My third blog posting for Amazing Stories magazine is on the subject of monsters. I reflect on their nature, how they are represented in books and films and I argue that there is a dearth of truly original creatures. I hope you’ll add your thoughts to the discussion – and, even better, beg to differ….I’d be delighted to be proven wrong and would love a flood of monsters I’ve never seen before.
Again, hope you will consider adding your thoughts to the discussion on the Amazing Stories page. Go on, prove me wrong!
4 thoughts on “The Monster Mash”
Yup, they’re described. Globes of energy, and invisible to the majority of humans unless the receptivity of the retina is chemically altered. They apparently feed off the increased electrical activity of the brain induced by strong emotions.
I think it was EFR’s first novel and by the writing style was obviously aimed at the American pulp market. It’s also strongly influenced by his Fortean leanings.
Interestingly, he came up with another very different energy being in his short story ‘Hobbyist’, though this one is a Creator alternative. Neat story.
I think I prefer his shorts to his novels.
Hm. It’s strongly implied that the gelatinous junk filled artefacts are not the actual aliens but their constructs/organic tools. What is known about the aliens is that they prefer a high pressure environment (in the 2 – 5 tons/sq.in range) and the only suitable places on earth are the oceanic deeps. It is postulated that they originated on Jupiter. It’s a pretty good read IMO, though I do get a bit irritated with the excess of endearments between the two lead characters (husband and wife), but I suppose that’s a reflection of the social mores of its time.
Wyndham isn’t read so much these days, which is a pity, he wrote some decent stuff – Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, Midwich Cuckoos, Kraken Wakes, etc. He was also what one might call a ‘literary’ writer, not like EFR at all.
Well, you clearly know your stuff, Barry. You’ve presented me with some really original monsters. I also like your attention to scientific detail — that kind of stuff makes me zone out when I’m reading scifi (I mean if it’s too heavy on the science), but your short summary of the pressure environment was crystal clear. I like Wyndham, too, and yes, he’s seen as a literary writer – even to the point of being approved in my English class in my Scottish secondary school.
Well, I registered at Amazing Stories and now I’m told that comments won’t be accepted unless cookies are enabled.
Sorry, that’s not going to happen.
However, I’ll make my comment anyway.
Re: Krakens and Spiders and Zombies, Oh My!
Not easy to come up with a life-form that is not obviously derived from a known beastie, though Eric Frank Russell managed it with the Vitons in ‘Sinister Barrier’.
Alternately, an inventive author can cobble together enough diverse properties from unrelated species and a very acceptable monster may emerge: a triffid, for example.
Finally, invent an alien that is never described, John Wyndham again in ‘The Kraken Wakes’. Sure the ‘sea-tanks’ were full of jelly-fish like gelatinous junk, but it’s probable that these were merely constructs. The invading Bathys were always off-stage.
Thanks, Barry, I appreciate your comment. I’ve let Amazing Stories know about your issue, too. Triffids…hmmm, yes, you may be right there. I’ve read Erik Frank Russell, though I am unaware of the Sinister Barrier and the Vitons. Interestingly, though, you say “jelly-fish like gelatinous junk” which, for me is still a connection to real world beasts. Tell me more about the Vitons…is there a description of them?