I’ll Take a Little Monster with my Magic Please.

With Halloween behind us, I’ve been thinking about the fascination we have with monsters. They attract us in all forms, from literature to movies to on-line gaming. I’m not a big fan of horror, but I love a little dark with my fantasy.

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My current WIP doesn’t have any traditional monsters (just some dragons allies) but there is an underlying dark energy in the novel that is not formed in the flesh. It’s the stuff of our nightmares and the driving force behind evil in my fantasy world. I don’t think it will actually appear in a body, unless you count the action of the people who are drawing upon it to make bad things happen. I think that qualifies as a “monster” in at least a small sense of the word.

The earliest monster themes go back to 18th century gothic literature. The first example being Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein set the bar very high for the intelligent, frightening and thought provoking use of monsters as a main plot theme. From there we launch forward to Robert Louis Stevenson (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl &Mr. Hyde) and Bram Stoker ‘s (Dracula). The mold had been set! One of the greatest things about being authors of fantasy/science fiction is we have permission to make up creatures from the darkest crevices of our mind.

The appearance of monsters (not necessarily in the traditional sense) in some of my most recent readings include; Dampir by Beth & J.C. Hendee, Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomes Farrell (@thegourmez), The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley (@kameronhurley) and Silver on the Road by Laure Anne Gilman (@LAGilman). These books are filled with strange, forbidding creatures & worlds that are both terrifying and fascinating. What are some of your favorites?

 

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