him a line of coke. He couldn’t go home right away because he might’ve been acting strange. The guy and his neo-Nazi friend accompanied him on a walk to cool off, anyway, and the neo-Nazi was surprised that Nate glared at him, ready to fight, getting further heated. Nate remembers, with an ironic grin, that the pseudo-Nazi conceded it was stupid to support something Nate’s grandfather got shot at and shot down to stop. Perhaps, the fellow got a kick out of Nate’s fearless vehemence and just pretended at wilting before it. Either way, Nazis probably aren’t as free with cocaine these days. That’s the real lesson here, though it wasn’t well illustrated.
(Well, maybe it’s not.)
A few years later he saw this neighbor’s wife and daughter stabbed through his bedroom window. They were standing curb side. Some young black fellows where gesticulating and yelling about territory. Their bevy of hussies howled from the backseat of a well maintained 70’s or 80’s Pontiac . Nate still remembers how loudly the gang members slammed its heavy metal doors. Their cracks sounded like gunshots.
(Just kidding. Nate doesn’t believe in karma.)
Adulthood capped off these sorts of happenstances rather nicely. Slade would get phone calls in Vancouver about how well-armed cops where staked out in his backyard on a manhunt, or how, even though his boyhood friend got beat to death by gang members, no charges would ensue, and the death would not be ruled a homicide by the St. Paul police coroner, because the gang leader was on the STP police force.
Nate’s life, as most people’s lives, has been filled with events that have a sort of narrative quality about them. He’d like to get at the truths lurking behind, or underneath, his own personal story; he finds himself in a very strange world, and he’d like you to take a walk with him: just like his death rap and extreme metal friends might have done on their way to the cemetery for sleepovers; look at what he can dig up, the grave robber, or scribble on the cerements of an undead, twisted world.