Rumpus: “Cozy Apocalypse” from Beta Testing engages with masculinity, and “masculinity in crisis,” more overtly than your other works, and I was wondering if masculinity was the starting point of that story—something you knew you wanted to tackle—or if it was something you found yourself tackling as you went.
Kaczynski: It was not the starting point, but it kind of became [the focal point]. Like, I didn’t really realize what I was writing until I was deeply into it. The story’s about a pending apocalypse, but there’s also these weird marital things going on. And I find that those two things can be intertwined: the twilight of masculinity and this apocalyptic imagining of our world falling apart. I think those thing must be unconsciously connected in the story. Now that you mention it, I’m like, “Oh yeah, duh,” but that wasn’t my primary exploration.
Rumpus: And I’m sure there are things at, as a reader, I look for and project.
Kaczynski: No, it’s good. Because most people, when they talk about that story, they talk about the apocalypse part of it. You’ve pulled out something else…which seems obvious in retrospect.